Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Warning: Heavy, Taboo Subject Matter Below

My husband is going to say (as he often does) that I have "over-shared" with this post.  But it has been on my mind for a long, long time now, and I've never read this subject addressed in any other blog I've read up until now, so here it goes...

Everyone on the adoptive parent side of the adoption equation usually has a very rosy, almost naive view of the situation.  I know I did.  Kids needing parents, would-be parents without kids or wanting to expand their existing families - just put them together and problem solved for everyone, right?  But unless you get below the surface of it, you can't see the loss.  The loss of a former identity, of culture, of language, of friends, of a family that resembles you physically...

So, Tim and I adopted our four kids 2 years ago.  There are probably a hundred blogs out there about families who have adopted much as we did.  Some families have adopted more siblings, some fewer, some adopted a portion of a sibling group, while others adopted the remaining siblings (which I support because, while not ideal, it is better than the alternative - growing up without any parents to guide them into adulthood - and as long as contact is allowed with the siblings adopted into other families), and most families adopt just one child (mostly infants) at a time.  All a good thing for all involved, right?  And where am I going with this?

Does it ever cross your mind that your children may have more biological siblings "out there"?  Do you ever allow yourself to think about such things?  Does it drive you crazy knowing the unspeakable details concerning your kids lives "before" (usually in the case of older child adoption, but not always), and wondering if there may be others continuing to live in the same hellacious circumstances that your kids managed to survive and eventually escape?  I do.  Do you ever wonder if a sibling has been adopted by another family before or after you adopted your child/ren?  I do.

Do you ever wonder if your child/ren will some day ask you to help try to find siblings or other biological family in their country of origin (in our case Colombia)?  What would you do if your child asked you to do this?  Would you be willing to help, or would you try to avoid the whole situation, or even discourage it?  What if your child was still a minor and asked this of you?  Would you be willing to "open" your currently "closed" foreign adoption?  For these questions, I don't have any easy answers.

Several months ago, I had a conversation with another adoptive mother concerning a biological sibling that was "left behind".  This particular sibling could have been adopted by the family, but chose to stay behind.  The family still has contact with this sibling and they were still considering adoption last I heard.  This is only the second time I have ever even heard anyone talk about this happening.

Maybe I should just stop reading blogs and chat group posts from adult adoptees - many of them are searching for a part of themselves that they feel is missing (incidently, most were adopted as infants).  But I'm always trying to get an idea of what things might look like from our kid's point of view, especially after they reach adulthood.  And I probably just think and worry too much about things that I ultimately have no control over... do you?

1 comment:

Dan and Karen said...

We too consider the "possibilites" of what our boys may need/want down the road in terms of this subject. Like you I read blogs and know that for many adoptees going back to find their bio family can be very, very important to them.

They/we know of older siblings. Some still in Colombia and some in another country. None of them available for adoption by us. I have attempted to contact one via Facebook (without the boys knowledge), but have not been successful so far. We would really like to have the ability to make contact if they want to as they get older, so I was trying to get a headstart on that.

Would we seek their biological family? Yes. Even considering the life they were forced to live before coming into care they still (at this point) want to see their biological parents again. Will we ever return? I don't know. The inability of any of us being able to speak Spanish would certainly make that more difficult, but not impossible.

Technically ICBF should make us aware of any younger siblings that would be available for adoption, so that possibility (while slim in our case) does exist. We had already decided that we would do that were the opportunity presented.

While adoption is a wonderful thing it is certainly not all rosy. So many terrible things have to happen for children to be in the position of being adopted. And then through adoption they lose so much in order to gain a permanent family. Even having that "forever" family doesn't make everything rosy. Many times the things that they were forced to endure affect so many areas of their lives both short and long term. I know we probably had a much rosier view of adoption in the beginning. We would adopt and in a very short time they would be happy, healthy and think we were the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to them. Not. :) Now being 3.5 years into it we know without a doubt that we do love each other, they are ours and we are theirs, and nothing can change that. But, the past affects the present. In our case I think the passage of time, the fact that we are still here loving and taking care of them, and lots of hard work has allowed them to begin to actually believe that this is the "end of the road" and that they won't be going back to foster care and so they can relax, trust us and be kids. It's a work in progress - as any relationship is.