'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