We may have polished off our Thanskgiving feast, but it is still November, still National Adoption Month, and there is still a need to hear all sides of the story. Nicole Soojung Callahan wrote a piece over at The Toast that I really wanted to share.
My mother would say years later that she never knew I had been “teased” for being Korean, so I must not have told my parents about the education I was receiving in racial slurs at my little parochial school. My teachers had no idea what was going on. It might not have occurred to any of them that kids so young would know, let alone fling such words around. Nor did my parents know how to begin the conversation—no one, from the social worker to the adoption attorney to the judge who finalized my adoption, had ever warned them about raising a child of color in a very white town. At seven and eight years old, I didn’t have the capacity or the vocabulary to explain what was happening or how I felt; the words were locked inside. I was supposed to be fine, I was supposed to be happy, I was supposed to feel special for having been adopted. There wasn’t room in that picture to explain what was happening at school.
Please read it. All of it, every word. This sort of story is the reason that even after we move into December, and into 2015, I want to strive to continue adding other voices to this blog so that others can understand that adoption and this process we are going through isn’t just about growing our family or the paperwork involved.
There has been a lot of hustle and bustle this month on the non-adoption side of our life, but before I head into the four-day holiday weekend, I wanted to make sure to stop and give thanks despite the stress and hubbub of 2014.
- I am thankful that I had the opportunity to continue my education while doing an internship and maintaining a job that would allow us to keep our health insurance.
- I am thankful that there is a new roof over our heads. Home projects have taken a good chunk out of our savings this year, but D and I are grateful that our home is safer for it.
- I am thankful that our littlest rabbit girl is still with us. We had a scare a week and a half ago, but she is on her way to making a (hopefully) full recovery. Her bunny tantrums and spirited defiance of our desire to keep her on bed rest are adorable.
- I am thankful for our friends, who are not only excited for our adoption journey but have been supportive and wonderfully enthusiastic. We are always asked how the process is going and if we have any more information or news about adoption that can be shared. Their commitment to our family and their interest in understanding the complexities of adoptions from all sides (birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents) touches me to the core.
- I am thankful for our families, who cheer us on when the process hits small bumps in the road and who are thrilled to be expecting little ones in their future. Hearing my mom’s voice light up when I talk about it makes me giddy inside to think of her as a grandma.
- I am thankful that D and I have been blessed enough to be able to adopt. That we are informed enough to know that we don’t know enough about adoption and that we need to continue to educate ourselves for the rest of our lives.
I hope I have more things to be thankful for next year. I hope more children are safely placed with loving families, whether through adoption or reunification. I hope that our country becomes a safer place to raise children of color. I hope that the stigmas of adoption and adoptees in South Africa improves so that more children are raised and sheltered within their communities, and more birth mothers are welcomed and cared for than ostracized. Lots of hopes for 2015.
Love and happy Thanksgiving!
My last post went over one of our courses that we took through Adoption Learning Partners. The fall season is keeping us busy and we are not quite at the homestudy phase yet. So, in the spirit of sharing our experience and not making readers wait forever for updates, I am writing today about grief and loss in adoption.
The course name in ALP is Finding the Missing Pieces (2 hours). Similar to the previous session on conspicuous families, the lesson was divided into several parts.
This lesson was perhaps the most sobering part of the adoption process to date. There is a lot of loss involved before, during, and even after an adoption has taken place. Not only for the biological or first family (as I have heard other adoptive families use the term) and the adoptive child, but for adoptive parents as well.