Thursday, June 16, 2011

What I don't think about

I've been thinking lately, what is it that I think about adoption these days? It's been four years since Genea first came into our home, that's half her life. Same home, same family. Same country, same food, same car. The reason I was thinking about it is because I realized, I don't think about it much anymore. I received this nomination as an adoption blogger (Circle of Moms Top 25 Adoption Blogs Click to vote!) and I thought to myself at first..... really? (I mean, it's way cool obviously, I think though that it jump started my thoughts). I'm happy to be an adoption blogger or a family blogger or a house of the wango tango blogger.

That is to say, I don't think of Genea as the child we adopted. She is my child. With brown bouncy curls and huge brown eyes. She is from Ukraine. She was adopted. She loves to listen to Disney music. I stopped thinking about myself as an adoption blogger, and more of a "Mommy blogger".  I talk about adoption here and there, but I rarely think of us as an "adoptive family" anymore. The adoption is something we did and now it is done. Now, we are just a regular boring family.

In the beginning, it's hard to think about anything else. You spend month's (years sometimes!) gathering and filling out papers. Every day there is something, even if it is just sending in the $3.00 for the local background check. Talking talking talking- oh the talking! Once you get through the process of telling your friends and family what you are doing, they are curious for updates and check in regularly. There is always some stupid little bit messing things up and so you are talking to adoption workers and whoever else you need to talk to to straighten things out. Everyone you know who ever knew someone who was adopted wants to tell you about it. There is a delay. Then another. And you panic and obsess and dream of the day of arrival. No matter how sweet or wonderful your adoption worker is, you also dream of the day they are out of your hair. For good. Mine were neither sweet nor wonderful so I had that dream a lot.

Then your child arrives! And woo hoo! That was the day our passive little withdrawn shell of a child turned into a raging ball of terror. Whoa! Now what! And people, friends and family are still calling and checking in all the time and so you are still absorbed in this whole thing as The Adoption. And I think, that's how it should be. It was a huge life altering event for us. For our immediate family, aunts and uncles, grandparents. Obviously for Genea, as well as the child who was already here.

Genea has issues around her adoption, to be sure, and those are subjects I think about a lot. But I see those more as things that have happened to her, that were caused by others. I wish desperately life had been different for her. Maybe that we had been to Ukraine and adopted her first. Or that she was never in an orphanage at all. I look at her when she is anxious or having a fit, and no matter what reason she gives, I can usually link her actions back to a fear related to her early life.

There are a lot of issues ahead of us as well. I have tried to think through how we will handle questions about birth moms and first moms and that question without answer.... "why?".  I will worry about those as they come up. Today, I have today to deal with.

I realize that our adoption of Genea was in fact another trauma in her life. So in a way, we caused that one. Fact is though, I may feel guilt about that later in my life but I cannot raise her and be a good mother to her and focus on that guilt. I have to keep that aside for another day.

I have a lot of opinions about adoption as an industry and most of those opinions are ugly. That's not really the point of this post anyway. I think that it surprised me when I thought about it, to realize that I really don't think about adoption anymore. I talk about it when I need to and that's that. Often, it doesn't occur to me to bring it up, even when it might help us navigate a situation. This is my little family, and we are quirky (to put a cute word on it, *ahem*) and we really are just us.

Now please, please please, go VOTE for The Accidental Mommy. It will take you just 3 clicks, and less than 10 seconds and I will be SO happy for WAY more than 10 seconds! Every day until next Tuesday!


  1. I love this post! All I've wanted for day one with my kids is for us just to feel like any other family. We're not quite there yet, but I've been told the two year mark is quite important and so I'm hanging on in for that. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Essie, I wish this post had a "like" (or "Love"!) button! I feel the exact same way about all of it. I don't think of her as adopted or us as an adoptive family. She's just our daughter and we're just a family, like any ohter. Yes, she was adopted and has issues surrounding that. Layers and layers of them. But they don't define her. Adoption is just part of her story. Mental health professionals and the adoption system both often make things much more difficult.

  3. What a beautiful post. Although my kids are not adopted, my brother and sister were, but I never really gave it much thought. They are my siblings, through and through.

  4. Yup, I get it too. That's how we feel about Noah. He couldn't be MORE our son if I had gestated him.

    The only reason we have thought much about his adoption recently is that it ties into his new diagnosis and that I've had to deal with my feelings about his birth mother, whom I really had not thought much about at all for the last several years.

    So anyway...yeah, what you said...

  5. Well put!

    I know it seems all the rage to discuss adoption as trauma. Well, it is, of course....but somehow that does make adoptive parents feel guilty, when if you get real about it, the trauma would have been far WORSE had an adoption not happened. We can wish and daydream and think how nice it would have been had bio-mom NOT taken to drink (or whatever), and bio-dad had NOT died of TB (or whatever), but since they DID - living in a home with parents who love them so much that they forget how they got them - is certainly better than life in an institution, or life as a foster child, or life on the street. So, I refuse to feel guilty - though, neither do I feel "good" or "holy" or anything like that. I am simply lucky!

  6. LOVE. love, LOVE, loved this post...I forget ALL OF the blinking time our kids are quote "adopted"...cute or rotten, sweet or sour, trauma or drama, they are simply MINE....your a hoot and I can't wait to meet you in person!!!


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