May 12 2013

Click, It’s My Week: Adoption

Published by at 10:40 pm under Learn (Grown-Ups),Life

Rainbow

A very long time ago, before I was a mother or married or even dating anyone seriously, I had a recurring daydream. In it, there was a little girl next to me, and I couldn’t see it in the dream, but I knew we were meant to discover the world together. How we met, what we did, and where we lived, those questions weren’t answered in my daydream.

There was only one thing I knew for sure–the little girl next to me, she didn’t grow in my belly.

Maybe it’s wrong of me to call this a dream. After all, I never lusted after motherhood even after it became socially acceptable for me to be a mother. Perhaps it’d be more accurate if I referred to this as a vision.

Confession: Sometimes when I get sick and tired of the middle-class motherhood life I’ve found myself sucked into and all the things we continually fret about–milestones, our parenting “mistakes,” what this or that expert said, to work or stay home, domestic helper woes, playground/playgroup politics, the best brands, the right toys, and, particularly for us here in Singapore, the worthiest schools–I take off and immerse myself in a different world, one inhabited by adoptive parents. I’ve wept over “birth” stories, followed long waits, and tried to understand what attachment issues are, how they manifest themselves, and how they can result in the worst adoption outcome of all, disruption. (More adoption stories here and almost 50 more attachment-related stories here, if you’d like to read them too.)

Another confession: This may sound ridiculous coming from someone who only steps into church once a year, at Christmas, but I believe in God. Or at least I want to. And I believe he puts signs in our way and people in our path for a reason.

Recently I got to know a mother who runs a home in China for abandoned children with birth defects or lifelong health problems. We haven’t talked much about the home or the kids, but she sent me a link to a blog by a mother who’s adopted not one, but two kids from her home. The mom blogger seems like a private person so I’m hesitant to share the link here, but you can leave a message for me if you’d like to read it too.

In the past couple of days I’ve been learning new words like “exstrophy” and “colostomy.” I’ve been reading about what life is like when you have one child who toilets through bags, and another who needs a wheelchair, but is making remarkable progress towards walking independently. I’m reading about how baths for two can take up to two hours. I’m reading about hospital visits every month and near-death experiences. I’m reading about how grandparents feel when you announce these will be their new grandkids. I’m reading about kids who’re afraid they won’t see you again after their fourth birthday because they’ve already experienced so much loss in their short lives, and kids who’re afraid to tell you when they hurt and are even more fearful of what you might do to them when you discover they’ve puked on their clothes or wet the bed.

I started to ask myself if I could parent–or more specifically, love–a kid that was less than perfect on the surface. My honest answer? Not at once, but over time. Exactly the same way as it was for both my biological kids.

So yesterday I broached the subject with my husband, who like me views parenthood as a responsibility, not a fantasy. This is the guy who has flinched whenever I’ve brought up the subject of adoption. “We didn’t even want to be parents in the first place! Let’s just raise these two kids well and get our lives back!” I casually told him about how, if he made good money off his real estate career, we could consider adopting a “waiting child.”

Shockingly, my husband said yes.

Later in the evening, I headed out for my daily park walk with Z and spotted the faintest rainbow. I haven’t seen a rainbow in years.

Right now, it’s an idea and nothing more. We barely have enough money for ourselves, so I’m going to let this idea simmer. But you know what? I’m more than a tiny bit excited about the possibility of expanding our family in this way. We can make room for one more. Alf and I are no dream couple and there’s no guarantee we’ll even pass a home study, but we want the same things deep down and we can get on the same team to make something happen. I know we’ll falter and wonder to ourselves why we got into this in the first place. And I know we can count on our community to support us when we most need it, because we’ve always been surrounded by love.

Now let me tell you this, I’m not noble and I’m not trying to fake it either. I’m not as strong as I’d like to be, physically or emotionally. I don’t think of myself as maternal and on some days I’m as good as rubbish with my two kids, who’re as healthy as can be. But what I think I am is a little bit crazy, because a voice in my head is starting to say, “You can do this.” This, meaning plunge into a world of parenting with no guarantees for a child’s health, her future, our finances, how she’ll fit into the family, if she can love us in the way we expect to be loved, if we can love her the way she deserves. So many uncertainties. It’s almost liberating, because I think we bog down typical (i.e. biological) parenthood with our expectations.

