Friday, February 25, 2011

The human infant

Our newborn son is going on one month. As I learn to care for him, I am dumbfounded, startled, overwhelmed by how utterly helpless and dependent he is. I dare to observe that there was never a more vulnerable, more fragile little being than the human infant, and particularly the newborn.

How desperately he begins to whimper or wail as soon as he realizes he is no longer in my arms or on my lap...that there are no other warm embraces or soothing voices that seem able to comfort him as do mine or my husband's.

And yet, still it is commonplace for people to continue to presume that being adopted as an infant, or more accurately, being separated from one's own mother
as an infant somehow diminishes or even nullifies the loss and grief of such an event and the ensuing lifetime consequences.

How anyone concludes that being an infant at the time of relinquishment and adoption indubitably prevents or somehow negates and neutralizes, some would even suggest, counteracts the consequences of such losses is even more perplexing and disturbing to me now than it was before--as I experience my own newborn firsthand.

How can any mother or father or fellow human who has ever cared for a newborn or infant so casually dismiss how profoundly consequential separation from one's mother would be, is?

My son knows me. Our bodies know one another. Our sounds and scents know each other. Our skin, our touch. And although if, God-forbid, he were to be separated from me now and forever (I can barely stand such a thought without going into tearful convulsions), it's true that he would have no tangible memories of me--and yet, I still have no doubt that he would feel the loss of such a premature and unnatural separation for the rest of his have I, emotionally and physiologically.

And certainly, as his mother, I would be haunted by an insatiable emptiness and deep sorrow for the rest of my existence. How abysmal and vast the abyss of grief and angst would be. And yet, how often the consequences experienced by the mother who has lost her child in this way are ignored, denied, disregarded.

Sure, my assessment is emotional and subjective. Yet, are we not human beings? We are not quantities and statistics to be assessed and evaluated (although such measurements have their place and value, they cannot be our sole resource when it comes to the human experience).

There is indeed a place for emotion and subjectivity, and if not among and within the losses and griefs of humanity, then where?

To me, it should be obvious and even logical that a person separated from his or her mother and subsequently adopted as an infant would experience both undeniable short-term and long-term consequences. The fact that when I was a child and up through young adulthood, I, myself was someone that proclaimed I was unscathed by adoption should have been an indication of something askew rather than something aligned.

And yet, if I do not quote research and study upon study, my perspective, my experience is considered nothing but childish and inconsequential anecdote. Everything must bow down to science and its methods. Again, I love science and furthermore, my degree is in the science of psychology.

But it saddens me that the heart is no longer treated as worthy evidence.

Still, I cannot honestly look at my son as I hold him in my arms or watch him sleep or nurse, and coldly conclude that his life, his being would not be affected, changed, altered in profound ways were we to be torn apart...

And hopefully, he will never know such grief...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our son is here...

Just a very short post to announce that our son is finally here!

He was born about 2 weeks ago, after a long and tumultuous labor, on a Saturday morning. We spent a week in the hospital while he was treated for a pesky, persistent case of jaundice (although, I joke that the dude is half Asian and a quarter Greek, so he's always going to have a little tinge of yellow and olive, eh? *smilewink*)

I'm so in love as I wander through his face and every little sound and I try to find my way through this new life, this new my husband and I enter into this profound adventure...

For now, I am content and mystified to be lost in his world...

While I allow myself to be lost from the outside world, I am being found in a world that was once lost to me yet is now being slowly yet beautifully rediscovered, as though for the first time...

And really to lose oneself is to find oneself...

Or it could just be the misty nebula of oblivion and confusion brought about by severe sleep deprivation and constant feedings...Ha.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Where are the adoptees voices? (by Raina @ GIMH)

Some of you have already read this post. For those of you who have not, I hope you will. I can relate to almost every word Raina wrote.

Excerpted from Raina's post at Grown in My Heart:

For an entire diaspora who has never had a voice, speaking out not only feels dangerous, but also indulgent...

...Don’t forget, those of us adopted from Korea and China have also carried that greatest expectation of earning that “most likely to succeed” title. Against all reason, I personally seem to live out my days trying to earn this life I’ve been handed. Whether I wanted it or not.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kidnap or rescue? Book review of ‘Babies Without Borders’

Dr. John Raible, both an adult adoptee & adoptive parent, provides not only an insightful & truthful review of an adoption-related book by Karen Dubinsky but of the adoptee experience...
Excerpted from Dr. Raible's review:

Adopted individuals spend much more time living with the consequences of their adoptions in adulthood than as children. When Dubinsky refers to adopted individuals as 'adult adopted children' (p. 129), she underscores their status in the minds of many as perpetual youngsters who are never quite allowed to grow up...

Whereas Dubinsky muses, “Perhaps the only figure more popularly symbolic of global inequalities than the American tourist in the Third World is the American adoptive parent in the Third World” (p. 120), one could reasonably argue that it is the transnational and transracial adoptees who more accurately embody the very power imbalances Dubinsky explores so lucidly in her book. After all, we are the ones who crossed borders, and in doing so, forfeited languages, ties to our families of origin, and cultural heritages, even as we simultaneously gained the enormous privileges typically reserved for middle class families in the First World. In exchange for material and educational gains, we were required to sacrifice our birth citizenship and sever ties to our original extended families. As the disempowered subjects of a crisis intervention, which is, after all, what adoption is, we had no say in the decisions to migrate or be adopted, yet we frequently hear how lucky and grateful we should feel. Moreover, once adoption was done to us, many of us were then forced to endure overwhelming racism as we single-handedly integrated the all-white neighborhoods in which our well-intentioned adoptive parents raised us.

For the entire review click on text above or click here.