Thursday, July 8, 2010

The sole trauma is the loss that occurs BEFORE adoption, but the practice of adoption itself causes no pain?

It has come up in discussion among fellow adoptees that adoptive parents sometimes come to the conclusion that adoption is NOT the trauma, but rather the sole trauma is the loss that occurs before the adoption ever happens. This assumption asserts that the event of adoption itself does not come with any additional trauma or loss, but rather presumes that adoption is only about healing, attachment, and the 'new, better life' that starts at adoption.

I know not all adoptive parents share this perspective, but I believe it is a common misconception that needs to be addressed. I personally have encountered this perspective over the years. Furthermore, after having recently viewed the film by Barb Lee, "Adopted," that in part documented a couple adopting from China, I am even more compelled to discuss the misconception that the only trauma and loss that takes place is before the adoption. (I highly recommend viewing this film, if you have not already. It is available through Netflix.)

In the film, the couple seems to acknowledge the grief of their adopted daughter but only superficially and short-term. They literally say in the movie that they believe she did most of her grieving in China. They acknowledge that perhaps one day further issues may arise, but they treat such a possibility as an improbability. It becomes clear, in my small opinion, that they become comfortable and complacent, convinced that their daughter (at the age of two) has fully adjusted and completed her grieving process.

As an adult adoptee, I honestly balk at any such notion. I don't mean that disrespectfully, just honestly. How in the world can we think that a two-year old, or a fifty year old for that matter, has fully processed the loss of everything she knows in a matter of days?! Regardless of age, the grieving process isn't something humans wrap up in a few days or even a few months, particularly when such deep, chasmic losses and trauma occur.

* * *

So, for the record, adoption IS part of the trauma. Although the initial loss of one's biological mother that takes place before the adoption is of course traumatic for the infant or child involved, after that initial loss also come the losses and trauma of being adopted.

How does the act or practice of adoption bring trauma and loss?

Let me begin with a comparison first. For instance, say a newborn infant's mother dies in a car accident. This is traumatic and tragic, no doubt. For the sake of comparison, let's say that in this case the father remains living and the infant remains in the care of her biological father and family. She is not adopted out, but is able to remain not only with her biological family but also within her country and people of origin, able to retain all that comes with that--language, culture, food, etc. As she grows up she is able to maintain connection with her biological relatives, and hence can indirectly maintain a connection to her biological mother through these relatives and their memories of her mother.

Understand that I am not saying that the trauma of losing one's mother is any less because the child is able to remain with her biological family and country and people of origin. That would be ludicrous. The loss of the child's mother will have profound effects on her life. The fact that the child is able to remain with her family and country does not somehow nullify the loss of her biological mother. It simply ensures, all other factors stable, that she will maintain relationships with her biological origins and grow up in a community to which she can (generally) relate. But as stated, I emphasize this factor simply for the sake of comparison.

Now, imagine that same child, but instead of being able to remain with her biological family and origins, the father and family decide that they are unable to care for her and relinquish her to be adopted. After several months or years pass in either a foster home or orphanage, the child is then adopted out, but not within that same country, rather to a foreign country. Not only does she lose her biological parents and family, but by being adopted out to a foreign country, she loses her origins, her language, her people, her culture, the person she would have been had she been able to remain--basically, she loses everything.

Upon arrival in the foreign country among a new and foreign family, she must adapt and adjust to foreign people, sounds, smells, foods, and ways (for further reading I recommend the adult adoptee memoirs, "A Single Square Picture" and "Trail of Crumbs"). Furthermore, as the child ages, she also faces prejudice, discrimination, teasing, bullying, isolation, alienation, and so forth as a result of her differing physical appearance from those that inhabit the community within which she is now expected to assimilate seamlessly.

These are stresses, traumas, losses--whatever you choose to label them--that occur as a direct result of being adopted, or as I often refer to as direct result of being transplanted or displaced. According to my experience, these words more accurately identify and characterize what practically and realistically happens to a person who is adopted internationally.*

As the couple featured in "Adopted" demonstrated, it's very easy to grow complacent and comfortable. It's easy to look at one's adopted daughter or son smiling and laughing, and think that they're done grieving. It's more comforting to believe that now that they're in your home, a part of your family, they're safe now. They're protected. The loss and trauma are in the past, and now they're on their way to a "new, better life."