The only reason I’m posting this is so that if you’ve had a voice in your head about adoption too, you’ll have some links to click on today. Maybe it’ll be your “sign.”

Happy Mother’s Day. :)

p.s. I haven’t checked the paper yet, but a girlfriend told me there’s a major feature about adoption today!

  • 7 responses so far

    7 Responses to “Click, It’s My Week: Adoption”

    1. Homeschool@sgon 13 May 2013 at 9:56 am

      Thanks! I’ve been reading oak tree baby’s series on adoption and it had stirred something in me that I have always wanted to do- adopt a 3rd child. Yes, I’ve 2 kids on my own so why do I want to adopt? I just feel so sorry that these kid’s were born only to be put up for adoption. Its like that their lives are off to a wrong start the very day they were born. I feel so much for these kids that I want to adopt one to change that kid’s life, give him/her what is essential- love & acceptance. I’m not noble either. In fact, while this is on my heart, I’m too timid to put it into reality. My husband is very against it- think he’s still very old school when it comes to this. The other way is to volunteer myself to orphanages, thats my other wish. But that’s gotta wait for my own kids to be older- also by then I can lug them along! :p

      [Reply]

      Evelyn Reply:

      Heyya! I didn’t know Sharon was running an adoption series on her blog; will check it out!

      This is a good link, beautifully written, very real stories from a mom who adopted two, and had to give up one.

      http://anymommyoutthere.com/adoption

      I was reading this last night, which made me think (again) about my own motivations:

      “A desire to make the world a better place or to save a child are the worst possible reasons to adopt. The very first thing our social worker explored when we began the adoption process was our motivations for adopting. She explained why guilt and social consciousness are poor reasons to bring a child into your home and often lead to misconceptions and problems later on the adoption road. The first and foremost reason for adopting should always be that a family wants a child, not a perfect doll, not a social statement, a child.

      Guilt and altruism do not sustain families through tough times with children. They do not bond parents to children with serious trauma in their histories, anger behaviors, post-institutionalized behaviors and attachment difficulties. Outside of private, newborn adoptions (which are a very, very small proportion of children available for adoption), these are real possibilities for adopted children. Not usually, but often enough. Concern about the injustices of the world and saving children who need homes are reasons to support UNICEF, Save the Children, an orphanage abroad, or possibly explore ways to support the foster care system. They are not reasons to bring a child into a family.”

      http://anymommyoutthere.com/2008/07/response-letter-to-sally-lee-of-parents.html

      Let’s keep reading and supporting each other through this. :)

      [Reply]

    2. Homeschoolsgon 13 May 2013 at 11:08 pm

      Oh wow! What a change of perspective! And I thought otherwise! Thanks for sharing!

      [Reply]

    3. Gayathrion 20 May 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Oh evelyn I really wish i could think like you

      [Reply]

      Evelyn Reply:

      You’re perfect as you are. :) It’s really only just an idea on our end!

      [Reply]

    4. Faithon 19 Jun 2013 at 10:39 pm

      Hi,

      I chanced upon your blog while reading blogs by Singaporean mothers. I’m a Singaporean who is currently working in Hong Kong. We have been here for about 7 years. When we moved to Hong Kong, we knew that God had a purpose for us in HK but we weren’t sure what. But over time, we knew that God wanted us to adopt. So we started the process of adopting. Sure, we met with naysayers from our families and friends. People would ask why not have biological kids or have you seen doctors? The truth is that we knew it in our hearts that God wanted us to adopt and we didn’t even try to make our own. After being in Hong Kong for about 3 years, 2 days before Christmas, we received the best gift. We were matched with our son on 23rd December, 2010. This is shortly after our 8th wedding anniversary. We adopted because we knew that God wanted us to do it. And we’ve been totally blessed with Josias. And if you know that that’s what God’s leading you to do it. Go with it. He will undo those obstacles in your way.

      [Reply]

      Evelyn Reply:

      Dear Faith, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story, and for your encouraging words! I am so touched.

      Am a bit at a loss for words now ‘coz I’ve popped an allergy pill to deal with the haze and it’s about to put me to sleep. But I’m heading over to your page to read your Mother’s day story. :)

      [Reply]

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