Archive for August, 2006

“To Icarus, love Mom” by sume

When I was in the fourth grade, a boy whom I’ll call Travis lost his parents to a car accident. The entire class had been told to prepare us for his return to school in a few days. We were not to speak of it so as not to upset him which made no sense to me since he would naturally be upset anyway. We were allowed to split up into groups and “discuss” what had happened to Travis and how we would help him when he returned to school.

During the discussion someone mentioned how sad it was that Travis was now an orphan. He would have to live with his grandmother. Thinking it true at the time, I mentioned that I too was an orphan and that it was great that he had grandparents to live with after losing his parents. Some of my classmates were surprised and asked me how my parents had died. I could only tell them that I didn’t know. “I never knew them,” I said. “How sad, ” said one of my classmates.

Upon hearing our discussion, my teacher interjected saying, “Yeah, but now she has new parents who love her.” All discussion ceased and we just kind of stared at her. She eventually moved to another group but the damage had already been done. None of us had much to say after that.

Reflecting back on the this, I’m filled with the desire to smack my former teacher upside the head and point out her insensitivity and the stupidity of her statement. Aside from totally dismissing my loss, she cut off all conversation that might have led to a productive discussion of loss, mourning and recovery. Others might have shared their own stories of loss whether it was about family members, pets, or whatever if she’d just kept her mouth shut.

Children, as well as adults can further their sense of compassion by relating their own experiences to those of their fellow human beings. It also a comfort knowing that you’re not alone in your situation or in how you feel about events in your life. It’s just how things work. My teacher had unwittingly interrupted that process.

Maybe that’s why I bristle at the thought of people trying to monitor, interrupt and direct adoptee discussions whether it’s on blogs, during camps or other get-togethers. It’s especially irritating when this happens during adult adoptee discussions but even children need room to talk amongst themselves.

I received an email from an adoptive parent who’d adopted two girls from China. One was reluctant to talk to her adoptive mother but would talk to her adopted sister. I didn’t know what to tell her other than my own opinion that she should just step back and let them talk. I didn’t think she should take it as a personal sign of rejection. Sometimes kids just need to talk with other kids who can relate, without fear of hurting feelings or making people angry. It’s not that she should completely ignore the situation but too much interference could begin to feel invasive only exacerbating her daughter’s silence.

One of my fears is that by reading our blogs, AP’s will become paranoid and feel the need to monitor and direct every moment of their adopted children’s lives. Horrible pictures come to mind of AP’s desperately grasping at and suffocating their adopted children, all the while wrapping them in specially fitted “Glad-wrap” bags. Ulgh.

The danger in not giving adoptee children or children in general some space is that it can create resentment driving a wedge between parents and their children. It’s like parenting in general and I’m speaking as a recovering control-freak when it comes to my kids. I’ve learned that there are times when I have to step out of the picture and just let them express and explore life and their feelings with their peers. I’m always glad when they choose to include me or ask my opinion, but I don’t feel the need anymore to constantly be “in their faces”.

I let try to let my kids know that I’m still there, always available but that they have room to grow and think for themselves as long as they’re responsible. Isn’t it every parents wish to have children who grow, learn to think for themselves and deal with life on their own? Anyway, I figure it’s better to step back a little now rather than waiting until they turn on you screaming, “Will you just back OFF!”

I still screw up but I’m slowly learning that parenting in general is all about balance and not about control. With room to breathe comes room to grow though there are days when I find myself turning blue from holding my breath.

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Ugh, I really need to fix that acronym…how about AVOID, Adopted Vietnamese of Inexplicit Disposition?

Kevin put up an interesting post about the presumption of white men that upon visiting a country and learning a few tidbits, they automatically become experts. They claim they are the inside authority on an entire country and its people and thus assume they are entitled to speak about and for a people. Of course, I had to post a rant comment. He asked me about strategies.