But the truth is that I wasn't safe once I arrived in America. I wasn't protected once I arrived in America. And I certainly was not done grieving once I arrived with my new family. And although I fully acknowledge that I have lived an incredible life full of love and hope, I am still dealing with the loss and trauma that I endured not only before I was adopted but that which I endured and continue to endure after I was adopted.

I don't point a bitter finger at any single individual. It's more complicated than that, and that's also not the point of this blog--to place blame.

When I say I wasn't safe or protected once I arrived in America, it's not to say that I did not have a loving family that wanted to provide a safe, protective environment for me (unfortunately, there are adoptees who cannot say the same). It means that even though I had a loving family, even though I had a family that wanted to protect me, that love could not fully protect me or keep me safe from the racism and bigotry or the sense of isolation and alienation I would soon begin to face.

As a little girl, I was affectionate, happy, and compliant (generally-speaking, of course...*smilewink*). But once I had to venture beyond the walls of home and family to school and the often cruel, unfiltered world, there were realities I had to face for which my parents and family had not prepared me, because they had no awareness of the consequences that would ensue as a result of being adopted.

Parents must be willing to acknowledge and accept that there are traumas and losses that occur post-adoption. They have to be willing to anticipate that such things are going to happen--and that when they do happen, they are traumatic to the adopted person's sense of family, sense of community, and sense of self.

Furthermore, adoptees face not only losing our origins, but in addition we face losing that "new, better life" that adoption is presumed to bring, without adulteration. Losing one's origins and then subsequently facing rejection and alienation among those who are now supposed to be "our new people" is nothing to brush away or ignore. It's not that the new life we have cannot be good, but it certainly is not free from consequence and further pain and suffering.

What I mean is this: Not only had I already faced the rejection of my own biological family and people of origin, I now faced the rejection of those among whom I was expected to assimilate and embrace--and consequently, a sense of complete and utter displacement. More often than not, though, it is a silent suffering, because we are expected to move on and heal. We are expected to be done with any grief or sorrow, because of the "new, better life" we have been given. We are expected to somehow ignore the sense of isolation and displacement we feel because the "new, better life" we have received is expected to cancel out or undo these "negative" albeit valid emotions and experiences.

And yet another loss--we lose even the ability to grieve, not only the loss of our biological origins but also the pain of being rejected, ridiculed, marginalized, treated as though we do not belong, as though we are somehow less than those around us. So, we adapt. We adjust--so that we can survive.*

* * *

Please, don't place yet another burden on your children by teaching them with your assumptions that you know their grief better than they do. Don't trap them even more deeply within isolation and displacement by presuming that the only trauma, the only consequences they will suffer are those that occurred before they ever knew you.

Don't try to write their stories for them before they've had the chance to live them. I know parents want to protect their children from pain and grief, but in doing so, we often end up hurting them more than protecting them, because in doing so we fail to see the grief and pain that is already there and that which will inevitably come.

Fear often results in that which it attempts to avoid. You want to be close to your adopted children. You want them to feel connected to you, but how can they if you deny such crucial and valid parts of their life experience and who they are? As a parent so insightfully stated, "I think I'm more likely to 'lose her' if I don't accept her feelings about her Chinese family" (Thank you, Sharie).

In wanting my American family to acknowledge and embrace my Korean origins as well as the truth that being adopted has come with profound pain and hurt, I am not trying to place blame or pull away--rather it is quite the opposite. I am trying to heal. I am trying to draw near. I am trying to be a whole and active part of my entire family, of all those I love and to whom I am connected. In reaching out, asking for my pain and hurt to be acknowledged, I am not trying to withhold my heart, I am actually wanting to give all of my heart, all of myself to all of my family. This is nothing to fear.

Listen to us--the adult adoptees--who are here, who only wish to help. Adoption is a trauma in and of itself. The pain and suffering we experience as a result of being adopted are just as valid as the losses we experience before we are adopted.* Ignoring this truth will only further hurt an adopted person and strain the pertaining relationship, especially between child and parent.

We share these things not to threaten or attack. As a fellow adoptee has said before, we hope by sharing our pain that we can therefore help to ease the pain of those after us, and if not ease the pain, then at least help fellow adoptees and those in their lives to validate and understand it.

