Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let's Talk About This

zinashi butterfly
Another photo that has nothing to do with this post. I mean, sort of it does, but not technically.

Of the many reasons I decided to start blogging for Babble, perhaps the one that is most important to me, is that I can talk about adoption with a wider audience. Or to a wider audience, depending on whether my posts have comments or not. Today I'd like to talk about something with you. Of all the things I've written about, this post on Babble is the one post I hope a lot of people read, both adoptive and non-adoptive parents, or even non-parents.  I posted about how I don't believe that our daughters' adoptions were meant to be, and why I don't think so, and even more importantly, why it's important that I make sure that's not the message they are getting from Jarod and me. I don't feel like that's a message that is being heard by most people, that they get the warm, snuggly version of adoption or the "rescuing an orphan" version of adoption, but they are not privy to the hard truths, to how complex the situation can become. I don't want to magnify the struggles of my family or my children, because we certainly have our fair share of peace and joy, but at the same time, I want to tell the truth. About our family, and the real reason it came to be. About the lack of justice in our world. About just how much hurt is involved when a child cannot remain with his or her family, even if both parents and child desire that.

I know that there are stories of children who were mistreated by their families, and should not have stayed with them as long as they did or at all. I think that when we tell the story of "meant to be," the problem is that it doesn't address why the children had to go through all that pain and heartbreak to make it into a loving family. I also think there are gaps in the theory of "meant to be" even if I were to say that I believe that once a child is in need of adoption, they are guided into the family they are meant to be in as a second choice. I am fine with this if the child feels that way personally about their story, but I think that if we say it in general, it fails to answer the question of why, then, some children are adopted into homes that are abusive, sometimes even to the point of death. It doesn't answer why some parents choose to disrupt their adoptions.

So what I'd like to know is how you feel about adoption, and the idea of destiny or even God's will if you are a person of faith. If you are an adoptive parent and do believe that your child was meant to be in your home from the beginning, how do you reconcile yourself to the stories that don't turn out so well? How do you dialog with your children about this so that if they someday feel conflicted about their adoption story, they know that you support them regardless of whether they come to believe the same thing you do?

I don't often introduce topics that could be cause for disagreement, so here's a reminder to keep it respectful and remember that each of us is a unique snowflake of an individual who is entitled to his or her feelings.

Now tell me what you think, please.

33 comments:

  1. I love reading about adoption and I think that is why I am drawn to your blog so much. I want a big family and I just feel that part of that will come from adoption. I don't know if it is destiny, I don't know what it is. I just would love to open my heart and home to someone else.

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    1. Kate, I would go so far as to say that I feel that I was am living the life I am supposed to live by mothering via adoption. Maybe that the skills and gifts I've been given are well suited to it is what I'm getting at, but there are times that I feel that I am living the life I was made to live. Which I think is different than living the life I was meant to live, if that makes any sense at all.

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  2. I'm not religious, and I don't believe in fate. I believe that a series of unfortunate circumstances led to my daughter becoming available for adoption. I also believe that once she became available for adoption, several coincidences gave my husband and me the great good fortune of becoming her family. I hope that she won't mind knowing one day how lucky we feel to have her, but I would never want her to sense an obligation to feel lucky that we are her parents.

    I can't believe in a master plan that 1. severs ties with birth parents, 2. renders extended birth family unable to care for a child, and then 3. affords my husband and me more social and economic resources to adopt our child than someone from her home country.

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    1. To your numbered points: yes and yes and yes. I am a person of faith, but even in believing I don't believe that God would do that on purpose in order to deliver a child into my arms.

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  3. I have no children of my own, but I parent other children (nanny for a friend's baby, nannied other kids, and helped raise a sibling's children).

    What do I think? I think it is not that a child's adoption was "meant to be." The issue is not about fate or other spiritual inevitability. The issue is about choice: those of the families giving the child to adoption, the families choosing to adopt, the agencies and social workers and judges -- they all make choices on behalf of the child. It's not fate -- it's grownups that make an adoption "be."

    Children, especially the very young ones, do not get any say on the process -- they have no choice. Whatever way their adoption is presented to them as they grow, I think it is important to be sensitive to this. So much of a child's life is out of their hands, and so much more of an adoptive kid's life can be chaotic.

    The truth is usually a good start, whenever the truth is known. Kids appreciate honesty, and handle it far better than adults often expect.