“I don’t have one,” I replied, “but…” I’m being such a dork by quoting myself, but it saves me time. I summed it all up by saying, “What else can be done? People will hear what they want, listen to whom they choose. At least there is a choice when everyone speaks.” That is pretty much the premise I follow in general.

As previously mentioned, I’ve been reluctant to speak about the KADs and the adoption ban because I felt it wasn’t my fight. I’m kind of the outsider here, not because the KADs I know make me feel that way, but because I’m not a KAD. I know next to nothing about Korea. It didn’t make much sense for me to go running off my mouth about something I knew so little about. Plus, I didn’t think I owed it to anyone to explain myself. I try to make my “stance” clear to those I think matter and leave it at that. Not that my opinion means much, but oh well, it makes things less complicated when the people closest to you know where you stand.

Blogging can become a trap between what you want to blog and what you need to blog. You blog something you want, then need to blog again to clarify so you’re not misunderstood. A person can become distracted from the real reasons they started blogging in the first place. If I explain, I’m trapping myself in a corner but if I don’t, people will assume. I’ll get shoved into the wrong corner. Corners suck. So screw it, here goes.

Aside from the underhanded play on KAD vs KAD, one of the things that I hate is this whole Angry KAD business. It’s an old strategy. Pit two sides against one another and while they’re busy bickering, make your move. In the end, both sides lose in one way or another which is sad.

What I see among the KADs who are fighting for this ban is a shared love and concern for Korea, its people and it’s future. Some people talk as if the KADs who support the ban are doing nothing more than projecting anger from their own adoption experience. That makes no sense whatsoever. People have even gone so far as to suggest they prefer poverty for a child over adoption. I have not heard ONE KAD say they wanted an orphan to stay in poverty or not have a family. When I read insinuations leading people to arrive to that conclusion, I get seriously pissed off. Who even thinks like that? Besides, what is it with this assumption that it’s either intercountry adoption or poverty?

From what I can see, they seem to be thinking of adoption and its ramifications from a long-term, socio-economic perspective. Cool, no band-aides. Personally, I think it’s a testament to their humanity that they care enough about Korea to want to change things for the better. Most of the KADs I know, are intelligent, out-of-the-box thinkers who should be heard instead of being dismissed and vilified.

All that being said, I think that many of the KADs who support the ban and those who don’t share one thing in common, their love for Korea and it’s people. I imagine if (some) adoption agencies and others (*cough who do have obvious agendas) kept their noses out of it, the KADs would come to a workable compromise on their own.

Call me idealistic but what I think people forget is that many of the KADs have rightfully re-claimed Korea as their own. This whole thing is about Korea and its people of which the Korean adoptees are a part. It’s theirs, pure and simple. (Some) AP’s and adoption agencies are always talking about how love, love, love is enough. Is their love for Korea not enough?

Please, mind your own business and I’ll go back to minding mine.

All that said, keep in mind that I don’t claim to know shit. It’s just my opinion. I speak for no one but myself. Do I really need to keep saying that?

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Need I say more?

Then again, interpretations may vary.

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The caption says, “I believe in child sacrifice… It’s how my mommy and daddy got me. Support Adoption.”

Do I really need to explain why this is so disgusting and insensitive? Did the creators of this little gem think of how a birth mother might feel upon seeing this? What about an adoptee who’s had to come to terms with all they’ve lost because of this “sacrifice”? Please tell me that I’m not the only one who sees the sicko factor of putting this on a child who’s “the object” of said sacrifice.

This shirt plays on the assumption that all babies are given up by birth mothers who were unwed, impoverished or otherwise “unfit” to care for their children. Wrong. The clueless creators of this one forgot the fact that some children loose their parents as the result of war or accidents. In some cases, birthparents were coerced or forced to give up their children. On top of all that, the flippant use of this slogan denigrates the very “sacrifice” that might have gotten them the child they so badly wanted.

Support adoption? *smack

Not for people who buy shirts like these.

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