_______________


*Note: I would like to acknowledge that previously, similarities have been drawn between immigrants and adoptees regarding the experience of being transplanted or displaced. I have had several friends over the years who originally immigrated with their families to the States from countries including Korea, Iran, and Swaziland. In many ways, we have been able to relate to one another regarding the experiences of racism or prejudice and the lack of knowledge of our original cultures, languages, foods, etc.

I will mention, however, that the primary difference I have observed between my friends and myself is that in general when families immigrate together the children can remain part of a unit that validates who they are. For instance, they may receive ridicule at school for their accent or different appearance, but they are able to return home to a family who is able to counteract such teasing and validate their self-image, not simply with words, but in a very real, tangible way--they can observe their family members and recognize people who literally look and behave just like them. Of course, there are always exceptions as with anything, but that is not the point of this post. I simply wanted to acknowledge the similarities again for comparison and perhaps as an example to which others may be able to relate.

*Note: Now, of course, people face rejection in all kinds of ways. I'm not playing the violin here. It's simply that this blog focuses on discussing adoption and in particular adoption from an adult adoptee's experience. Although I am aware of the myriad of social injustices and causes out there that many would deem much more significant and tragic, I am not trying to win a competition, just hoping to educate and serve those connected to adoption. Why do I constantly feel the need to add disclaimers and justifications for why it's acceptable for me to address adoption issues? Alas, that's a whole other blog post...

*Note: Let it also be noted that this blog entry does not even begin to address all the unethical events and malpractices that surround the practice of adoption. I write specifically about the individual adoptee experience more than I address the flaws and defects of the system as a whole. But if you really want to get into the actual practice of adoption--all the trauma, pain, and suffering that occur collectively--one cannot deny that the practice of adoption can and does result in the hurt, abuse, and neglect of more children and families than most like to admit. For as much good as adoption may do, there is also much harm unfortunately, that accompanies it. While there are people and groups addressing these atrocities and malpractices, there is a side to adoption that is often ignored and swept under the rug...


* * *

Further reading: "Anything Negative is Merely a Life Lesson" by blogger Mei-Ling

(I recommend reading this if you wrestle with the assumption that all adoptees who examine their adoption experiences beyond "the happy, grateful" expectation or exterior are automatically ungrateful and unloving toward their adoptive families, or if you tend to think that adoption is a "good lesson" for all the world to embrace.)



25 comments:

Von said...

Adoption is a trauma for adoptees and continues to be so however much they are loved and cared for.It doesn't end with the death of adopters either when adoptees become senior adoptees.It's a life sentence.

Sandy said...

Melissa,

I hope you publish all your posts in book one day that adoption agencies make required reading and several pop quizzes to ensure they read...

I do get that adoptive parents want to believe that the trauma happens before adoption because it gives there soul an out. But the act of adoption in and of itself is the death knoll that there is no going back, that no one in your family will fight for you against all odds and that finally you really truly have been given away and no one can ever answer the question of why did you not fight for me? How could it not trauma the severing of who you are and creating a who you will be?

I cannot even begin to put myself in your shoes as I was domestic living white in a white family. But many feelings still are the same but not compounded by the added layers must be a lesser degree but the grief is still there.

For someone to really believe that the trauma occurred before adoption and at age 2 it is all done...the child does not even have the mental or verbal capacities to find the words for the feelings deep inside. They will learn or the child will learn the parents only want the happy parts and show them only that. Sad when only the good parts are allowed - no one to help or talk to along the way.

Keep writing - you are doing so much good.

k said...

i second sandy, i hope you're already working on that book.

i have often said, in posts, to family/friends- i did not adopt only a daughter, but her history, her culture, her heritage, her grief. i adopted all that she came with and all that has been taken from her. i will never understand this mentality that adoption is like a bandaid on those primal wounds of the loss of first parents, and subsequently, the loss of caregivers, country, language, culture.

and i'd be foolish to believe that those losses have been magically healed because she is now a part of our family.

Jessica said...

I think the movie "Adopted" is great. I too wondered about the family going through adoption in the present. I think they were naive, but the supplemental materials along with the DVD apparently (I haven't seen them, but others I trust tell me so) shows that the family has since the filming learned a great deal. I can understand where they were, because I was there at one point. I have since educated myself considerably and understand from wonderful people like you that adoption grief and loss are real and potentially life long concepts our child will have to grapple with.

