Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More responding...

I keep trying to write new posts but the comments come in more quickly than I can deal with. The lastest and most challenging comments come from an "Anonymous" and I think I will try to respond to them. (Of course by the time I publish this there may be yet more, but I am not going to look before I publish.)

Why do I feel the need to weigh in so heavily on this?
--Well, it all started out as a post in which I refected on a conversation with a student. I didn't think I was weighing in heavily. We are covering it in class and I was trying to help my student understand that adoption was more complicated than she thought. It has all been on my mind since I read The Girls Who Went Away. Then I did some research on how adoption is handled in some other countries and have been more disturbed by our private adoption system.

Systematic and Personal Issues-
--They do get mixed up together don't they? What I want to talk about are the systematic issues. That is what we are doing in my class right now. In order to understand the systematic issues though my students have to see the personal issues, and need to see them from multiple perspectives. They are used to thinking about adoption from the perspective of adoptive parents, but not from the perspective of mothers who have placed. As they talk about the systematic issues I want them to remember that it is not just about people becoming parents, but also about people losing children. The world is complex and if we are going to talk about the issues we need to see the complexity.

--I have never, ever said that adoptive parents are selfish. I have argued against that claim. I have not argued that the motives of adoptive parents are suspect. I have said that adoption isn't about infertility, that if we could fix all the (systematic) problems that make adoption necessary it would be a good thing.

Distinguishing between my children
--Now this made me think. Why did I compare AnneMarie's relationship with her daughter to my relationship with my foster kids, and not with all of my kids? I think that is a good question, and I am not certain I have a good answer. It wasn't about distinguishing between my kids, or wasn't supposed to be. What I meant was that I don't think that adoptive parents should feel guilty. I used that example because I do believe that David, Carl and Evan would not be in my life if the world was more just. They came to be as the direct result of things that should never have happened, and yet that does not change the way I love them. If I don't feel the least bit guilty or ambiguous about loving children who have come to me by means of such tragedy, how can I be thought to be saying that anyone else should feel guilty?

Okay, the next thing I am going to quote, "Have you ever felt so in love with you children that you couldn't imagine your life without them? Have you every known that you were meant to be their mother and they were meant to be your children? How would you feel if someone told you that it was socially and politically wrong for you to feel like that?"
-I love all my children in such a way that it hurts to imagine what life would be like without them. I feel that I am privileged to have them in my life. Without them I would be less. I am grateful.
-Part of me wants to believe that I was meant to be David, Carl and Evan's mom, and they were meant to be mine. I can't say it though, because I can't say that they were meant to go through what they did on their journey here. I am SO happy that they are in my life. And yet if someone were to come to me and say that there was a way that I could choose that they would not have had to go through the hell they lived and the price of that would be that I would never meet them, I would choose that for them. It would hurt ME, and I would choose it for them.
-I really don't think I have ever said anything about how adoptive parents would feel, except that they should love their children without guilt or reservation.

You conclude by saying, "No one would argue that it's good or right or ok that our current reality is that we have thousands of children in foster care in this country, but that is the reality. This is a systemic issue and one that I actively work to change in my community. This is not inconsistent with the fact that I want to adopt again. I want that for myself and for my current and future children. That is a personal choice for me and my family and even though it means that we interact with a tragic system, I refuse to bear the burden of guilt or responsibilty."

I agree with every single word in that quote. Every. single. word.

1 comment:

  1. I wrote a long response that disappeared into cyber space and I haven't had a minute since. I have so much to say about all of this. And I guess the gist of what I want to say is that adoption and foster care are complex, multi faceted issues. Refusing to look at either side of it, positive or negative leaves us lacking in our ability to fully understand the issues. All members involved have an important voice in this and it behooves us to listen to all of it, whether or not it stirs up unwelcome and uncomfortable feelings. I am not lecturing anyone in particular, just voicing my wish.


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.