I've come across so much insight and so many thoughtful explanations of people's positions within the realm of adoption. I think the one that stands out most for me right now is this:
There is no place for the word "just" in this discussion. As in, why don't you just..... you all know how this sentence ends.
To assume that putting together a family from the remnants of another, or to plan to expand your family by bringing in someone else's genetics or womb into the mix, or to work through how and when a birth family will interact with your new one....to assume that these things are easy or fast or simple decisions, ones done without nights awake and therapists or counselors on speed dial, simply discredits everyone involved. We should start a petition to ditch that word, at least from this conversation. Who's with me?
Things I think about every night:
Origin stories. How to answer the "where do I come from?" How to explain why mommy and daddy didn't just fall in love and have you in mommy's belly like every one else....how to accurately and honestly respond to these future questions, along with ones of identity and belonging and who are my people, and are you my real mommy or not? How to ensure my own baggage doesn't get in the way of my future child's....
But what parent doesn't have baggage?
And why do I assume my future child will have baggage?
Why do I anticipate this primal wound even though I am really unclear as to where that theory fits in situations that aren't black and white. What if there were my genetics, but not my womb? What if my genetics were missing, yet I carried a child in my body? What if, as Esperanza notes, all parties are present and there is nothing but love surrounding a child when they greet the world? Now, how about this one: not my eggs, not my womb, but I've been present from conception? Wishing it so, willing it so? Where will I fit into this situation?
Hopefully, we'll see.
All of this to say, as one of the other book reviewers already have, The Primal Wound is simply way too simplistic of a concept to be helpful. I want a new theory.
I also want to take this space to elaborate on some of the comments and questions that emerged from my responses to the book. I thought about continuing this conversation in the comments, because there is such a robust discussion there, but I'm terrified that blogger will zonk out on me mid-sentence, as it is want to do. So if I stop making sense, go there, read that first, then come on back.
Like Jennifer Lauck, adoption is not a path we have chosen to explore. Not yet. Unlike her, I can't say that we won't, because I've muttered those words about surrogacy. Things change. It is very very hard to say it's not a path you would pick for yourself if it becomes the only path that is available to the one thing you want and desire more than anything in the world - to be a mother.
I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement: " I equate being adopted to being a slave." Because all children, in one way or another, are "forced to perform for the emotional needs of our keepers." It is quite an enlightened parent that has no emotional need for their child, that doesn't rely on them to fill or complete something within them. As much as you want your child to be his or her own person, you also want them to want you, to love you, to need you on some levels. This is not slavery. This defines just about every human relationship that I know. We all have needs and we all strive to be the ones that fill those needs for others.
And speaking of relationships, here is something that has struck me:
Where is the father in this conversation? Why have we given no credence to the birth father? The adopted father?
In my personal experience, my birth father was rendered just as helpless, perhaps moreso, than my birth mother. He had no say over my fate. He was forbidden to see her, or me. He could have easily forgotten about this "phase" in his young life. But he was the one that marked my birthday on his calendar for 35 years. He is the one that wept uncontrollably at our reunion. He is the one, not my birth mother, that yearned to reconnect. Desperately. And I think his place in this story should be respected and recognized, and I think he has suffered immensely throughout his life because it never was.
I cannot imagine he is alone.
I'm signing off for today using Heather's words. And she has no idea how timely the second piece of it is since M and I were just debating if it is really ok to dislike a child and think they are an asshole (my opinion: yes. We can all blog about that one later). But here's how Heather sums things up:
I think both adoptive and biological families have an equal likelihood of being fucked up, and the level of fucked-upedness very much depends on how open and honest everyone is with each other. And even with complete open-ness and honesty, some people, even kids, can just be assholes and there isn't anything you can do to stop it.Can I get an Amen?
Thank you ALL for your respectful input into this conversation that I know is going to continue, as it should.