[personal profile] 7rin posting in [community profile] 7rin_on_adoption
Part One (All bolding their emphasis, not mine)

Published on April 23, 2012

This article is a re-print of Eileen Wacker’s original article from ONCEKids Publishing and her acclaimed Fujimini Adventure Book Series:

Our adoption process experience had many high and low moments, but yielded an amazing result- a blended family with two adopted and two biological children. Spending four years living and raising our young brood in Korea was challenging but loaded with great adventures. Now, living in Honolulu, with our children who are 13, 13, 9, and 8 year-olds, we continue to cope with the many challenges of raising good people. Our oldest two are adopted (one from China and one domestically adopted) and becoming teenagers. They want to start making more decisions about their life. They are beginning to ask questions about where they come from and issues of identity will set in…

Last February for her birthday celebration, our oldest daughter asked to bring 3 friends to the mall for shopping and a movie, followed by a sleepover. Her friends were dropped off while I was driving her sister to tennis. Her dad and brothers were home and muttered hello as the girls immediately proceeded into Olivia’s room and closed the door. When I came home, I knocked and peeked my head in to say hi and see if they were ready to go. I knew two girls, but the third, Zoe, was a new friend. She stared at me, open- mouthed as I introduced myself. Closing the door, I heard Zoe utter, “Are you the only Asian person living in this house?” Olivia laughed in response, saying, “of course I am; I’m adopted from China.” Zoe said something to the effect of “cool” and they went back to discussing whether lipgloss was really makeup. I was happy she is so comfortable in her skin. Adopted children, like all children, develop opinions about themselves, their environment, and feelings toward situations based on absorbing views of those around them.

Our adopted son approaches it differently. In the house, he asks occasional questions about being adopted and if I make a comment such as, “Steve Jobs was adopted”, he will respond, “oh, that’s good”. But outside the house, he doesn’t say much about being adopted. He is not upset about it; he just doesn’t talk openly outside the family. Recently, he asked about his birth mother and I told him she was beautiful with big blue eyes and blond hair. I told him we met her while she was pregnant with him and she was really nice, but just not ready to raise a child. I continued by saying she made a big sacrifice to do what she thought was right for him. Although I spoke calmly and sincerely, my heart was exploding in my chest. I really wanted to say the right thing about this very emotional topic. I want to be as open as possible and not give him any reason to think the topic scares me to death (which it does).

As parents, we die a thousand “small deaths” for our children as they grow up.
If they are left out of a birthday party, shunned by popular kids, cut from a sports team they desperately wanted to make, we feel their pain and maybe more so. We die “small deaths” when they miss a key opportunity, even when they don’t care. We just don’t show it. With an adopted child, there is one more big “small death” you keep locked up in a little box inside yourself- feelings about the “birthmother”.

Part Two

Adoptive parents are conflicted by the thought of “birth parents”
and we cringe when shows glamorize the reuniting of adopted kids with their long lost families. When you adopt a child, you are not just agreeing to raise him/her, you fully participate in this child’s life as his/her parents and your family becomes the child’s family. As a parent of both biological and adopted kids, I can unequivocally say we love each child equally, unconditionally and we tailor our parenting style to each based on what they need, not on how they came to our family.

Words cannot articulate how much we appreciate the efforts and decision of the birth mother to give up her child... to us, the ultimate gift. As we picked up our newborn son, we discussed how this joyous occasion for us was filled with pain for her. And we know she must experience a tough day every year on the date he was born. But although we appreciate the birth mother for the critical role she played and sacrifice she made, this does not mean I want her in our lives now, specifically re-entering the life of my child that she decided to give up. I am not heartless, I am honest – too often the view of the birth mother is the sympathetic one – but the angst adoptive parents live with is very real. For us, this will change at age eighteen when the decision shifts to the child about whether to pursue some action or not and hopefully our adopted son and daughter will have enough maturity to think through this complex situation.

When a situation is up close and personal, you reflect upon your views. We decided to approach this dilemma the same way as other major decisions they will make. For example, they will each select a spouse to spend their life with. This is their decision to make and we will respect their wishes. Should there be misgivings, we will keep them to ourselves (unless they are glaring or safety related). We provide context and support for their heritage. We created a wonderful family tree where their extended branches are based on ancestry, and direct branch comes into us. We visited the Great Wall of China and Olivia takes Mandarin language and culture. She embraces her Chinese heritage and we encourage her. It is harder with a domestic adoption, where there is less of a wall, less anonymity but we know he is Irish by ancestry and have done research and projects to learn more about Ireland.

Since we do not know what inherited traits they have, we focus more on character, work ethic, and pursuing potential strengths. We are not sure if someone’s birth parent has an amazing talent or not. Sorry to my biological children as we are sure there are no Olympic swimming genes in their bodies! So they are much more open to the potential of what they can be and more flexible in pursuit of what they want.

This will be their journey and decisions about who is in their life are ultimately theirs to make. Although we may silently die the biggest “small death” of all, we will not limit our children by choosing their path or deciding the key people in their life. I know I will be one of them; the rest is up to them. We will remain on the sidelines cheering on their choices but for now we are busy enough just getting through our jam packed weeks. I end with the beginning. Life is a journey and you impact your next steps. We never started out expecting to have four children or a blended family but we would not change a thing.

I have actually made a comment on the article, though I sincerely doubt that it will make it past moderation. This is the comment I left:

What an utterly SICKENING article.

Adoptees have every right to get to know THEIR OWN families, and to read an adopter dismissing OUR OWN families in such horrible ways is horrific!

We are also not ‘gifts’, but actual real people. You actually are heartless as you entirely negate the problem ADOPTEES suffer with from being adopted by describing us as that.

As an adoptee, I find this article vile and repulsive, and am thoroughly gladdened that my own adopters were nowhere near as callous and clueless as you’re making yourself sound!
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