Like the others have said, great post Melissa. I learn more every time I read your thoughts and ideas. I wish that our abysmal adoption training would have covered these issues in greater detail (not necessarily for my sake because I eventually sought them out on my own, but for others that are less motivated).

The Byrd's Nest said...

I watch my girls, deal with the trauma in their lives on a daily basis. It is not something that comes...and goes. I read this once in an attachment book "When a child loses their parent before the age of 6-the loss of the child parent is a loss of part of the child's perception of herself" So true...so true

Thank you for always being truthful and sharing your feelings

Melissa said...

Thanks all for your comments.

I'm not sure if the point I was trying to make got across in this post...? But oh well, all I can do is try...

Just a reiteration: As Von stated, "Adoption is a trauma for adoptees and continues to be so however much they are loved and cared for."

By this, we mean that not only is the loss of one's biological origins profound, but furthermore that the practice of adoption itself causes difficulties for adoptees.

The point is not only to understand the loss of the biological mother & origins, but also that "Parents must be willing to acknowledge and accept that there are traumas and losses that occur post-adoption," in addition to the losses of origin.

In much simpler terms, as a transracial, international adoptee, I have also experienced, as a result of adoption itself, the additional rejection, grief, and pain of racism, bigotry, marginalization, alienation, ridicule, discrimination, etc. not only from my so-called "fellow Americans" but also from Korean-Americans and native Koreans. Loss upon loss.

hardingswing said...

Loved this post. May I link on facebook?

Melissa said...

"hardingswing," yes, please, feel free to link. And thank you for stopping by and taking the time to help educate others.

hardingswing said...

Thanks. I also linked you on my new blog.

Lavonne said...

i love this post. thank you. i am conversing with a prospective adoptive parent about this very idea and i will definitely pass this along. i will also link to this on my blog.

Mia_h_n said...

Great post, Melissa. Well written, as usual, but also a very impotant and educatinal topic. I also believe it's a very common way of (choosing to) view the process of adoption; as one big eraser.

Children are not supposed to love anybody as much or even more than their parents: And a parent is someone who raises and (hopefully) loves a child and are there on a daily basis, not someone who gave set child away maybe decades ago and haven't had contact ever since.

So I think the idea that their child may as connected to someone else as to them scare many APs, and so they will try to simplify. Things are usually easier to trust and manage if they are uncomplicated...I can completely relate to wanting things to be less complicated and hard, but in my opinion it's naive to think they are.

Melissa said...

Mia, a very insightful metaphor..."I also believe it's a very common way of (choosing to) view the process of adoption as one big eraser."

Quite honestly, there are times I wish such were true. But as you stated, although it would make things a lot less complicated, it is naive and lacking in truth...

eastiopians said...

This is such an incredibly, well written and though provoking post. Thank you so much. I would like to link to it from my blog. I am hoping that a few adoptive families that I know, who need to read this (although we all do, no doubt), will read it.

Theresa

Melissa said...

Theresa, thanks for taking the time to read it. Please feel free to link to it.

Shari U said...

This is by far the best blog post I've ever read on adoption. Thank you so much for your words, your honesty and for trying to help adoptive parents be better parents. It's been 6 1/2 years since we adopted our daughter from China. It's been such a journey and I never would have dreamed that my thoughts, feelings and my knowledge would have changed so much in such a short period of time. Initially I had no idea that the adoption WAS part of the trauma, but I very quickly learned that my poor baby was so terrified and traumatized when we came and took her away from all she knew. It broke my heart to see her pain and I'll do anything to help her become a happy, healthy and well adjusted human being. I'm so thankful to those of you who are willing to share your experience with adoptive parents. I know there are lots of people who can't hear what you're saying, but keep saying it cause some of us are listening and learning. Thank you!

Melissa said...

Shari U, thank you for being willing to listen & for being willing to allow your view to metamorphose and adjust as you learn more...

Julia said...

Melissa,
Could I ask you to clarify something?

I get that you were making a larger point about adoption and trauma, but I wanted to ask a little more about the particular initial trauma of being separated, first from birth family, and then from foster family and birth culture. In addition to changing her thinking about long-term adjustment and trauma, is there anything that you thought the AP in Adopted should have been doing differently?