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    1. "The issue is about choice...it's grownups that make an adoption 'be.'" Yes, exactly.

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  4. BTW, from what I can see, you and your husband are handling the adoption story from a similar way that I see it. Your empathy with the families that gave up E and Z is touching, and I think, appropriate. And I can see that, in keeping your promise to return to Ethiopia and have Z see her birth family, Z's trust in you is solid. Gobez!

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  5. I am a Christian who believes that God defends the cause of the fatherless. I don't believe that God puts children in a position to become orphans, but that we as humans were given free will and our lives are not always lived out in the way that would be ideal.as our adoption progressed I did feel a comfort that God was going to know which child would thrive best in our family. We already had 3 bio kids and a lot of chaos. When we learned of our daughters existence and the circumstances of her becoming an orphan I really wasn't sure. Looking back, I realize that she needed the siblings to interact with, to encourage her, to pamper her and I really do believe that's why she thrived so quickly. Her birth family is nonexistent, so that may be making things easier in my head, but I know that God knew what he was doing when he landed her in the middle of our already busy wild life. I do feel saddened that others in the world aren't afforded the blessings that we are in the US, and I do wonder why me and not them, those are things I hope to understand one day.

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    1. With Zinashi, I felt in particular that God made accommodations for her in many ways, including placing her with a family who could meet some of her very specific needs (she needed to be with a family who could stay with her between court and embassy, and she needed to be with a family who could offer her one on one care at home for an extended period of time, and we fit that bill), but then I hear stories of kids who are like Zinashi who didn't end up in families that could meet their needs well, and I just don't know. So that part is a mystery to me, and I don't feel that I can say with confidence what was and was not meant to be about her being placed in our home in particular after her losses.

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  6. God's will or plan, fate, destiny, etc. All very loaded words which lead easily to false dichotomies. IF they are used (and they likely shouldn't be) they need to be grounded in solid explanations of what exactly that means when you say it, not trite phrases that sound "snuggly".

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    1. More and more I believe that the only way we should speak on God's behalf is by being love to others. If God didn't come down and say to me specifically that something was planned by him, then I feel like it is not for me to say one way or the other. I don't want to put words in God's mouth, because if I'm wrong, then that can be incredibly harmful.

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  7. I wish I had an answer to this, most especially because I DO have faith in an interventionate God. But I don't have an answer at all. And while adoption is not something with which I have personal experience, I can tell you that I've been wrestling for several years with the decision to try for another biological child or stop where we are, and I'm at a point now where I just don't believe there is a right or wrong answer. It appears now to be my choice, and I find that maddening. I want a "meant to be."

    And two weeks ago when a passing car hit our open car door while my husband was standing in it, so many people told me to thank God for intervening and keeping him safe. And I am so thankful. But I have a hard time putting that out there - "thank God for keeping him safe". Because sometimes people are not kept safe. Not sometimes; OFTEN. Regularly, people are hurt and killed and the suffering abounds. So maybe I was still reeling from a bit of aftershock from the accident, but I just couldn't bring myself to make my facebook status "Thank God for keeping him safe," and I know people wondered about that. :p

    Sorry. In my head this relates to your adoption question. I don't understand the rules - when do we get to choose, when is there a right way, why do some people suffer and others don't. And yet in my own life there are times that I DO see the hand of God working, and maybe in your adoption processes there are places you can see it, too? That's the light I keep chasing.

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    1. Melanie, yes, this totally relates. And it's not that I don't believe that God doesn't intervene, but that it's so much more of a mystery than we'd like it to be. I look at Elvie, and I know that there were miracles. For Zinashi, too, I think of how everything lined up for her after she was so hurt and broken, and I can't deny that it was extraordinary. I still think back to that summer before we went to her, hearing that we wouldn't have a court date until after the rainy season in the fall, and how that changed everything in terms of us both being able to stay with Zinashi in Ethiopia between our court date and embassy. I won't deny that it was exactly what she needed, and she got it. But I think that's as far as I can extend that reach, to say that grace walked in, and we are grateful, even though we don't understand it. And if I can't understand it, then I sure am not going to explain it with some certain terms.

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  8. I'd like to start this by saying that I am not a religious person but have every respect for those who are.

    I have a beautiful, lively, amazing 8 month old (biological) son who I would not change for the world ( though I might possibly change the fact he had me up at 5.30 this morning!). However, before we managed to have him we lost three babies.

