Category Archives: Adoptee

Articles that explore the viewpoint of adoptees, as well as ideas of special concern to parents who are raising an adopted child.

It’s a matter of perspective

Remember when I wrote about the Drama Wheel? The short play where one person is the villain, the victim and the hero?

Well, there are other examples, as I’m finding, of stories in which two opposing parties are forced to see from the other’s viewpoint.

Here are two movies my kids have been watching lately. Check out the general theme of…

Seeing a situation from multiple perspectives

Tessa likes Freaky Friday. Mom thinks her teenage daughter is self-centered and incapable of thinking about the people around her. Daughter thinks mom has no idea how difficult it is to be a teenager because the Mom is so wrapped up in her own life. They argue with and rage at each other, missing each other’s point of view because they are so stuck in their own.

Through a magical fortune cookie, one freaky day they trade places. The daughter inhabits the mom’s life and the mom lives the daughter’s. Finally, in walking in the other’s shoes, they each can more fully love, respect, and appreciate the other.

Reed is into Brother Bear. Kenai is mad at a bear he thinks was responsible for the death of his brother, Sitka, so he hunts it down and kills it. But Sitka’s spirit has arranged for Kenai to learn about the connectedness of all life. So through the bear’s death, Kenai becomes a bear.

A third brother, Denahi, now hunts the bear for revenge, thinking the bear killed his two brothers. He doesn’t realize that he’s hunting his own brother!

What’s most fascinating is that when we see the bear through Denahi’s eyes, he looks like a National Geographic bear — all fierce and ready-to-kill. When we see bears through Kenai’s eyes, they look like Disney bears — cuddly and ready to have good-natured fun.

Kenai has to face something horrible he did because of his limited perspective, and both he and Denahi become wiser for their experience.

Whenever I see conflict in Adoption World (or in my own world), I wonder what would happen if the parties in conflict could trade places. Oh wait. Maybe in this lifetime we ARE trading places.

Could I have been a first mother in another reality? Might I have experienced what it’s like to have been adopted? How compassionate was I with the others in my constellation? How compassionate am I now?

 

Triad View: Trans-familied feelings of an adoptee

Tessa and I are different in so many ways. I love to read (an introvert)…she loves to interact (extrovert). I can’t stand to have bare feet…she can’t stand to wear shoes. I like tidy and sorted…her room is post-Katrina-esque. She wakes up cheerful and eager…I, well, I don’t.

Earlier this summer, I ran across this notion in an adoptee blog, Joy’s Division. Joy explains the difference between who she was born to be and who she was raised to be. I am reminded of her post every time I notice how different I am from Tessa (more so with her than with Reed).

It was like two Golden Retrievers adopting a daschound, they were busy trying to understand why I wasn’t a Golden Retriever. They did their best to help me be a Golden Retriever, who can blame them? That is what they knew how to be. They didn’t know how to be a short legged long dog. They wanted to help me overcome my short legged long dogness, but were at a loss, and gave up.

Joy’s post is an important one for adoptive parents in understanding how an adopted child might feel. But I’m not sure what to do with this insight. In fact, I believe Joy is not saying I should or shouldn’t do anything as Tessa’s mom. She’s saying that this is simply what happens in adoption, when a child shares the biology of one tribe and the biography of another. Perhaps the best I can do is just to be aware.

So today I’m full of questions and musings. What is it like to have me as a mom? What is it like to be part of our family? Will Tessa one day feel as if she was forced into being something she’s just not? What can I do to prevent her from having lingering feelings of being trans-familied?

Ideas? Thoughts?

In Adoption, Last Means Best

I had long struggled with the idea of adoption as a second choice — pregnancy being the default setting and thus, first choice. After all, I had ended up in exactly the right place. I wouldn’t want my family to be any different than who we are. But how to explain this to my children, who are likely to ask questions in the coming years?

One day I came across Melissa at Stirrup Queens, who addresses the term “second” as a chronological term rather than an ordinal term.

is adoption second choice

Was Roger my first choice as a husband? Well, considering I kissed a few frogs before I even met him, Roger wasn’t chronologically my first choice. I wonder how my life would be now if I’d ended up with Alan, the boy who helped me collect worms one day when we were 8. Or Dave, the disk jockey turned radio-mogul, or Bill-the-farmer or Carl-the-slacker or Ike-the-commitment-phobe.

Roger was definitely my best choice. But I meandered to get to him. The meandering is what made me worthy of him and appreciative of him.

It’s oddly coincidental. Tessa developed her first crush this week during Vacation Bible School. She is smitten with a boy double her age, a 6th grader named Cory. She dressed for him, had me braid her hair for him, talked incessantly about him, and dreamed of him. She claims she’ll marry him.

Not very likely. Cory may be her first, but what matters is the last. That’s the keeper.

Just like Tessa, and just like Reed. My meandering to them is what makes me worthy of them. The process of our family forming was absolutely the best choice, even if we started out not knowing that.

Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Lori Holden's book coverLori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.