Woulda, shoulda, coulda

I anticipated that my post last week would generate a variety of comments, and was therefore not surprised when something along these lines appeared shortly after I published it:

You are saying to your children that you shouldn’t have adopted them.

The thoughts behind this comment are old friends. I wrote about this almost eleven years ago to the day in one of the first posts here, and had I not spent these last eleven years focusing on adoption’s challenges rather than its joys, I might have stopped my adoption journey right there. Let's face it: no adoptive parent wants to betray their children, and the suggestion that we have built our families on a rotten foundation inevitably leads to that conclusion.

Now that I have let Pandora out of the box, some may want me to denounce the adoptions of my children. After all, how can I be against intercountry adoption when it gave me my family? Well, the best I can say is that these two paradoxical truths are my reality, and I have decided to accept this rather than fight it. I can only speculate on what I would have, could have, or should have done all those years ago, had I known then what I know now. Pointless, apart from making the point.

I am an adoptive parent who is no longer defending intercountry adoption. I choose to promote and work toward outcomes for families and children that keep them together, and follow principles of subsidiarity. I want to do no harm and to fix the harm that’s already been done.

This should keep me plenty for the next ten years.

And to my kids, in case you read the last post and this one: We are family. No one and nothing can say otherwise except you.


Anonymous said…
Thanks once again for being straight up and honest.
Frank Ligtvoet said…
We, adoptive parents, all learned a lot over time. We all believed (and wanted to believe) initially in the do-gooder ideology of the adoption agencies, the churches, society in general. Then, those who were open to it, listened to adoptees and critics of adoption and started to see the horrors of international adoption inflicted on families in the sending countries, on adoptees. None of us is without guilt: we could have known better if we had really tried, if we had seen adoption in the context of social justice. In our desire to have kids we often hurt our own kids profoundly by denying or even erasing their identities. You made a tough choice and I am sure your kids will applaud you for that.

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