What's in my heart?

I found a blog not long ago that has quickly become a favorite: Blackbelt Oma. In graceful language, Oma writes about anything and everything, with a wry, but never cynical, sense of humor. I love her voice.

Oma writes a lot about her son, Boo. That nickname caught my eye because it’s one of many we’ve given to our son. For some strange reason, we’ve created nicknames for our kids in pairs: Boo and Moo; Bug and Duck; Angelface and Monkeyface; Goober and Goofus; Big Guy and Stinky. Some of these are horrible, I know, but there you go. To us, they're all terms of endearment, and so far the kids haven't protested.

Oma stopped by and left a comment on the post I wrote yesterday about a little tiff I had with The Boy on Sunday that got me thinking about how gratitude becomes so tangled up with adoption. Her question: I was wondering why you didn't tell him the truth of what was in your heart.

This morning I was reading a series of posts at Dawn’s – here and here - that you must read. They’re wonderful, for Dawn’s wisdom and for the discussion that followed them. But honestly, I struggled through the dialog and could think of nothing to add, save a lame remark intended primarily to acknowledge I’d been there and read. With every point and counterpoint, the only thing that kept going through my head was Tell the truth of what’s in your heart.

What’s in my heart at the moment is complex. There’s my belief that we – meaning first parents, adoptees and adoptive parents – can actually influence and change adoption for the better. From unbiased pregnancy counseling and support, to stopping unethical adoption agencies, opening adoption records, and improving attitudes toward adoption, I believe in my heart that we who live adoption can do it. Yes, I believe that with all my heart.

One comment in particular, written by a blogger I love, stopped me:

It is ironic that adoption makes more sense to me when it is done by people
just blindly grabbing at a baby, lost in fantasy, I mean obviously that will be
harmful for the child but smart people trying to do it “right” only brings into
sharp relief how truly bizarre/harmful the whole situation is.

I understand what Joy is saying, at least I think I do. When we adoptive parents step back from the joy we experience, and look at adoption objectively (at least as objectively as we can,) we have to say that it’s bizarre. It’s bizarre that we infertiles consider adoption as infertility treatment - and let me tell you, I truly believed the "win-win-win" of that for a long, long time. Or, how do we think we can eradicate our children’s pasts with new names, closed records and demands to be their one-and-only mothers and fathers? Sometimes I think the worst thing of all is the way we turn against the very children we’ve adopted with our “angry adoptee” comments in forums and such. Yes, when you step away and consider it objectively, adoption IS bizarre, no matter how hard we work to prove to the world that our families are as unremarkable as any others.

But what’s in my heart?

Well, this is a problem. Although my head believes every word in that paragraph above, my heart is telling me something different: I love my children beyond reason, and I love the family we've created together. I long desperately for them to know their mothers and fathers, and selfishly long to know them, too. I’m sad, incredibly sad, that the losses will be with them throughout their lives. I’m thankful that they’ve been able to work through the issues that adoption has presented them, to this point in their lives anyway. And I’m hopeful for their futures.

These emotions, even the sorrow, soothe, and make me want to run away from the adoption world, bury myself in my family, and protect them from the ugliness of adoption’s cold hard truths. My head and heart seem to have diverged, with each running along a separate track that leads to different, contradictory ends. Reconciling the two no longer seems possible.

But as I poise myself to run, my head reminds me that there’s work to do, and so I stay. I’ve come to realize that this impossible situation is at the root of my inability to say anything of value about adoption anymore. The hypocrisy of working for change and loving my children so much has become almost too painful to face. And so I read and think and feel, but the words stay barricaded in my head.


Juliette said…
Your words describe exactly what I feel: my heart and my head put me in constant malaise right now...I am struggling a lot.
I feel guilty at the time I write that because I know my pain is nothing compare to the one of my child's first Mom or the one my child will live with all her life.

This weekend again friends told me I should stop worrying, reading and searching and should just enjoy my daughter who is perfectly fine and just love her. I want to but I also feel I should do more for her because sadly I understand love is not enough in this case.

Thanks so much for sharing you thoughts and feelings. Even if I don't comment often I read you a lot and you don't know how much you help me, so thank you.
mama d said…
There must be something in the adoption bloggy waters, because I'm struggling with a post on this same subject. Perhaps folks who blog are simply more willing to publicly discuss the obvious ... or perhaps it's obvious that bloggers are willing to publicly discuss. Either way, I'm finding that my own barricades are crumbling quickly ... even in the most paradoxical of personal times.
Mei-Ling said…
I do not for one second doubt the joy I have brought into my mom's life.

I also do not doubt that for every time my mom and I have shared memories together, my other mother suffered from not being able to do those very same things.
Mei-Ling said…
The amount of discussion at Dawn's post has overwhelmed me.

I wrote a post based on it, now I'm currently trying to reassemble my brain. @_@
Margie said…
That discussion broke my brain, too, Mei-Ling. I'm anxious to read what you wrote.
Paragraphein said…
My brain is broken too. I'm done I think.

Some questions can't be answered. Not even sure they need to be. Do they? Guess it depends on each person....
Margie said…
I think you're right, Nic. But try as I may, my head keeps going to those questions, like your tongue goes to a bad tooth.

But it's easy for me to say. I'm on the GAIN side of adoption, there really is no loss in my experience, no matter how many APs try to say I've lost my fertility, or the experience of childbirth, or being my children's only parent. Those are all really unconnected to adoption.

No, I've gained, I have the kids, so it's easy for me to take a break. My heart simply goes out to you and all the mothers, fathers and adoptees who never get time off. That makes me incredibly sad.

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