    I don't believe that we were destined to go through that, that we were fated to deal with that much hurt and suffering. That my babies were destined never to be born. I refuse to believe that. I also do not believe that my son was 'destined' to be born which why he survived where his brothers or sisters didn't. I have four children. I may never have been able to hold, cuddle, kiss or nurture three of them. But I love them.

    While I will fully admit that without those losses my son would not exist I don't believe that makes him fated to exist. He will know about his older brother or sisters as he gets older. But he will know because he should know - though it is hard to talk about, if he or any other family member/friend goes through it I want him to have an understanding an empathy. He will know that I do not wish he was a different baby, that I would rather have my lost babies over him. He will know he is loved for who he is.

    I know this isn't about adoption, but it's my opinion on 'fate'.

    Your daughters are beautiful and I love reading about them/seeing them grow.

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    1. I am so sorry for your losses, and I don't think you were destined to go through them either. You capture the complication of life beautifully with your story; if not for your losses you wouldn't have the son you have, but that doesn't mean that you were meant to go through them.

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  9. This has been on my mind a lot lately. I don't pretend to understand God's will. I am Catholic; I have faith, but I don't generally understand God as a micromanager. I don't believe God created my son and his birth family to suffer. I don't believe he created their suffering.

    But...I do believe that God gave me a big kick in the backside to accept my son's referral, which came to me because my agency had my criteria down wrong. I was down for two preschool siblings and open to some special needs. Then... about a year before I expected it, I got a referral for one singular healthy baby boy. I was stunned. I got the email while my sister was in the delivery room giving birth to her son. So I don't know. I took it as a sign that I should accept this referral, and so many things have fallen into place. Some days I feel God was involved in me being a good Plan B for my son *after* he lost his birth family. Some days I don't presume to know so much, but I'm just grateful for my son and joyful that so many things in my life and so much of my extended family's history have worked to help him in his lifelong healing.

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  10. I have never commented before, even though I have read this blog for a while. I am only 21, and I don't have any children, so I don't have any expertise in these issues but I have always wanted to adopt. Growing up near to an orphanage and volunteering in an orphanage as a teenager has given me a real focus on these children and the contrast between gain and loss in their lives. My this I mean how much I would gain as a adoptive mother of a beautiful child, and how much they would lose by leaving biological family, history and culture. The best to hope for, I guess is that as they grew up they would see their life with me as 'adequate compensation' for what they had lost. I'm not sure if that's a good way of putting it?

    Thank you for the honesty and intelligence in your writing, and congratulations on your two lovely daughters.

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  11. I am an adoptee. I was around Zinashi's age when I was removed from the custody of my biological parents who were by all accounts truly horrible parents. They were abusive in every possible way, and I was neglected and malnourished as well. But even so, I was totally stricken to be removed from my home and from the people I didn't know any better but to love. The narrative that I was given about this period, from well intentioned people within and without my adoptive family, was that I had dodged a bullet and had better be nothing other than happy to escape. Understandably I was incredibly angry and confused by everything that happened to me: mercifully I didn't remember any of my abuse other than being hungry, just the trauma of saying goodbye(my social worker gave me oreo cookies while I sobbed and to this day I cannot even look at them), and the sense of being given away. Abandoned essentially.
    As I grew I came to intellectually discover that it was indeed better for my physical, social and spiritual well being to be separated from my biological family. I learned much later from my case file that my biological family was deeply dysfunctional: both parents had been abused themselves and both had IQ's in a range that made them intellectually challenged. But it never, never, never stopped hurting in my heart. I don't think that it ever will. I am blessed to have adoptive family I love, access to education and advanced degrees, and my own children with a husband I adore but that old sore if my first memory and if pressed too hard it aches. I cannot watch certain movies, read certain books, think too much about it because it simply hurts. It is not a huge part of my everyday life but it is part of who I am.
    So Mary, this is why I am such an ardent fan of your blog and how you write about adoption, because you acknowledge that for your daughters to be yours that they both had to go through trauma first. Even newborns who are adopted straight away are thought by experts to grieve a bit: they miss the familiar sights and sounds that surrounded them in utero. I am so glad to hear an adoptive parent talk about this so sensitively. It means a great deal to me, and I am not even one of your daughters. You are allowing them the space to feel how they want to feel about what happened, whatever that is. You are giving them time and space to grieve. They'll be so grateful for that later.

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    1. I just want to hug you for being so honest. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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    2. Your writing has touched me - thank you for sharing.

