When a door closes

Last week was a rough one on my adoptionland. As I always do when this happens, I stepped back, circled the wagons and spent some time trying to re-center myself by focusing on my family. My kids live far away now, so I caught up with them by phone and text. I also checked their Facebook pages to see what fun they’ve been up to.

Neither are avid Facebookers, but both had a few new photos posted, some theirs and some posted by friends. I was struck, as I’ve been struck before, by the demographics of their friends, the majority of whom are non-adopted Asians of various ethnicities, people they have met at school and at work. They acknowledge that their cultural identity is at least in part white via their adoptive parents, but that hasn’t stopped them from claiming a place among their own.

In spite of how much time I’ve spent in the adoption community, helping my kids get to this place has been the real work of my life. I did the best I could.

Our family didn’t follow the traditional adoption agency “family” path; for a number of reasons we went it alone, so to speak. I learned that we really didn’t need an organization to make the kinds of connections our kids needed to develop strong Asian identities. We just needed to understand the importance of getting outside of our comfort zones to bring our kids to their community. I also learned the importance of living where our kids’ community lives, so their relationships with Asians could develop organically, around the things they love to do. Their country, culture and people became and are a central part of our daily interaction, through friendships, news, art, food and more.

When I look at the pictures my kids share of their day-to-day life, I believe I can say that our approach served them well. No adoptive parent can resolve their children’s losses, but we can do our best to give our kids the tools to resolve them as wish in adulthood. I’m actually very glad that my kids have chosen to live their lives without feeling the need to be immersed in the adoption community. They have friends who are adoptees made as kids and at KAAN Conferences. They understand the issues. They know their adoptee friends have their backs when they need their support and are there for their adoptee friends, too. They also know my husband and I are always there for them, and would go to any length to support them through whatever challenges adoption and life bring them.

In a way, a door closed for me last week. Reflecting on who my kids have become, I'm not really sure I want the proverbial window to open. It's better, I think, for me to follow their lead and just live.

Popular Posts