Thursday, September 10, 2009

'Cause Forever I Believe That There's Nothing I Could Need But You*

There was a lot of brouhaha on another adoptive parent's blog recently...the discussion is here. It's too exhausting for me to recap.

So, instead, I would like to share with you one of the few instances in my job that was truly joyful.

It is rare that the practice of law rises to the level of joy. Very, very rare. Much of what I do is heartbreaking. Much of what I see are families at their very lowest points. People behaving badly. People behaving monstrously. People crying. I listen to people cry on the phone almost every day. It is not easy to be surrounded by such sorrow and hopelessness.

But last week, I had a truly joyful hearing. It was an adoption finalization hearing, and in attendance was an adult adoptee.

An adult adoptee who expressed that she was thrilled beyond measure to welcome a new person into her family.

She stood with her family members, some of them white, some of them African-American, some of them Asian, some of them of mixed race - we stood in a courtroom together and we were filled with the joy of the moment. The judge banged his gavel, announcing that the adoption was final. The family was giddy, all of them, together. The judge was giddy. I was giddy.

The adult adoptee wanted to talk to me about my daughter. We talked for a while, and I told her that I was blessed to have Lana in my life. She told me that we were both blessed, and she hugged me as she left the courthouse.

I'm not going to tell you that she was without grief, or without anger, without questions. I am just going to share with you all, that in that moment, in that courtroom, there was only joy on her face.

I think that when people say that "all adoptees feel __________," it's almost as absurd as saying, "all parents who have lost a child feel__________" - because while they have had the collective experience of having been adopted or having lost a child - the human response to those tragic circumstances is vast and unpredictable.

Is it reasonable to say that all parents who have lost a child will feel grief? Yes, absolutely.

Is it reasonable to say they will experience that grief in the same way? No.

Is it reasonable to say that because they lost a child, they will never feel a moment of joy in their lives and spend the rest of their time on earth collapsed in soul-sucking despair? I hope not.

Our children have lost their birth mothers, and that is a tragedy. I am aware, on a regular basis, that my daughter needs reassurance that she is loved, and that she will not be left. What child who lost two mothers by the time she was four would not need that?

We can walk through this world together, and we can experience the joys and the sorrows together, and we can hold eachother when life wounds us so deeply that we think we cannot bear to go on. Or we can choose to throw hateful words at people who are just trying the damndest every day to do the right thing.

I'm probably rambling and babbling at this point. I'm exhausted. Some very bad things happened this week that I will write a post about shortly.

But right now, I just want to share with you that I shared in the joy of one adoptive family. And it was real, and it was profound, and it made me feel like, every now and then, as an attorney, I get to participate in something that makes life worth living.


*Nickelback, Never Gonna Be Alone


Anonymous Elaine said...

Thank you for sharing this. Let me know if there is any way I can help with the very bad things that happened.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

How great that you got to be a part of such a special, happy occasion. That's nice to hear, b/c yeah, I know what you do is often difficult.

I love this post. Thank you. With everything in life, everyone has a different experience. I'd been able to ignore the very, very negative ones re: adoption for a long time, then the recent stuff happened, and here it is again. Thanks for a great post.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 2:26:00 PM  
Blogger Ella At Last said...

I can't wait for you to be giddy with us. It beats spandex and flip flops in the courthouse :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009 2:28:00 PM  
Blogger mam said...

I really love this; thank you for sharing. I intellectually know that not all -- not even many, maybe -- adult adoptees feel lingering pain and anger, but the recent discussions in bloggy land have had me down and I needed this real-life example.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 5:56:00 PM  
Blogger Chel said...

I got really stressed about the situation but then I remembered something- when I got LASIK done on my eyes about six years ago, I did a search on the procedure and found quite a few blogs and websites from people who were having problems with their eyes post-surgery.
But nothing from anyone who had a good experience with it.

On a medical forum, I posted "where are all the PRO-Lasik websites and articles and postings?" and the guy who ran it reminded me that when people are generally happy about something, they mention it once or twice and then just go on with life. It's only the people who are unsatisfied that really continue to vent about it.

That actually *convinced* me to have the surgery because millions have had it, and if there's only 50 or 60 people who have such bad outcomes that they are blogging about it regularly, the odds were pretty good.

And I also realized that a lot of the anti-eye-surgery blogs were from people who had other issues (diabetes, retina problems, etc.) that should have NOT made them candidates for the surgery in the first place. So the odds were even better.

So I think the odds are pretty good for all of us who made as sure as possible that our adoption was ethical, and that love our children with our whole heart, that we have done the exact right thing by *OUR* children.

Friday, September 11, 2009 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Not part of it, don't read lots of adoption blogs but friends anymore. BUT, we were approached by an adult adoptee asking where the girls were from, he was working in a restaurant we ate at. He said, with an asian face and a heavy southern accent, where are your children from. He was adopted from S. Korea and was happy he could identify with us, wished us the best as we did him.

I also used to follow a blog of a college student, adopted from S. Korea and she would email me privately and wonder why there weren't more people with her positive opinion of adoption. Sure she had a hard time sometimes but she loved her life and her parents and well..that was enough for her at the time. She was encouraging and followed my journey to get the girls (she was 21) and was thrilled they were home with us. Different opinions all over and well that makes the world go round.

Friday, September 11, 2009 6:30:00 PM  

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