As an adoptee my perspective of adoption, and international adoption in particular, has evolved drastically, albeit slowly, over the past several years.
I don't view adoption like I used to view it.
In my earlier years, I was basically a "poster child" for adoption. I would speak at adoption agency functions or at churches touting adoption--I would tell my story to pull on the heartstrings of the hearers--tears would trickle down cheeks--hoping that they would respond by wanting to adopt internationally.
Now I feel sick to my stomach when I think about the way I allowed myself to be used.
I'm not necessarily saying that agencies or churches purposely or manipulatively "used" me, but I will at least say that on certain occasions I was coached on what to say and how to say it. I was specifically told to edit out parts during which I spoke about my difficulties as an adoptee. Eventually, I learned simply to self-edit out the "darker side" of my adoption experience when I spoke at these functions.
And that makes me feel even more gross.
As I have forced myself to think critically about my adoption experience, my ideas about adoption have certainly evolved from positive to ambivalent. And as this evolution has taken place, I find my adoptee identity not as fully embraced by those who once embraced it, whether fellow adoptees or adoptive parents or friends and family. But I have learned that I can only accept this--it's inevitable, at least at this point.
The major point of divergence with many of these folks is my stance on international adoption. When it comes down to it, I am not an advocate for international adoption any more. But I once was. And hence, subsequently, this has led to discord at times.
My reasons for deciding to shift from "advocate" to "un-advocate" are complicated and many. And I have written soooo many posts trying to explain all the reasons, sometimes with success, other times to no avail.
But to share yet another practical yet poignant reason--words from my Omma and Imo:
"Thinking of my grandson, my eyes filled with a tear. As a mother, I should be there and help you recuperating but I can not. I'm really sorry...We can't speak each other's language so we can't talk on the phone..." -Omma
"I'm really sorry for you and your mother. I can't imagine how hard it is to have each other in mind and miss each other for that long time. It's really sad that we can't call each other because we can't speak each other's language even if we miss each other so much..." -Imo (maternal Aunt)
[I received the above words via translation, obviously, in letters written by my Korean mother and Aunt.]
If the above words are not reason enough to make us question International Adoption, then there's no point even bothering to share the host of other reasons...
Yes, I used to speak with certainty about how "lucky" I was to be adopted. I used to say with certainty that I had no desire to seek out my Korean origins and that being adopted had no ill effects on me or my life. And I said it all while smiling sincerely, because at the time I meant it all.
But, then, I had to go and peek inside that box, or open that door, or look over the wall...
And now, I linger in ambivalence. Now, I weep and hurt over the mess that adoption forces me to live.
Although I have an amazing life on one side of the fence, on the other side, I live a life filled with a seemingly relentless grief, sorrow, and aching.
Walking that fence is a balancing act to state the obvious--and I fall and crack open my head on almost a daily basis.
But, I also get back up, wipe away the blood, and hop back onto the fence, albeit dizzy and whirling, because a decision to choose one life over the other feels false and deceptive.
I will continue to evolve, no doubt. But I imagine it will be from one form of ambivalence to another. The only resolution I've come to expect these days is the resolution that I'll never be resolved...