Thursday, 24 March 2011
The Knower of Hearts
Since we began our first adoption process, the initial reactions we have been met with, both those we love and those of strangers, have been wildly varied.
Everything from simple curiosity to genuine joy and happiness on our behalf to tentative, resigned acceptance to actual menacing and hostile harassment which I wrote about here for those of you who'd like to read something really crazy: strangers-on-plane.
When it comes to adoption, people want you to explain yourself. Some people want you to excuse yourself. To fall all over yourself saying you're sorry. Some people want to exult your decision to adopt into something almost saintly. Some people are genuinely happy and some are suspicious. Some, obviously insecure people, want to make sure you know that your choice to adopt is inferior to having biological children and some make subtle references to their idea that you will never be a real mother or father. Then again, some say you are even more of a mother or father for how hard you have fought for this child.
My point is, depending on who you talk to, it all varies. There are as many opinions on adoption as there are people. :)
I've been told I've had it so easy. "Imagine just hopping on a plane to a tropical country for a few weeks and coming home with a sweet baby! You sure chose the easy option!" and my mind wandered back through all the months of heartbreak, darkness, self-loathing, not leaving the house, all the prayers that felt like they were wrenched out of my gut, all the despair and thoughts of death, (that by this stage were healed by the joy of our little son in Sri Lanka whose picture I held clutched in my hand), and blinked and ignored the sharp, quick pain in my heart and smiled while my mind reeled from it all being dismissed so blithely. I wasn't offended. It just helped me realize that if you're counting on understanding from people, you are bound to be occasionally disappointed.
After all, who in the world understands adoption? Not a one, I imagine. Not the adoptive parents, not the biological mother, not the people in positions of power who decide a child's fate, no one.
Adoption is beyond comprehension. It has it's good sides and its bad. It has its stories of success and failure. It uproots a child and gives them new roots. Sometimes deep and secure ones. It binds and severs. It causes confusion. Heartbreak. Joy.
I think of this sometimes, maybe especially as we begin the process again. Also because I read a book a while back that said something to the effect of no one is able to understand a mother's love except a mother. A real mother. Not a step-mother or any other sort of mother. But a woman who has actually given birth.
I read that and while again, wasn't really offended as we are all entitled to our opinions, however stupid they may be, it reinforced my own belief that giving birth doesn't always make a mother. There are women who give birth who are incapable of loving a child, who abuse children, etc. Blood ties can certainly bind but they don't always. As for who is a "real" mother, I don't really think anyone can judge that.
As for me, I don't struggle with this question. I don't doubt I am a real mother. I am. No ones opinion can change that.
So as we embark on this second adoption, I think I will choose to remember that people can think whatever they like. When I want understanding, I'll take it to God. He understands what I can not.