Sunday, December 14, 2008

Adoption---Blessing or a Curse

As I mentioned previously, I wanted time to evaluate others responses and gather my thoughts before I threw my two cents in, or whatever my thoughts are worth. So, here I go.
First of all, Julia's adoption is the direct result of infertility. Our desire was for a child--not a pregnancy. IVF was never pursued--the appointment was made and I cancelled it about 3 days before. Told Ted my body had enough. The decision was made to adopt--and after we had a baby then we would decide if we wanted to do IVF or not. The result was Julia. And we never looked back. I have had many things happen in my life that have changed it for the better and the infertility was just one--and I'm grateful for infertility.
Now, what some of you might not know is Julia's birth parents were married and she was their first child. Due to her medical needs, she was placed in the orphanage and made available for adoption. Most likely, Julia has full-blooded siblings in Russia. As a nurse and a child advocate, I'm disgusted that the medical system in Russia sucks to the point that this was the choice her birth parents made. My opinion was and always has been that the needs of the children come first. I am sad that she will grow up away from her native culture. Be that as it may, I'm damn glad she's my daughter. Like Maria mentioned, Julia is like me---I'm an American with Scottish, Irish and German heritage and she is an American with Russian heritage (with a little Buryat thrown in). Rauan and Alihan are Americans with Kaz and Krygz heritages. This is a country of multiple heritages and our home is such. Come into our house and you'll see Russian items, Buryat items (yurts and such stuff), Kaz items and Krygz items. As the children learn about their heritage, so will Ted and I. It's a family project. And perhaps, with us learning about each others cultures together we can foster respect for the cultures.
Now is it a blessing?? Yes, I think so. Again, it's sad that their native lands couldn't provide medical or cultural understandings for single mothers (Rauan's situation besides the cleft--Alihan's is unknown), but it's a blessing that medically we can provide some of the best medical care for them in the world. It's a blessing that their mom is a bit nuts and searches for the answers and gets them the best of the best medically. It's a a blessing that their mom and dad love them enough to find the best educational opportunities for them. It's a blessing that their mom and dad want to give them sports opportunities. For Julia, it's a blessing that we recognize that she is showing signs of a learning disability and her parents will (and currently are) rearranging their lives to make sure that she learns to the best of her ability. It's a blessing that, no matter what happens, they have a family that loves them and will care for them no matter what--and they have a large extended family that loves them and will care for them also--no matter what. It's called unconditional love.
Is it a curse? I guess that's what you view as a curse. It could have been. But, we live in a sinful world where people view children as a commodity. Until that changes--and it hasn't in all the time that humans have walked the earth--we have to make the best of it. It would have been best if the children could have stayed in their biological home situation--and their wouldn't have been medical issues and cultural issues. But, that wasn't to be. So, the next best solution was adoption. I can't change the way of the world--but I can change the lives of these three incredible children. It's a start.
What can I say? We have many members of our family that are adopted. One of my oldest and dearest friends was adopted. In my life, adoption wasn't a strange thing--it was a common place thing.
Was our adoption situation divinely meant to be? Perhaps. Now after we've completed 3 adoptions, I've found IVF would have never worked for us. The night before I received a call about Julia, I had a dream about a baby. I woke, described that baby to Ted (who wanted to know what kind of wacky weed I had been smoking--p.s--I'm a total drug virgin!), described that baby to my co-workers and when I saw Julia's picture I just about fell over. Divine intervention? Who knows? There were other strange things that happens with the boys--but I'm already getting long winded. One thing that I think is important is I've always seen myself as a mom--even as a young child I mothered everyone!--but never pregnant. Ever. Did I somehow know? Again perhaps.
The only one who can answer the question if adoption is a blessing is the child. It's their unique experience. Will my children feel that they were blessed to have me and Ted as their parents? I hope so. I know I am blessed. I am blessed to have had awesome parents, wonderful sisters, an incredible husband, great in-laws, and wonderfully blessed to be able to parent 3 incredible special delightful children who enrich my life beyond measure. Only time will tell if Julia, Rauan and Alihan feel that they were blessed.


emily said...

thank you, janiece. i feel blessed, to have come to know you.

stef said...

What a lovely essay! You should compile this blog and publish it as a book someday. You actually brought tears to my eyes. You are one of the most blessed people I know!! Have a wonderful Christmas with those beautiful children of yours!

Janay said...

