Monday, August 07, 2006

Thoughts on adoption

I'm so excited that I'm starting to get people reading my Blog. I'm even more excited about the comments people are leaving. I can't tell you how much that means to me. I love that it makes me want to write more, and to write about something with substance, not just the day to day drivel of my life.

So lets talk more about adoption. I think I've posted the link to our adoption story here before, but I'll have to check later. If not I'll post tomorrow when I'm at my regular computer and can find it. I think that's the best way to understand my feelings and excitement as we went through it.

Tonight though I want to talk about what is real. My love for The Boy is real. He IS my son. From the first time I held him in my arms I knew it. I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. In fact, this Friday is the anniversary of his adoption three years ago. His third "gotcha day." I don't even want to think about what our life would be like without him.

I always knew that I could love a child no matter how they came in to my life. A year or so before I met my husband I dated a man with two children that he had full custody of. I loved those kids. Even nine years later I still think of them, and worry about them. The situation they were in was not ideal, and I think that I dated their father more to be with them, than for any true interest in him. It ended up he lied to me about many things, then cheated on me. When we ended the relationship he punished me by not letting me see the kids any more. In retrospect I think it was better for all of us. But, what would have been best was for me not to get involved with those kids before I knew how I felt about their dad. But, that's another topic.

What I'm trying to say is that past experience showed me I could love, and love deeply, a child that I did not give birth to. Once we decided to stop IF treatments and start the process to adopt a child from Russia, it was an immense sense of relief, and of "rightness." I can't remember having a single bit of doubt about my ability to love. I also entered in to the process believing that the right child would come to us at the right time. It was absolutely true! There has not been a moment that I have regretted how The Boy came to be our son.

While in Russia doing all the elgal stuff and going to court, I tried to find a way to contact TB's birth mother. I wanted her to know that TB was safe and going to be in a loving family, who wanted him more than anything. I had great compassion for this woman Tatiana. I knew very little about her situation, other than what she said in her relinquishment letter. According to the letter her family did not know of her pregnancy, and neither did the child's father. We were strongly discouraged by our Russian facilitators and the "social worker" about attempting any contact. In fact, I remember having the distinct feeling that they were figuratively patting me on the head and thinking, aww, what a cute girl, but so misguided.

The need to let Tatiana know her child was ok, and the desire to have more information, to be able to tell TB when he asked, never left me. When the opportunity to search for her came about, I knew I wanted to do it. It took longer to get TB on board, but he finally did. That was over a year ago, and now, finally, I have some contact with the family.

It turns out Tatiana's father knew about TB, and he was very upset to find out he had a grandson that had been given up. Apparently he had the opportunity to go get TB from the orphanage, but didn't. He also hasn't seen Tatiana in the last three years, since shortly after TB was born. Tatiana has since married and given birth to a little girl, who is 11 months younger than TB. Her father has never seen this grandchild. He has another granddaughter from his divorced son, that he has seen only once. Yet in the video that was taken of his interview, he speaks of the importance of family and seems genuinely upset that he does not see his children any more. He was clearly emotional when he read the letter we wrote to Tatiana and when he saw TB's picture. He has asked to hear more about TB and has said he will write back.

We will keep in contract with him and send pictures. It sounds to me like he will have more information about his grandchild, who is no longer "legally" part of him, than his own children's children. I'm sad for him, and happy that I can provide him with some contact. I hope that through him we can find out more about Tatiana, and eventually TB's birth father,but even if we don't, TB has another grandfather and has a concrete link to his Russian heritage.

We never even considered keeping his adoption a secret. I don't even know how you could do that these days? Besides, we want TB to be proud of his Russian heritage. We will support him in any way we can, if he chooses to learn more. I hope that some day we can go back and visit with him.

All that being said, I still feel somewhat uncomfortable calling Tatiana Mom. Short of her pregnancy and giving birth, and the fact that she wrote a letter to officially relinquish him, what has she done that is in any way "mom" like? This was not a woman who was coerced in to giving birth or in to giving up her child. She did not make a "birth plan." There was no guarantee for her that her son would be adopted by anyone. She left him in a hospital to languish for the first three months of his life. He was "failure to thrive" during that time. If he hadn't been moved to the orphanage, I don't know if he would have made it. And the conditions of the orphanage weren't all that great either, but at least they fed him. The fact that he has so many sensory issues and attachment issue is quite telling that he didn't get much stimulation in he orphanage, and likely even less in the hospital. Any love didn't happen until he was with us.

The story that Alexei tells of his daughter is not pretty. He talks of her hobby being the search for a prince. Someone to take care of her. She moved to Moscow to find that man. He thinks that her pregnancy was to try and trap TB's birth father. The fact that she married and had another child so soon after TB's birth is very telling.

I think I've gone on a bit of a tangent here I think. And a storm is approaching quickly, so I had better sign off for now. Hopefully more soon.

1 comment:

  1. I completely understand why you don't want to call her Mom. My daughter was adopted from foster care. I could write a novel about all the bad/wrong/neglectful things she did.

    I guess the reason I don't have a problem calling her the "birthmom" or "biological mom" is because I truly believe that when you shame the mother you shame the child. No matter how much I don't like it, my daughter shares the same blood as her birthmom and I feel that if I somehow diminished that role, I would be putting my daughter down. Does that make sense? They are still biologically connected and I wouldn't want her to think that she was somehow flawed because her mother was.

    Anyway, I'm glad I found your blog. I can tell how much you love your son and that you truly want to do the right things for him. It's great to see.