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  12. Mary, I think that I have learned so much about adoption through you and the girls. It is also something that I have thought a lot about for myself and the possibilities for our family. Personally, I don't think that it is something that is "meant to be". Because you are right, how do you explain to your beautiful little girl that she was meant to suffer and have pain and get thrown into the unknown of a new family? Thats just impossible. I think of adoption as more of a "need to be". These children needed a safe, secure, loving place with the resources to provide the medical and emotional care that they need to survive. And I think that adoptive parents need an outlet to pour all of their excess love into.

    I think saying "meant to be" implies that God just decides things willy-nilly for fun. But I personally believe that God provides when there is a "need".

    Thank you for posting, and keeing us updated on the girls. I read both sites every day. I wish you all were here to celebrate Meskel again, I would love to see how Elvie reacts to the fire and the songs!

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  13. I loved your Babble post and this post. I agree 100% that telling a child they were "meant" to lose their first family is an hurtful way to frame their story for them. I love the respect, honesty, and purpose with which you raise your girls. I am grateful for your sharing your family and thoughts so beautifully.

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  14. Oh boy, do I feel guilty for some of the things I told my son after his adoption was finalized - "this was meant to be," "you were always supposed to be a member of our family, we just didn't know it," and on and on and on. In retrospect, I think a lot of that was me trying to cement his role as a "real" member of the family to him, his siblings, my husband and even - maybe especially - to me.

    M was adopted at age 3 in situations similar to an extended-family adoption, and his mother is still occasionally in our lives. Now M is 9, and I'm so lucky that he talks openly with me about his complicated adoption feelings despite all my blunders as a parent! We've talked about how me saying those things made him feel, and he says he liked it when he was younger because he didn't want to be different than his sisters, but if I said it now it would make him mad because "You'd be lying." Out of the mouths of babes.

    Something that works for M now is saying "the whole world is one family" and that we are all related, kindred spirits. We also talk about how we ALL build our own 'families' as we grow and love people and choose who we want to be our mentors, find friends who will always be there for us like siblings, an elderly "grandparent," etc. M really likes the way this normalizes having family members come into your lives at different times and having more than one mom. My husband wants to continue building our family through adoption, and I don't know how I would reframe this idea to be less scary for a kid who isn't yet solidly attached to his forever family. I guess we all just muddle through as best we can with the family we have! :)

    p.s. Sorry to ramble on so much! My husband and I both really love your blog, and we often call in our oldest daugher - 12 and fashion-obsessed - to admire Zinashi's outfits! :)

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  15. Our daughters came to us from an in family placement. We have never said it was meant to be, we've simply kept it to "S couldn't care for you so she found us because we could. You get to have two mommies and it's okay if sometimes that is confusing or hurts. It's okay if you don't really care." They seem to side more on the don't really care end of things. We haven't gotten in to the complex issues that led to their first mom being unable to care for them. Those things are really important right now and they're not really our stories to tell. When the girls are curious they can ask their first mom and she will explain it, which is something we agreed when the girls were first placed with us. Their first mom has said to us that she feels like she was supposed to give birth to the girls for us but that is not really a sentiment we share and it's certainly not one we share with the girls.

    Our boys came to us with absolutely no history. From private investigators we have found little things but they are no more than memories four years after the fact from random bystanders who were not interviewed at the time (they just had their names taken down). And it's nothing definitive - just that it was a tall woman or a young woman who dropped them off. Nothing really to go on. Our boys aren't curious about their adoptions although it is an open and frequently brought up topic in our house. We try to leave the conversation open but so far, they aren't curious. It's our daughters who don't understand how we can not know who their first mothers were.

    We leave it, as stupid as it probably sounds, the same way we explained adopting our pets from the shelter. They had homes and history before we had them but we don't know what it was. What was important was they really needed a family and we were a family who wanted them. Somehow our paths led to each other. We don't have to know how or why and sometimes we can be grumpy or sad or mad about it, but we're family now and family is forever.

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  16. I don't intend any disrespect to people of faith, but I do not understand how anyone parenting a child who came from a background of deprivation or abuse could tell that child that there was a loving deity who could have saved them at any time but didn't bother for however many years until their adoption. Or a deity who allowed other children to never find homes or find new homes where they were abused further.

