Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adoption Reunions

I've been reading blogs about adoptees experiences with reuniting with their biological family. It's heartbreaking. I hope there are some more positive stories out there, but the ones I read a just so sad.

Adoptees looking to reunite with bio relatives are naturally curious about the family they were born into. I'd imagine it's natural to have great expectations and be excited about knowing your full history.

Expectations really are at the centre of this type of event. Fantasies of the perfect parent-child relationship create such high expectations it would be difficult to meet.

I still think adoptees should have the power to decide if and when they will meet their biological family. Biology is a science, relationships are a much more complicated matter entirely. My wish is for peace, and respect for all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Conversation with a Child Psychiatrist

I'm fortunate to have befriended a child psychiatrist. What makes her very special to me is her knowledge of child development as well as her indepth knowledge of the adoption world, since two of her siblings were adopted. I recently spoke with her about my concern with showing my eldest daughter the picture of her birth mother and biological sister. She agreed with me and thought it best to show my daughter the picture. She also mentioned that it's important to build an honest foundation with my daughter, so she never feels that we lied to her or purposely with held anything from her. If we build a foundation of trust now, she will come to us with questions and concerns in the future, and not just regarding adoption issues. It all comes back to respect, being respectful and feeling respected. Isn't that what we all want?

Mothering 101

Today was just an ordinary day, as some would say. There's just a few more weeks left until summer is over, the routine returns and summer days will become recent history. It was unlike your typical summer day though, in that it was pouring with rain. What to do, what to do, the house looks like a bomb went off and two sisters just want to compete for their mother's attention and play. We didn't bake, there wasn't enough available counter space in the kitchen. We didn't do laundry, which is what I knew needed to be done. We played with playdough. It did make a tremendous mess, as I predicted, but we did laugh alot too and we surprised ourselves. My youngest was thrilled with an elephant and added four legs to make a six legged elephant. My eldest made an elaborate birthday cake that doubled as a hat. All in all, a great day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Complications in Adoption

Relationships in adoption can be complicated. Recently my daughter asked what her birth mother looks like. My husband described her appearance but didn't offer to show her a picture, because he wasn't sure if we had one. He told me about their conversation later in the day. We do have one picture of her birth mother, I've asked for more pictures, but this particular birth mother only sent one. It's a picture that has the birth mother's second biological child on her lap. The birth mother decided to parent her second biological child. My husband and I have been talking about what we should do.

We're concerned that our daughter may feel rejected because her birth mother chose to keep her second child. We also wonder how she will react to finding out she has a biological (half) sister. Will that knowledge change the relationship she has with her sister within our adoptive family? Will she want to meet her birth mother and bio sister once she sees a picture of them and it all becomes much more real for her? Is she ready to handles the intense emotions that comes with meeting a birth mother and biological sister? She's already a very emotional 7 year old girl. She's very bright too and already understands that her birth mother was her mother for a short time.

Ultimately we know we will show her the picture. We have no right to withold any information about her past. I would never want her to resent us. I don't think she's ready to read letter from her birth mother. When she's older, I'll tell her we can read them together. The picture, and the letters are part of her story of where she came from and who she is. It wouldn't be fair to keep them from her, I just want to make sure that we present them when the time is right.

Kung Fu Panda 2 Review

We went to the movies recently and saw Kung Fu Panda 2. The movie is very entertaining and has a positive message. I didn't expect the overwhelming adoption theme that is center stage in the movie. Early in the movie, Po, the Kung Fu Panda, begins to wonder about his story. He asks his adoptive father, Duck, where he was born and how he came to the Noodle House. Duck recalls a story of a little panda tucked into a radish crate. Duck took in Po as his son and raised him. Po is troubled about his past and continues to search for answers. He begins to have flashbacks and realizes that his biological parents loved him, but their lives were threatened and that is why his biological mother placed him in a radish crate on a cart bound for the city, in hopes his life would be spared. Po comes to find peace with his past and embraces Duck as his father.

I wish I would have previewed this movie first before seeing it with my kids! I don't think I would have shown my kids this movie had I known the language in the movie would be so confusing. Po refers to his Panda parents as his "real" mom and dad. He's upset that he was abandoned in a radish crate and left all by himself.

My eldest daughter was very emotional for 2 days after watching this movie, and I wondered how it was affecting her. I decided to sit down and read "Tell Me Again about the Night I was Born" by Jamie Lee Curtis. After reading the book I told each of my girls their adoption stories and how an adoption plan was made and their birth mother(s) chose us to be their parents. My daughters enjoyed hearing their stories and we continued on with the rest of our day. Later in the day, I made a point of telling my eldest daughter that movies are not good sources of adoption information. The next day, all was well again!

When Kung Fu Panda 3 comes out, my husband and I have decided to preview the movie first before taking our kids to see the movie. There was a hint, in this movie that the biological panda father would come looking for Po. I'm curious how the topic will be handled in the movie. I'll be interested in how they handle the topic of biology vs. adoptive family. Will they be balanced- or will there be a bias toward biology as there often is in the media. I know movies are meant to be entertaining, but I wish that they would be respectful when they take on subject matter that is very real to some of their audience members.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Gift of An Ordinary Day

I'm feeling very lucky to be a mom today. As an adoptive mom I really am fortunate to be a mom, because other infertile couples still wait for children to join them. Being a parent is a priviledge, we're moulding the next generation of our society. Kids aren't just kids, they're people too. As they look back on their childhood, they'll likely have some specific memories. Most important of all, how will they feel, when they think back on their childhood? Did they feel as though they were a gift? I certainly am not advocating to spoil your children, they inherently know when they are being treated fairly or when they've pushed it too far. In those ordinary days, did they feel seen and heard? Did someone feel they were important enough to stop, look, listen and be present to who they are and what they had to say? I want my children to feel they matter.

Our children only live with us for a short time. They grow up, move out, and create their own families. While mine live with me, I want to appreciate every day, the special and the ordinary.

Here's an inspirational video:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Teen Mom" TV Show~ Glorification or Reality Check?

I watched an episode of the Teen Mom TV show on the Much Music channel. I was interested in watching it because I heard that a teenage couple on the show made an adoption plan for their biological baby and I was curious about how the show handled the topic of adoption.

I thought the topic of adoption was handled respectfully and honestly on the episode that I saw. The teenage couple mentioned that though they missed their biological daughter, they were thrilled with the parents they chose to be her parents. They get to see her once per year on her birthday and look forward to seeing her. The teenage couple knew they weren't ready to be parents and are proud of their decision. I was really glad they were on the TV show, as an example of what the adoption process is like these days. It's my hope that more teen moms will be better educated about adoption as an option so they will include it in their decision-making process.

It was clear in the "Teen Mom" TV show that all of the teenage parents were having some difficulty in balancing being a parent with developing stable relationships and finishing school. In my opinion, it showed how difficult it is to be a teenage parent, and any pregnant teens watching the show would get a reality check. However, in speaking with another adoptive mom, she thought the teen mom's were glorified in the show, they are after all, becoming celebrities just because they are on the TV show.

All I know is, more information is a good thing. Realistically, adoption rates will likely continue without change. Pregnant teens will weigh their options as they always have. They will consider how much support they feel they will need and most likely receive as a parent regardless of what they see on TV. After all, it doesn't feel real, until it's happening to you.