No room left

I just went on a reading binge and finished, in quick succession, Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens by Debbie Riley and John Meeks; Somebody's Daughter by Marie Myung-Ok Lee; and A Euro-American on a Korean Tour at a Thai Restaurant in China by Chris Winston.

All good, for various reasons. Beneath the Mask offered useful insights into the issues adopted teens face, along with equally-useful suggestions that families can use to support one another through them. A Euro-American on a Korean Tour at a Thai Restaurant in China (Chris, that's a mouthful!!) shares a dedicated adoptive mom's experiences building ethnic connections to her children's community; every adoptive parent will take away an idea from Chris's book, and will benefit from her wisdom. Somebody's Daughter tells of one adopted person's search for family, side-by-side with the story of her mother. No spoilers here, though, you must read it yourself. Marie Lee isn't an adopted person herself, so it isn't a personal account. Her knowledge of Korea and the Korean American community, and her close relationship with Korean mothers gives her a unique perspective, though, that makes this book a wealth of information, as well as a moving story.

Three very different books, yet I took away the same message: The heart of the adoption experience is not about me.

There is a passage in Chris's book that zeros in on this. It describes the reunion of a Korean father with is child. Looking through the copious photo album documenting the life his child had lived with the adoptive family, the man commented that they had given his child everything; there was no room left for him anymore.

Food for very deep thought.


Mirjam said…
Wishlist on Amazon (SHIPPING COSTS!) exploding again... thanks...

mama d said…
Been thinking about this one for a while, thank you for posting.

In your summation, you mention that the Korean first father lamented that because his child's adoptive family had given them everything, there was no more room for the first father.

Well, duh. That's a (and here's where I get into sticky nomenclature land, so I'll just use the standard) family's job, to provide for their children. What was the adoptive family expected to do, not give the kid a bike in the hopes that the first family was going to come back in the picture and provide one?

If the first father is looking at a photo album for proof that there's room for him, he's looking in the wrong place. He needs to look into the heart of his child. If he looks there and still finds no room, then shame on the adoptive family.

Because, it's not about giving lots of tangible items to our children. Oh, if only that worked! It's about allowing them to hold space in their hearts (or souls or celestial beings) for people and love beyond the boundaries of the aforementioned nomenclature conundrum.

And that, believes mama d, is the greatest gift we can offer: A love so truly unconditional that it allows our children to keep their complete stories in their hearts.
Margie said…
What I took for the passage about the father wasn't so much that he felt there was no room left for him to provide for his child, but rather that their family was complete without him. It made me wonder, in all the letters and photos and albums we've sent to Korea, if our children's families would take away the same feeling.

I think they would, which of course has me thinking even more.
Cavatica said…
Hmmmm, thinking... trying to respond. I can imagine this father, feeling left out of the pictures, feeling he has no place. I believe his place is in his child's heart and in his heart. As APs we should teach them to love us and to love some more. Sadly, this is part of the adoption loss. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to say this.

Lately, I've been wondering a lot about my daughter's birth family. Who they are and why they let her go.

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