I ask because I am the mother of a 3-year-old adopted from Ethiopia at 9 months. I know that he has grief in there somewhere, but it's challenging to know how to respond/make room for grief that doesn't get expressed in a way that I can clearly recognize.(That is, by all appearances he is happy and well-adjusted.) I'll see glimpses of it at moments, like in his fascination for a book about a mother hippo and baby hippo who get separated. And we talk about how the baby hippo is sad, etc. But I guess I'm asking if there's anything more intentional I should be doing--other than giving him freedom to express his feelings and validating them--so that I don't ignore the grief/trauma, or somehow make him believe that only happiness is acceptable?

I appreciate any thoughts you have. Thanks so much for this post. I've learned a great deal.

Melissa said...

Julia, thanks for your inquiry. I think different adoptees would respond to your question with various recommendations.

The key to me, as you already noted, is to be psychologically aware that the trauma carries not only long-term consequences that take a lifetime to process, but that difficulty occurs as a result of adoption, particularly intercountry/transracial adoption. If the thinking & awareness are there, then the needed actions will most likely follow.

Practicals are always hard because it is true that every adoptee is so different in personality, temperament, etc.

Some adoptees would say that you should use the hippo story to draw your son out even more, by asking him things like, "Why do you like this story so much?" or "Why do you think the baby hippo is sad?" or "Do you sometimes feel like the baby hippo?" and so forth.

Honestly, sometimes, I just don't know what is best because every child is so different personality-wise and developmentally. There are some children who are incredibly mature & precocious who benefit from digging more deeply & there are some who are not quite ready to "go there."

Some would advise you that your son is too young, others would say an adoptee is never too young, but that it depends more on their maturity level.

It would seem that parents can usually discern what is appropriate as long as they are open and aware. As long as there minds are open and they're not allowing their own biases, presumptions, or desires to get in the way, they are able to discern what the child is REALLY saying.

I personally, being a deeply emotional child, probably would have benefited from being drawn out more, but who knows really...hindsight is not always 20/20.

You know your son and should be able to discern what he is really saying and looking for most of the time. But we all make mistakes, too, and the key is simply to admit to them when we make them and do what we can to change.

My husband & I have a young adoptee with whom we're close, and although she is generally a very happy, giving child, she demonstrates clear signs of grieving and processing. We do our best to listen and make her feel comfortable, while noting that as she matures these issues will not disappear but will emerge in even more articulated and self-aware ways. And when they do, we are ready to be there for her.

I was perturbed by the couple in "Adopted" simply because they made the inaccurate assumption that their 2-year old daughter had completed her grieving process in China! (I've heard that the couple has since grown in their thinking to realize that the grief associated with adoption is long-term.)

And again, the main point of this post is to communicate that the trauma associated with adoption is not only that trauma which happens before the adoption (losing one's biological family) nor is it only the trauma of losing one's entire origins, but as a result of adoption particularly transracially & internationally it is also the trauma of spending a lifetime among people who look nothing like you do & the repercussions of such circumstances.

I think it's easy for folks to underestimate how damaging it can be to one's identity and sense of community & family when physical differences are so obvious. Because we look differently, we are treated differently, and we receive a lot of conflicting and contradictory messages. The idea of "color blindness" is an illusion that a lot of families entertain to make themselves feel better, while in the meantime, the adoptees are dealing with the realities of a community that never lets us forget how differently it view us.

I kind of rambled off on some tangents. I tried to answer your question as best as I know how. Maybe some other adoptees will pitch in their opinions, too...

Thanks again for stopping by...

Julia said...

Melissa,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a long response.

I may have to print this out and put it on my bathroom mirror:
"We do our best to listen and make her feel comfortable, while noting that as she matures these issues will not disappear but will emerge in even more articulated and self-aware ways."

I think this is the piece that I have only started to really "get" recently.

And I agree that it's easy to minimize the pain of being the conspicuous one in a family that doesn't match.

EK said...

Hi Melissa,
I am a new reader to your blog and am enjoying your posts. Thanks for sharing. I want to comment on this post because it's something I've been wondering about for a little while now. My husband and I are Korean-Americans (non-adoptees) who are in the process of adopting from Korea. I feel you have answered the post well from a TRA perspective (which is perfectly valid since that is your experience), but I still am trying to grasp what is the trauma in just adoption itself (without transracial or transcultural issues, etc.) assuming the child is placed in a loving, healthy home, the process was not corrupt (e.g. "black market" babies), and the relinquishment was intentional and permanent. I would appreciate if you shared your thoughts on this. Thanks!

