Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Theme of Loss

I had an interesting conversation with a woman yesterday. We have our basket and bags bingo coming up at the end of this month, and we have advertised it in our local paper as well as The Sun which is Baltimore's paper. Anyway, when I got the phone call, I got excited, and I thought that this person was calling to reserve tickets. She always looks for basket bingos in the paper (she has a Longaberger affinity and is trying to liquidate some of her items), and when she saw adoption mentioned in it, she wanted to call as she herself had been adopted.

It turns out that this woman who is 54 years old works at the same hospital that I do, in a different department. She is a nurse as well. We talked on the phone for a good 15 minutes. She was adopted when she was young, and her parents had always told her that they had come to get her, but she doesn't know how old she was when she was adopted, or anything about her first family. And she's not interested in knowing about them. She says that when kids would ask her about her adoption and ask her if she ever wanted to find her parents, she would say that she didn't need to, she had them in her life everyday. She would have liked to know things like why, but she was satisfied with the love and family that she had growing up. She was a child in a closed adoption. There aren't many of those anymore, obviously if you've been following my blog, we've talked a lot about open adoption. Her mother passed away a few years ago, and her dad is living with her and her husband, but has Alzheimer's and will shortly be going to live elsewhere. We talked about him (this conversation brought tears on both of our parts, her for her situation, mine for what she is going through), and about her and her husband's struggle with infertility. She now has furkids (dogs), and thinks that if she had a child, the child would be 14-15 years old, and it would be really hard to support both her child and her ailing father. She believes God knew what he was doing. She said something to me during our conversation which really got my tears going. While talking to her husband about her father's disease and his deterioration, she said to him, "I will be an orphan again." He, of course, told her that she'd always have him, her aunts, and her uncles. She said that she knew that, but it was different. Of course it is different.

Adoption has a theme of loss. All of the children in adoption go through the loss of their first family. Our child will have suffered at least two losses before coming home with us-the loss of their first family, and the loss of their "foster" family, the family who takes our child into their home while his or her first family makes their final decision on parenting them. Children in the foster care system suffer many more than that sometimes, they are shuffled from home to home and if they are lucky, they are adopted by a loving family. This woman, at 54 years old, is still dealing with this. This is not something that biological families has to deal with. Sure, a grandparent may pass, aunts and uncles, but adopted children will face those losses as well. Adopted children face loss everyday. It is a part of their story. It is a part of them. I hope that we have a good relationship with our child's first family so that while there were definitely some things that they lost by being raised by that family, that they may still be able to have a relationship with them, and that is not completely lost.

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