It’s National Adoption Month Or #NAM15 as the cool hashtag goes. People approach this month in numerous ways; from the adoptee, adoptive parent, adoptee advocate and so much more… Last year was my first year really knowing about this month and my first year of wearing such a mixed bag of adoption labels. I was totally perplexed and every post I read on the topic, I stuffed and was a fat turkey of adoption emotions by the end of the month. This year, it’s different… maybe it’s because I am in my second year of my mixed adoption bag life…international adoptee/ domestic- transracial adoptive mom – or maybe it’s because I am 36 weeks pregnant and instead of being a fat turkey of emotions by the end of this month, I will instead be a fluffy- full term pregnant lady… as my sweet husband likes to call me (not the fluffy part). All this to say- this month means something.
I get excited when I think of all these other adoptees writing on the many adoption topics. I can associate with the array of feelings adoptee’s face; anger, confusion, a need to be justified and identified. It may seem crazy to you that adoptees feel anything but grateful. But it’s hard to grow up without answers, it’s not easy being the only asian in your school while having no context to the boy on the bus making fun of your slanted eyes and some stories involve even deeper heartache as children live the foster care system for years. Not to mention needing to live up to the standards of being grateful, can cause a whole mess of issues… Case in point, this month should be spent giving the adoptee a voice and allowing the grey rather than projecting solely a fairy tale…
On the flip side, I am an adoptive momma- and the gift of adoption is real, you know I am the first to tell you my daughter is remarkable as any proud parent would. There is not one day that goes by I do not thank adoption for her awesomeness. The biggest thing that has helped me be able to see these two sides to this month has honestly been our open adoption. It’s allowed me to see my story with new eyes and I have been able to experience a love that is really unexplainable.
If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve heard about visits and meetings with birthparents but I think the biggest one that has happened yet was when Vera-lou met her birthfather’s family. Three months ago we traveled to Texas to do a little family vacationing and birth family visiting. Vera-lou’s birthfather did not tell his family she existed until she was about 8 months old. Circumstances did not allow for her life to be known. However the relief and redemption that took place when Padre J did tell his family, was a miracle. Getting to meet them and spend the day with them, I really was able to understand so much more. Padre J’s mother explained to me that she had to go through a time of grief before she could grasp the reality of her first grandchild’s adoption. Vera-lou’s birth aunts and uncles all came to spend the day with her and the youngest only being 10 years old didn’t understand what it all meant. He was confused like any child would by the idea that a Korean woman and White American man were his hispanic nieces parents. But this is openness… and instead of dwelling on the confusion they loved our daughter. They got down on the ground and played with her in the heat of the Texan summer sweating and laughing. They took her to Chuck-E-Cheese and spent too much money to win her things. They asked questions about our lives and dreamed with us about all the things Vera-lou might do, like any good family would. And to us they are apart of our family. She’s all of ours. After our visit, I thought to myself she would have had an extremely different life than she does with us but she would have lived and been loved. It was hard. But circumstances are as so and just like most parts of adoption I had to grieve and move forward.
In conclusion, as an adoptee, I will never have all the answers. I think getting glimpses into the back story of my daughter’s adoption I can understand all the more of why we may not need them all. We do need a voice and the space to have all the feelings… but in order to get that voice we are looking for we have find peace in our unknowns and allow them to inspire us to advocate for our mysterious identity .