Great Reading

From one of the blogs I read. I’m too tired to write something specific about our family so here’s something that is not specifically about our family but kind of is.

I am the Truth

Recently there have been many stories in the news regarding international adoption. Stories about corruption and trafficking, about unethical agencies and uncaring parents, about abuse and about neglect, about unprepared families and uninvolved agencies, but are those stories really the truth about what international adoption is? In the face of these stories, the Joint Council on International Children’s Services has asked that all adoptive families speak out about the truth of international adoption.

But what is the truth of international adoption?

The truth is international adoption is not for the ill-prepared or the uncommitted- but then that is true of parenting- PERIOD

The truth is your child comes to you with a history that you not only were not a part of, but that you might never ever know. Some of that history may involve their first families or foster families and you will realize that these people have become part of your lives, regardless of whether or not you have ever met them or even know what they look like.

The truth is smiles and hugs, tears and tantrums, joys and sorrow

The truth is that you will always cringe when people ask you if you have children “of your own” because you understand how totally and completely your child is yours even while others can’t understand how that can be so

The truth is that your child’s story becomes part OF you yet it doesn’t belong TO you. It is neither yours to tell or to interpret

The truth is that love is not enough

The truth is that you occasionally feel that you have to explain or defend your family to others and this includes the seemingly positive statement that you “saved” your child. No matter how bad a situation they might have been in, what happens after an adoption is parenting, not saving.

The truth is you need to think about things you may never have ever considered before and things that maybe you would rather not consider- things like racism, classism, privilege, power and entitlement.

The truth is tiny handprints on the wall, little footprints on the floor, potty training, homework, band-aids, piles of laundry, sloppy kisses, bouquets of dandelions and belly laughs

The truth is that every news story about your child’s country of origin now matters to you too

The truth is that great sadness at what was lost can exist in the same space as great joy at what was gained

The truth is that a child can be the bravest person you have ever met

The truth is that international adoption is messy and complicated and hard and amazing and wonderful

Before we began the adoption process we took some adoption classes. On the last night there was a panel of adoptive parents (all of whom had only adopted children) One by one they each told their stories and each said they could not have loved their child more if they had been born to them. And while I understood that academically, I wondered how they could be so sure. I now look at my daughters and know birth is not what makes a parent. I look at my girls and know they are mine- yet at the same time, I also know they are not mine alone. I look and wonder whose eyes do they have, where does their personality come from, how much is nurture and how much is nature. But I do know- with every fiber of my being that parenthood is not based on genetics or birth or sharing a resemblance.

The truth of international adoption is that family isn’t determined by the single act of giving birth but by the act of simply BEING a family


5 thoughts on “Great Reading

  1. I think it was Jesus who first said "Let the little children come to me, for theirs is the kingdom of God" Isn't this the way every human adult is supposed to treat every human child? You're wonderful, Tesi, as a parent, a daughter (in law), and a wife. I love you.

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