I love paper, especially stationary. I have found myself in just about every stationary store around caressing the boxes of cards and card stock wondering who I might write my next card to. I love writing notes and letters. This is not a lost art in my home. Writing a note or letter is like fulfilling the fantasy conversation I wish to have without awkwardness and uncomfortable pauses. It allows for thoughtful words rather than an instant reaction. So, in staying with this theme, I have another letter I have recently penned to the recent big winner of the Powerball lottery. Here goes:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hill
Congratulations on you big win! Wow! Your lives will be forever changed and I hope for the better. I played in hopes of winning big. Alas, I did not fare so well. I am sure I am in good company in daydreaming for a few minutes on what I would do if I ever won such a large sum. I hope you will realize your dreams and spread a little joy around your community as well.
My wistful good wishes stopped though, once I read an article about your win in Huffington Post. Mrs. Hill, your comment “Some of the money will go toward travel, perhaps back to China for another adoption or ‘wherever the wind takes us,'” made my heart sink. Please don’t let the wind blow you to another adoption. Please don’t go “out of your way” again, as one of your neighbors so generously described your first adoption. You see, that kind of thinking scares the living daylights out of me. My thoughts of how lovely your humbleness was, got drowned out with thoughts of rescue, saving, God’s will and all of that in my head. Those thoughts led me to the countless conversations with international adoptees as they struggle to make sense of the painful realization that being “saved and rescued” didn’t save or rescue them from the many losses, grievances and holes in their hearts. As adults, they are grappling with the multiple conflicting identities within them. Sure adoption doesn’t do this for all, but I have never met an adoptee who did not have a wish or desire to better understand how they got adopted.
If travel is what you wish, by all means travel. I hope you do get to go to China and go often. And bring your precious daughter there too so she can learn from where she came and gain a sense of wholeness in the duality of being Chinese and American. Her wholeness of self will be a tremendous legacy of your choice to adopt her.
If you believe that God has truly blessed you with this money, I wonder if you might consider a different role in adoption, that of an ally rather than an advocate. You see, every marginalized community seeks allies – those who represent the majority and stand with and by to witness, support, challenge and help advance their message. We need more allies in adoption. I invite you to be such an asset to the adoption world. I am pleased you want to support education. Might I suggest starting a foundation for the adoptees who are in need of ongoing support and services here in the United States, many of whom are from China? There are adoptee organizations in America who are on shoestring budgets to sustain themselves in order to run mentoring programs, cultural events, and education programs. There are adoptive parent groups who need help in accessing ongoing support for themselves and their children. In your homestate of Missouri, there is a wonderful institution, Washington University George Warren Brown School of Social Work with graduate students working to gain a better understanding of what institutionalization does to children.
I have worked in placement and wonder aloud how you would be able to adopt if you so wish. There are restrictions in place and rules, such as age, that qualify a prospective adoptive parent. I wonder if, given your new found wealth, you will be circumventing these rules in order to adopt again? Is this what you mean by God’s will? I truly hope not. Our adoption system is so broken as it is, to know that you might think about challenging the few criteria that exist in order to fulfill your desire is troublesome indeed. How will you explain this to your new child, the daughter you have already? Instead, I hope you have stayed connected to the agency that facilitated your first adoption. What if you went back to that agency and allotted some funds to support their post-adoption department?
I know I have no right to suggest any of this. You and your money will go where you wish. After all, we live in a country that abides by this freedom of thought and choice. I suppose I am living vicariously through you and your big windfall and hope upon hope that you might consider some of these ideas along the way.
Thank you for your kind consideration.