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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.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

People Who... Talk About Other People

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss other people.
" -Eleanor Roosevelt

There is almost nothing I find so tiresome as listening to someone talk about another person. It isn't engaging. It isn't enlightening or attractive. It isn't interesting.

It shows no imagination. No wit. As the above quote says, all it takes to discuss other people is a very small mind.

I don't trust people who continually talk about other people. Even if it isn't outright slander or gossip, I still find it terribly indiscreet to divulge the small details of another persons life to others as though one had the right. Why bother?

It makes me tired. Bored. Silent.

Talk to me about yourself. Tell me what you hope for. Your dreams, your disappointments. Tell me about your childhood, your travels. What you love and hate. What fascinates you. Tell me silly stories, things you've done that make you laugh, times you shocked yourself. Tell me what sort of food you like. Where you go shopping.

Talk to me about religion. Faith. Lack of faith. Talk to me about art and beauty. Chaos and despair. Talk to me about mysteries, the world, science.

Share your own opinions with me. I might not agree with you but I am not threatened by that.

Talk to me honestly, openly. Communicate with me.

So tell me about yourself. The only person you have a right to talk about.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

William's Smile

Your smile.
I love your smile.
It knocks me out.

Sometimes I try not to smile when you do.
Not to laugh when I hear you laugh.
But it never works.

It's innocence.
Fresh. Powerful. Infinite innocence.
Like play and hope and spring sunshine.
Like dreams
It's a certain breathless fear and the all the far, far future smiling back at me.

It's love, that smile.

Ease. Mischief. Movement.

A privilege:

To sit on a cold beach in harsh sunlight.
Watching you watch the sand thread through your fingers.
And you smile.
I think: this is the brightest gift.
The best thing
Anybody has ever given me.

It's wonder at this moment.
Laughter the next.

And your laughter:

Some days it follows me
A breeze of joy or a wild wind. Whipping around the house.

Later I gently pour water over your head in the bathtub and you laugh
So hard
It sounds like you're crying.

I look at your wet hair clinging to the back of your chubby neck.
Bent over a toy in the water.

And I feel vulnerable.
Like anything that hurt you would tear right through me too.

Suddenly you don't look as strong as your smile.
Or the sound of your laughter.

Will you be alright someday out there in that big, big, crumbling world?

It alarms me.
The idea that you might not be greeted with love everywhere you go.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Suicide of the Young

Carefully fitting small, uneven pieces together,
A mosaic that whispers of raw secret beauty stretches in scarlet and shadow
Across the soul of the sky.
Fading into paleness, disappearing into the unacknowledged
Without so much as a hint of complaint or a cry.

You have caught the light.
Taken my laughter, peace, certainty.
All that was rightfully mine.
All I would have given you willingly,
If you had only given me time.

You have caught the light, and still, appear unmoved.
Lost in a silence so deep and resonating.
Standing draped in solitude.
But you can not be unmoved.
I can not believe you are.
Because I see the changing depth of color
Pouring from infinite skies.
I see the way it floods over you,
Seeps into you,
Then spills out of your clear eyes.

I count the passing moments.
As I will count each coming, quiet hour
Until I am able to admit to myself
That all I would die to make better for you will always be beyond my power.

How certain things become treasures -
When etched in the brilliance of loss and pain.
My heart fills and shatters with the knowledge of smiles that will never be directed my way again.

And trust.
And loyalty.
That always simply were,
Only that the words so rarely passed my lips
That no clear echoes remain.
No tangible proof they existed
Therefore, nowhere to place any blame.

You must not have seen…
You’re beautiful.
You must not have seen…
You’re precious…

But that is because this world lacks in love and in grace.
I wish we could have protected you
Linked arms and gathered around you,
Somehow kept you in this place.

 April 2005