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  17. I went to bed thinking about this last night. "meant to be". I think (from reading your blog for a while) that God gave you a heart for adoption. You where meant to be a parent via adoption. Your children on the other had where meant to be the children of their parents, but we live in a fallen world and bad things happen (to the good, bad, and in between). In a perfect world your children would still have a family who could take care of them, but they don't. So you stepped into fill the gap. To give them the love that they need to grow and thrive. It wasn't meant to be for them, but I think it was meant to be for you. God is not sleeping. I think he found the two little girls who needed you and blessed you with them. God calls us to help orphans, so I can't believe he sits on the side lines and doesn't "make all things work for good for those who love the Lord". Just my two cents, but I think your where meant to be the Momma of these two princesses...God knows the end from the beginning...He knew they would need you.

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  18. You asked, so here goes. I am a Christian. I believe that we live in a fallen world. I believe that the circumstances leading to my children's adoptions are tragic and the result of choices made by imperfect people. Extreme poverty, for example, is very complex but is caused by greed, wars, exploitation, poor allocation of government resources, etc. etc. etc. The point is, we live in a messed up place. God did not intend for my children to be orphaned. He gave them to their birth families, and I believe he allows all of us the freedom to make choices, good or bad, which influence others around us. My children's families are victims of poverty and illness and other misfortunes that are no fault of their own, but due to much larger global issues. I believe though that my God is a great redeemer, that he binds up wounds, that he heals great hurts. God led our family to adopt our three children from Ethiopia, and we acknowledge their hurt, the great tragedy of losing their first families and their birth culture. I think to suggest otherwise would be terribly difficult for them as they process their grief. Our children are hurt, but they are healing, and they have brought us great joy. As long as God allows us to choose freely, there is potential for suffering, and that's the only way I can reconcile the ugly. Our adoption experience has been one that has strengthened my faith and absolutely solidified my belief that God does absolutely intervene for our good. I know though that some endings aren't happy ones. I think part of faith is trusting God even with those unhappy stories, believing that he will make it right (but perhaps not on this side of eternity). I don't mean to minimize anyone's painful experiences, but it is what I hold on to in those dark seasons that don't make sense. The bigger issue of the problem of suffering (if God is good, why all the bad?) is an enormous theological question, but in my mortal brain generally comes down to our freedom to choose.

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  19. I loved reading all these comments...
    Here is my take coming from an adoptive Momma who's son was so sick, tiny and would have died had he stayed in his birth country.
    Our son was not "meant to be" with us. He was meant to be with his birth family in his birth country. His birth mom wasn't meant to die and his birth father wasn't meant to be sick. This is all because of a fallen world! There is sin, there is poverty and there is pain. This is NOT how God intended this world to be.
    BUT... God chose me to be our son's second Momma. To stand in the gap and to care for him! And oh how thankful I am that He did!!!
    I do believe that God knew before time that our son would come to us as an almost three year old and that for years before, He was preparing me to parent him. As a 26 year old I sat with my mom while she took her last breath. That was a heartbreakingly hard time for me but I know it prepared me to parent a child that had watched his mom die too.
    Nothing bad is meant to be but God makes beauty from ashes and restores all things, maybe not here on this earth but in His time!!

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  20. While I don't have kids, I'm beginning to form an idea of how I'd like to create our family with my future spouse. I'm not sure I'd label it "destiny" so much as "having the right constitution for this sort of challenge." Having worked for six years at an elementary school, I find myself easily able to become attached to the kids I watch, and even sensed when one kid was going through a domestic violence situation. I've never felt any inclination to be pregnant, and my heart aches for kids who aren't getting the love and attention they need to flourish. For me, I see myself starting as a foster parent, and if/when the child becomes available for adoption, making the situation permanent. I'm also a family law attorney specializing in adoption (I shared your blog with my adoption law professor!), so it gives me as much preparation as one can have for what's to come and how to best handle it. I think your blog is extraordinarily helpful for someone in my position looking to create a non-biological family, and it brings up things I hadn't thought of before. Thank you for writing!

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  21. I am loving the respectful dialogue on this topic. I don't believe in 'meant to be' when it comes to adoption - I cannot possibly accept that some of us were placed on this earth to suffer greatly while some of us were purposely placed here to live in peace, with abundance and surrounded by beauty.

