Monday, June 06, 2011

Adoption is a happy thing right??

Apparently, Kung Fu Panda 2 is generating a lot of conversations. Not just in the adoption world but in the non-adoption world.

A friend of mine's 7 year old son saw the movie and really, really got it (this kid is wicked smart).  He came home and started up a conversation with his Mom about the loss the Panda suffered in his adoption.   He connected that loss to a cousin who was adopted.  "Does he feel sad that he can't be with is real family?"  He asked her.  She immediately corrected him and said that his parents are his real family.  He asked her if adoption was a sad thing.  She told him no, it's happy.  I corrected her.  I pointed out that adoption involves a triad of people.  2 of the 3 parties involved suffer tremendous loss.  The birth family loses a child and the child loses their birth family, heritage, culture, etc.  The only person who doesn't suffer a loss in adoption is the adoptive parents/family (although there is sometimes a loss of fertility but I feel that is a separate issue).  I shared with her that how that loss manifests itself is going to vary from family to family, child to child, adult to adult.   Just like everyone reacts differently to, say a sad movie (some will not be moved, some will cry, some be hysterical, others will roll their eyes and make light of it), everyone will respond to their adoption differently.  Some children, young adults and adults of adoption feel tremendous loss.  Don't believe me - there are lots of blogs out there by adoptees - go read them.  Some children, young adults and adults of adoption feel no loss at all.  There are many factors in what a person would feel from having an open adoption to just their personality and their level of comfort with their adoption.    A person in an open adoption may feel differently from a perso in a closed or semi open adoption.  A person adopted at birth may feel differently than a person adopted through foster care.  A person adopted domestically vs. internationally is going to have difficult viewpoints as well. 

She seemed to be uncomfortable with my end of the conversation.  Which is absolutely understandable and okay.  While she has family members who are adopted (internationally), adoption loss is just not a topic that typically comes up outside the immediate familly - hell, it quite often doesn't come up within the immediate family either!  

My own history being what it is, I guess I'm hyper aware and watching for signs that Dylan is feeling loss from his adoption.  I hope that I am able to convey an open door to him to let him know that it's okay to feel loss, to feel sad, to miss his first family, his culture, his country and it's okay to share it with us if he wants to.

I'm glad this movie is being a cataylyst for conversations about all aspects of adoption, not just the sunshine and rainbows.   I'm grateful for good friends who feel comfortable coming to me with questions - the hard ones as well as the easy ones.  I'm grateful I can go to them as well.  I love my friends as we've all travelled very different roads which makes it easy to find answers to some of life's tougher questions (maybe not answers but at least ideas).

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