Friday, October 12, 2007

All Adoption, All the Time

I was reading an adoption blog yesterday (and to be totally honest, I cannot even remember which one), and the mom was stating something like, “of course my life always has adoption in it, but, sometimes I get tired of endlessly contemplating what that means.” (I’m paraphrasing, that’s not a direct quote.)

Which got me to thinking – does my everyday life have adoption in it?

And I suppose the obvious answer is ‘yes’ – it is patently obvious to anyone walking down the street that I am Lana’s adoptive mom, not her bio mom. It honestly doesn’t strike me very often, but, the photo above is pretty telling. (By the way, I don't actually like this photo of either of us very much. But, I think it does a good job of showing our extreme physical contrasts.) (And, yes, I have gotten her bangs cut since this picture was taken.)

These two people are clearly not biologically related to one another, right? I mean, go ahead, be straight with me - we don't look alike, I know it.

I just don't THINK about it all that much.

I don't think about the fact that it is obvious that we aren't blood relations until I see a photo like that. It kind of reminds me of living in Japan - it rarely occured to me how utterly foreign I looked until I would see another blonde woman (usually a woman named Jane from New Zealand - there just were very few blonde women living in Hitachi City in 1995-96) - and I would see Jane from ACROSS the grocery store or town square and it would smack me in the face, "I look as out of place as she does. Wow, I REALLY don't blend in here."

Perhaps this says something about my personality or the fact that I am kind of oblivious to things that should be stunningly apparent.
I spend whole days not really consciously thinking about the fact that adoption intimately affects my family. Most days, lately, we are just a family - possibly a quirky, eccentric family, but, just a family nonetheless. I don't necessarily think about the fact that we are a blended family. And I guess I kind of thought that was a GOOD sign. I thought it was a positive development, that I wasn't obsessing about adoption and what it means for Lana individually and for us as a family.
I'm not saying that I ignore the fact of Lana's adoption, and I spend quite a bit of time with some girlfriends who I met through my adoptive families group. But, while I enjoy the interaction with the adoptive families group - my close friends from that group - well, I feel like it was adoption that happened to draw us together, but, the adoption no longer defines our friendship. It was a jumping off point.
I know that Michelle wrote an interesting post on a similar subject a while back (well, maybe not a similar subject, but, in the same range of subjects, I guess), and I remember agreeing with her conclusion.
I don't want to stress and obsess about Lana's adoption, especially at a moment in time when Lana is not stressing or obsessing about it. I'm just her mom. She's just my kid. Yes, she is Vietnamese, and yes, she had another mom until she was 4, and yes, we have some unique challenges. But, I'm not spending a big chunk of my life contemplating her adoption. Does this make me a bad mother, or a bad adoptive mother?


Anonymous E. said...

I think it is good that you don't spend every moment with your daughter focused on the fact that she looks different from you and is adopted. Could you imagine how that would make her feel? Growing up knowing that all her mom saw in her was a kid who was "different". I'm like you -- though I obviously haven't forgotten that Tank Boy is adopted, it's not what defines our relationship or our family. Yes, it is how he came to our family, but beyond that he is just part of the family. As he gets older and has more understanding of the fact that he is adopted, and has more questions/concerns/whatevers about it, I will worry about what I can or should do to help him with those questions/concerns/whatevers. Right now, those don't exist. What does exist is a little boy who deserves to be loved and accepted as the family member he is. I refuse to thrust society's baggage and/or the adoption community's baggage on him at the age of 3.

Friday, October 12, 2007 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

I think most a-families are like yours ... we don't obsess over the adoption thing 24/7. Some days it comes up, other times weeks or months go by without really thinking about it. Though I think being on lots of adoption blogs probably makes me think about it more than I would on my own. And y'know, I'm often surprised when people don't see the resemblence of me with my kids - because I see so many ways that we are alike.

Friday, October 12, 2007 1:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do think about adopting all the time but I want to adopt more children, so my thoughts are constantly on how I can work that part out. When I look at my daughter I still can't believe I was able to get her. It was so hard, so many things happened. I can't believe it is over and she is mine. I so appreciate her sheet of long black hair, her long eyelashes, the set of her eyes, tiny delicate hands and feet, perfect tan, and none of this is me.

Not to sound perfectly awful but being blond, with long hair; don’t you find people tend to notice you where ever you go. I am blond too and as we are not in Holland or Sweden we don't exactly blend in.
When I went to Asia to get my little girl I ended up staying a few months, sure people looked but people always look.
People give my daughter a good look now as she could be from Asia, India, Latino, or Middle Eastern. My daughter is going to be beautiful all of her life. She is a very girly girl. People are always going to look at her because she is a little different, very extroverted, and she is really beautiful and exotic.

Friday, October 12, 2007 3:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

We were at the mall, (we never go to mall) as a family last weekend and well, when you only go to the same places you don't really think about it but at the mall we were stared at and gawked at and had alot of "are those your babies". Which then brings up the thinking about the adoption.

Conor said, they are just our kids, Mimi and Cammie and I forget that they don't look like us....we are just a family like any other.

Friday, October 12, 2007 7:47:00 PM  
Anonymous MaisyJoinsThePack said...

Not so much a comment on this particular post....But I just discovered your blog and am thrilled. I spent a good chunk of the day reading old posts. We are hoping to 'officially' receive the referrals of 2 girls within the next few weeks, ages 5 and almost 4. And it's rare to find a blog for a preschool-age child adoption. So THANKS for keeping such a great blog!

I'm at, there's a password request thingie.


Friday, October 12, 2007 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

Funny how I didn't even see the physical changes you were talking about in your post (they didn't jump out at me).....I guess we get so used to seeing our kids they are just that, our kids. Adoption is not a part of our everyday lives. We love our children's birth countries and talk about them often, but certainly not everyday...maybe that makes me a bad adoptive mom? I personally think it's a good thing that these are just our kids and we don't spend all our time thinking about PC adoption related topics.


Sunday, October 14, 2007 10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I think this is perfectly normal. In fact I would probably worry about any AP who makes adoption a conscious part of their everyday thinking. I always say adoption is how my family was created, but it does not define WHO we are.

Monday, October 15, 2007 9:01:00 AM  

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