I am selfishly thrilled that Julia's parents gave her up. I am also delighted that Rauan and Alihan were available for adoption. My special angels have brought so much joy into my life I am not articulate enough to describe the feelings. There is a hand greater than our own that steers life's fates and events. Julia, Rauan and Alihan were meant to be with our family. I just feel it deep in my heart's core (to borrow a line from Yeats).
Call it fate or God's Hand, I can't put it into words but these childrens' destiny was to be with our family. I am so thrilled that I have a wonderful son and fantastic daughter in law that are amazing parents. What a great place to be brought up if you are from another culture...Madison, WI a melting pot of the world's people and cultures.

Lisa said...

JP, I believe that adoption is both a blessing and a curse from the child's perspective. They don't necessarily see it as lucky to have different parents. It is hard for them to understand a family not being able to take care of them and giving them away. Does that mean they don't love their adoptive family? No. In some cases, they don't even know what love is. And for my boys, the oldest and most recent adoptee in particular, knowing that they have siblings in Russia troubles them very much. He remembers his older sister and wants to know how she's doing. We haven't been able to find that out.

And, in Vasi's case especially, he also feels double-screwed because he's lost two families: a Russian one and an American one. He feels like it is his fault when, in fact, it is the fault of an adoption agency trying to meet a quota putting pressure on a family with good intentions but horrible implications. That family should not have been allowed to adopt. Period. They have tons of money, sure, but they only pursued adoption as a substitute for biological children. They got bio kids and could not love the adopted kid the same way. Now my son will pay for that the rest of his life.

Two books I would suggest: Adopting the Hurt Child and Parenting the Hurt Child.

Not that any of that applies with your horde, but you might want to prepare for some very serious questions and a request for some very serious answers to the "where am I from?" and "Tell me about my family" questions.

BTW: No follow up to my questions about Lyudmilla and her sister. One of the reasons we would only take them both is how much Vasi is aware of and concerned about his sisters' well-being.

My opinion, in a nutshell, is that for Paul and I, adoption is definitely a blessing - mixed some days because damn these boys can fight and holy shit does Vasi have issues - but a bleesing nonethless. And MOST of the time, 2 of the 3 boys see it that way. The other one might be up to 30% now. I'm not really sure.

bella1021 said...

beautifully written!

definitly blessed!!!

AdoptAuthor said...

May I ask if you considered adoption one of the 100,000+ children in US foster care who could be adopted and if you chose not to why not?

Seems you got a load of medical problems with the children you adopted - and could have had even more because international agencies very often conceal the truth to close the deal.

My heart so breaks for all the children who - very sadly - are born to parents within the US who cannot afford medical care for them and we live, right here, in a country which does not provide it for them in all cases.

When ever I ask this question, people tell me it's quicker or easier - less red tape - or the children overseas are younger. However, it is also more expensive.

I am glad things are working out well for you and your children, however, I would hope that those who read here - before jumping on any bandwagon, might read:

1. Child Trafficking by David Smolin

2. Romania for Export Only

3. The Lie We Love by E.J.Graff

4. Read what those adopted internationally and or interracially feel as adults:


5. The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry


J-momma said...

yes, only our children will decide what adoption means to them. and i have a feeling it will be a mixture of both, blessings and a curse. because it is bittersweet. yes, you've been offered a loving family and beautiful life, but you've had to lose things to get those. that was really my point. and i posted a comment on the "contents of my heart" blog that i think it's very different adopting from another country versus through foster care. like i said on her blog, my son's culture is here. it's down the street or the next town over. and that makes it even more awkward for me to copy because it looks fake. whereas, kryz culture isn't exactly huge in our country. my son will be confronted everyday about why he doesn't speak spanish, or really know about puerto rican food, or have the same lingo and accents. that's expected where i live. so, in a way, i wonder if it is more of a curse that he was adopted by a white family and not knowing the culture of those who look like him. but i do like your response. and i know that most adopted kids are a blessing to their families. mateo is certainly a blessing to me. and i know he is meant to be with us. but i also need to prepare myself for the sadness he may feel as he grows up and realized the things he's lost.

Laura said...

"AdoptAuthor", I would like to know how many chidren YOU have adopted through the US foster care system. It is amazing how many people say that to people who adopted overseas, yet they have never adopted from the US foster care system themselves. All children deserve homes. (sorry to have to post this here, but of course AdoptAuthor has no information listed on their profile)