    I am an adult-adoptee (via kinship adoption). I have come to understand, first on an intellectual level, and then on an emotional level that adoption is the result of tragedy. A child placed for adoption has lived through a profound trauma, a profound loss, the lived experience of abandonment and the resulting grief. Trauma, loss, abandonment and grief ... how does one ever say that a child was meant for that?
    I have also been very lucky. I have been a part of a loving family, I have experienced a great and deep love and I am now mothering a beautiful daughter who came into my life by way of adoption. Those of us on this path must get comfortable with the duality of joy intertwined with pain, beauty intertwined with suffering.

    My faith has been a messy muddle of questions since the day my mother died and left me alone in the world. I think faith is a lovely place to place our fears, to gain strength and to attempt to reconcile the inequality of the world. For me though, I am left with uncertainty and ambivalence.

    What I can believe in, without question, is that we all deserve to give and receive love, that compassion is healing, that kindness lifts us. That we should be spending more of our waking moments being kind human beings. That connected relationships need to become our most important currency.

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  22. I'm so happy that you wrote about this. You've offered such a balanced, thoughtful, and to my mind, logical viewpoint. I'm not a believer in "ment to be" in general. Living as I do in a developing country, I'm acutely aware that the "blessings", material, socio-economic, genetic, geographic, which have been bestowed upon me are solely meted out by chance. It's just good luck that I was born in North America to middle class parents, and not in Jakarta (where I live) to desperately poor parents who would have no choice but to send me out onto the streets to beg for money or worse, sell me to a beggar master.
    Its a great disservice to our children to tell them that the benefits they are born with are deserved. Kids need to be aware that what they have (or don't have) is not their right, nor their fault.
    This is all further complicated by the very real and really unpleasant truths of dishonesty and corruption in international adoption (I'm sure you are well aware of these issues, and are sensitive to them, and I am by no means implying that those who adopt internationally are complicit or anything but kind spirited, and well intentioned. Also, corruption / trafficking / dishonesty is so much less likely in the case of an older child / toddler or a child with disabilities, so.)
    Anyway, what I'm saying is you're doing right by your girls. I really admire so much about the way you parent your children, and how you allow them to fully experience their stories. You're a true inspiration. And you probably hate that I say that. Still, I look up to you.

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  23. I have three daughters. One biological and two adopted three years apart. With my oldest, it was easy to all the glory to God fro sending this perfect beautiful child to me. When I adopted the first time, she was 9. She had been through a very traumatic beginning. One day someone, well meaning I am sure, said to her that she was so lucky to be adopted. She got a look of panic on her face and left the room. I found her crying in a corner. Once calmed, she said, "I am sorry mom. I don't feel lucky. I love you and I am glad you adopted me, but I am not lucky. Kids should not have to live like I did. Moms should make their children important. Mine did not."

    So much pain lives in this child. She is now 16. We still deal with the same adoption issues of loss and grief. She is slowly putting her life into perspective. But, when she least expects it, the trauma is reopened.

    I have grappled with the idea of how and why I have her. I am blessed and I love her to the moon and back. But, if given the option, I would have chosen for her to live happily and safely in her biological home. I want to say it is a God thing. But then does that mean her early years were a God thing? It doesn't make sense.

    Fast forward. when she was 12, I adopted again. This kiddo was almost 12. it lasted two years before she was removed from my home because of safety issues. A year and a half of intense treatment did nothing to change it. She made plans to murder me and the other girls. People judge if you need to, i would say don't judge what you don't understand. I have struggled emotionally since I signed over custody. I failed this child. Although, she is now living in the country as an only child and by all accounts is doing amazing. If this is a God thing, then why did it fail? Why did she have so much hurt that she could not accept us as her family? People always tell me that it worked out the way it was supposed to? My pat response is, "Who says so? I believe God is loving and forgiving. HE would NO WAY want this for my daughter."

    Since my daughter was older when adopted, she knows her history. It has always made clear that it is safe for her to share whatever she wants to. Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn't. Sometimes she shares things that I know are not true so I gently correct her. Honestly, there are days that she hurts so badly she can barely function. Her mom was murdered while she was in care. She was never allowed to grieve for her or say good bye. We have visited her grave to help her come to terms. There is no sadder image in my mind than the sight of my daughter, sobbing silently, as she hugged and kissed her mom's grave marker. Absolutely heartbreaking~~but she needed to do it and I needed to be there to hold her and tell her it was OK.

    This is longer than I anticipated. My apologies. I am glad that you can recognize that adoption ALWAYS starts with a loss. I have no doubt my daughter loves me and that we have a good bond. It took a lot of hard work on both our parts.

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