Melissa said...

EK, thanks for stopping by...

I'm going to suggest some additional posts for you to read, if you have not already:

"Adopted as an Infant," "A Parent Asks me about Gotcha Day," "What not to say to an adoptee," "I didn't search because I was looking for a new family," "Why Adoption Hurts," "A Common Misassumption," "Adoption loss is a myth," "Why Being Adopted Matters," "Adoptee=Paradox," "Adoption: Generally Misunderstood," "The Well-Adjusted Model Adoptee"...

I know that's a lot of reading, but if you're really wanting to grasp the complexities of adoption loss, I believe the more you read, the better prepared you'll be to understand.

In short, whether a person is adopted domestically or internationally, same-race or transracial or a combination, there is always a profound LOSS and accompanying grief.

EK, I'm assuming that you & your husband grew up knowing your own biological family. Now try to imagine that you had grown up without them--that you had never known them. Try to imagine how that would have changed your life, your sense of family, your sense of identity, and so forth. Think of all the questions you would have. Think of the doubts you would have, the inherent insecurities...from losing one's origins.

No matter the circumstances, whether intentional or unintentional, their is loss and grief. Again, try to imagine how you might feel had you lost your family as a child were expected to simply move on and feel nothing about it simply because another family took you in...

But again, please take the time to read the above posts that I suggested. And actually, I think almost all of them are listed in the side section on my blog, "Popular Posts." A few of them, though, if you just type the title in the "Search" box, they'll pop up.

I would also recommend reading the book, "Twenty Thing Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Knew." The author is both a domestic adult adoptee AND an adoptive parent. The book is very insightful and I think will help you to understand better the loss and grief that ALL adoptees face (whether they're open or closed in expressing it), regardless of the circumstances under which they were adopted.

Please also feel free to contact me any time in the future whether through this blog or via email: konoyoomo@gmail.com

Also, I would recommend reading other adult adoptee blogs listed under the tab on my blog, "More Blogs & Resources." They will provide you with different perspectives and insight. You can't educate yourself too much, and even though it may feel overwhelming, if you're planning to adopt, you owe to both yourselves and your child to be informed & aware of the unique issues that come with adoption.

EK said...

Hi Melissa,
Thanks for taking the time to respond to me. I have read some of the posts you listed and will read the others. Also, the 20 Things book is one of our required reading for the adoption process and I am in the middle of it now. I'm not sure if my question was misunderstood or not. I am aware and am learning so much about the loss / primal wound and believe and acknowledge its reality. It is a profound trauma and I am not in denial of it. My question was based on your title of the post: "The sole trauma is the loss that occurs BEFORE adoption, but the practice of adoption itself causes no pain?" So, apart from the initial loss / relinquishment and assuming the conditions I listed previously occur in the adoption, is there still more trauma in adoption itself? I understand the child continues to suffer throughout his/her life because of the relinquishment and unanswered questions, but is the adoption in itself cause for more pain/trauma? In other words, let's say the same child was never adopted, remaining in foster care or orphanages (which, of course, has its own issues and complications), is he/she avoiding any trauma that would have occurred if he/she were adopted instead (given the conditions I listed previously)? If you feel that it's still answered in the other posts and resources listed, then I'll refer to that. Sorry if I sound like I'm being difficult. We are really trying to learn and do things right and in the best interest of our future child. We want to be prepared / understanding to ALL possible trauma that our child may be facing. Thanks!

Melissa said...

EK,

I appreciate your persistence and depth in trying to fully understand and grasp adoption loss and trauma. I wish all PAP's and AP's were so determined.

Because your question is a good one and I think one that is most likely a common question that AP's and PAP's have, if you don't mind, I'd like to simply write up a post addressing your inquiry.

Is that okay with you?

EK said...

Sure, I'd be honored. :) Please include my original assumptions / conditions in your post. Also, please know that I am not dismissing or ignoring the losses that adoptees face. Just trying to understand more. Thanks for having a place that PAPs and APs can turn to for help!

Melissa said...

Great, thanks EK.

I may not be able to get around to answering/posting in reference to your inquiry until next week, but know that I am carefully and thoughtfully contemplating your question and my response. I want to give it the thought and time such a question deserves...and I'm hoping that other adoptees will offer their feedback and insight also, because certainly my viewpoint is only one among myriads...

Thanks for you patience!