Sunday, September 9, 2012
Adoption is like...an onion?
After reading Untying a Birth Mother's Hands by Elizabeth Foy Larsen, I loved the author's telling of this reunion story: she was so honest with her emotions and conveys the birth mother's thoughts just as well. It's as if I were sitting next to them. It's interesting to me how the adoptive parent reaches out to the birth mother - when the adoptee is six. I understand that the adults have a need to make connections and/or leave the door open. What stands out to me is that when the adoptee grows up, will she be thankful? Or will she have resentment because someone else made the decision on her behalf. Please read the article, if you haven't already.
This leads to me to my overall takeaway from the article: Adoptions are complex. More than anyone realizes.
Recently I saw a post on Facebook, tailoring Forrest Gump's famous saying into this: "Adoption is like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're going to get." While there may be some truth to that, I did not appreciate the cliche. It seems negative to me, like it's a game of chance. And it's just too pat of an answer to describe the complexity of forming families by adoption. At the very least, an adoption touches three people directly: the child, the birth mother and the adoptive parent. The two parents in that triad scenario usually have family members, and their own circles of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. So with one child's adoption, you are impacting a myriad number of lives. Not to mention all the friends that adopted individual has or will encounter in their OWN day-to-day life. Each of those individuals will have feelings, emotions and opinions about adoption: good, bad and ugly. That's why adoption cannot be put into a box...not even a box of chocolates! Hey, I love chocolates as much as the next person. Just don't compare it to adoption, okay?
If you want to get clever and cheeky with your adoption metaphors, how about this? The dialogue in the movie Shrek: comparing ogres to onions. For those who have not experience this Dreamworks movie, a little background info on Shrek: he (the ogre) struggles throughout the movie with the single-dimension stereotypes that people put on him, how he is constantly misunderstood and prejudged, which is why he lives alone in a swamp. Sometimes he actually lives out other's demonizing expectations of him. Ok, I'm waxing a little philosophical for an animated movie, but you get my drift. Watch the video dialogue below:
At least this comparison ACKNOWLEDGES that there are layers...and that it's not a perfect comparison as Shrek struggles to reveal himself to his friend Donkey. So I would modify Shrek's comparison: Adoption is like...an onion. They both have layers. Admittedly, I'm also a bit cheeky and pat with that metaphor, but hopefully you get my drift. Adoption is never as simple as you think.