Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Should Adoptive Parents Tell Their Children They Are "Gifts"?

David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I encountered something online this morning that led to a discussion about whether or not adoptive parents should tell the adoptee that he or she is "a gift from God." I myself am not in favor of such wording. A twitter friend just asked me to explain, and since I can't fit my explanation into 140 characters, I am answering here.

First of all, let me say that I understand that biological children are also sometimes referred to as "gifts" or "blessings." But the terminology is frequently used in a very specific way in discussions of adoption. This is what I'm referring to. Parents may consider both adoptees and biological children gifts or blessings, but adoptees are much more likely to grow up hearing this emphasized. Is there something inherently wrong with considering our children, bio or adoptive, to be gifts or blessings? Not necessarily. But adoptees tend to be sensitive and alert regarding the language used to define our connection to the family. "Gift" has some subtle implications that might not be immediately obvious but make sense when you think about them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Fragment in Time: Recovering a Key Piece of My Adoption Narrative

In the early hours of the morning, shortly before waking, I dreamed I opened a trapdoor in a wooden floor and discovered a pulsing, hot ball of pain. I recoiled immediately, as if burned by fire. In my head I heard a voice saying "If you really want to heal, you are going to have to deal with this."  
"Not now," I answered. "Not yet." 
-- me on January 31, 2013
I know what's under the trapdoor, but opening it requires rewriting a key piece of my official adoption story.

When people ask me when I learned that I was adopted, I usually answer that I've always known. Of course, I recognize that this is not true in a literal sense, but saying so was my way of explaining that my adoptive parents brought up the subject in a child-friendly way from such an early age that the fact of my adoption was woven seamlessly into my life's narrative. There was no shocking moment of discovery.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

With All Our Flaws

Today's "fragment" is a quote from a blogger I admire:
Life is inherently out of hand; death, illness, pain, loss, grief, war, disasters natural and man-made, trauma, heartbreak, abuse, cruelty, racism, sexism homophobia and heteronormativity, oppression and injustice in all its forms, including the depletion, exploitation, and hoarding of the earth’s resources. In the face of all that life can throw at you there are times when blatant mental imbalance is the sanest, healthiest most healing response. 
We are all embedded in enormous systems, familial, social and planetary, which are also cycling, swinging wildly, falling in and out and passing through imbalance, equilibrium and back again. Living and breathing balance requires and contains imbalance within it. 
We will all lose our footing. 
No one is impervious. We will all drop the ball.   
-- Martha Crawford, What a Shrink Thinks 
As I mentioned yesterday, lately I've been a little bit in love with the human race. Illogically and insanely in love. Not in spite of our flaws, but because of them.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Parking Lot Philosophy

Lately, I've been a little bit in love with the human race. Crazy, I know!

But here's the thing: in keeping with the theme of sea glass, I keep finding myself thinking about how we are all flawed and broken and yet somehow beautiful.

I probably should have named this blog "the strange, strange musings of Rebecca Hawkes." As I was walking into my office this morning I engaged in a bit of parking lot philosophy in the short distance from my car to the company's back door.

Credit: graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I was thinking about how our eyes point forward, literally limiting our range of vision such that we can never see all of what is around us at any given moment. And I was musing on how this extends metaphorically to other ways we are restricted in our vision. Point of view. View point. James Joyce's parallax.
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