International adoption, a miracle?

I hate this article on international adoption published in the Washington Post.

Michael Gerson isn’t at fault by talking about the ‘miracle of his family’. I’m certain he wrote out of true emotion. But his article serves to perpetuate the myth that an adoptive family should ‘feel’ a certain way. What about new adoptive parents who may not yet feel the full love that will grow over time? If I had read his article three years ago, it would have depressed the hell out of me.

3 responses to “International adoption, a miracle?

  1. I think he was just gushing. Many parents do that not just adoptive parents, they romanticize the parenting experience (because we are all conditioned to believe there is something wrong with us if every single moment isn’t magical).

    My cousin adopted two little girls from China and maybe they are just lucky but they have not experienced problems, at least not of the attachment variety. The girls had developmental delays in the beginning but with some therapy they were able to catch up and are doing great.

    I wonder if there is a correlation between attachment difficulties in adopted children and what their country of origin is. I am no expert but I would think the worse the conditions and the care, the harder it is for the child to attach and bond (depending on the child of course).

    Lita, I know this is a subject which is close to you and I applaud you for having the courage to bring out your experiences because they are hugely important for parents considering international adoption. Maybe this guy is just sharing his experience.

    I think regardless if you a parent of a child you adopted or a biological child, we are conditioned to believe parenting is a beautiful miraculous gift, and it is, but no one tells you how hard it really is (you have to experience it anyway to really know), but we are programmed to never really open up about how hard it is, how we may at times resent our kids for these difficulties and how we have many days where we are not just brimming over with the abundance of unabashed joy and fulfillment that parenting is supposed to give. Therefore many of us never share these feelings as we are ingrained to believe they are bad, we are alone in them (since dudes are publishing articles in the Washington Post about how fulfilled they are in their parenting lives). I mean think about it, this guy probably goes off to work, does his thing, I bet his wife might have a different story, still probably one the Washington Post is going to publish.

    Thanks for the article.

  2. Hi Dana, as always, you say it better than I could have. You are right, he is gushing. I can’t blame him for that. I know how incredibly exciting it is to suddenly become a parent after failing for so long.
    There certainly is a correlation between attachment difficulties in adopted children and their country of origin. The orphanages in Eastern Europe are much worse than a child adopted from the foster care system in Korea.
    I hope he publishes again in a year, and then again in two, so we can see how his viewpoint evolves as his father role becomes less miracle and more soccer or baseball.

    I know I came down hard on him, and I’ve certainly gushed about my happiness plenty of times. I was on a total high during our first month home with Matan. In many ways, I still am. You know how much I adore both of them, but our first few months with Karen were indescribably difficult. It really took us more than a year to accept that it was going to be hard, and that we had better get used to it. Maybe it was reaching that point that finally allowed us to consider a sibling. From my recollection, there was a fairly short period between when we achieved acceptance until we signed with our agency for round #2.

  3. You have every right to come down hard and express yourself, that is why you are blogging no? I just read your comments and your sister’s comments on your post on Tikkun. It’s amazing how much of us is built in those first few precious months of life, isn’t it? We can’t consciously remember what happens to us as babies but it shapes such a huge part of us I think. How terrifying it must be for Karen (and many others) as a child when she can’t name or control her feelings, and the very core of her is built on such primal insecurity. And how incredibly difficult for you, loving her as a mother does, wanting to do everything for her, to help her and keep loving her as she expresses her uncontrollable feelings.

    Lita, I am convinced that with good professional help you will get to the core of Karen and rebuild that part of her that is so scared right now. I really have a lot of compassion for what you are going through. Keep writing about it, it helps you to express what you are feeling and going through and that can only be good for both you and Karen.

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