“I love you, you’re perfect, now change!” – 2008
I used to see this on a poster advertising the show of the same title on the subway going to and from work. The story is about relationships, but in my head, this could so mean about adoption too. I think it speaks to the dance many adoptees feel we must do. It is in essence the precariousness of our place in our family and in our society that makes me relate to these seven words so closely. We tell our children we love them just the way they are, but really what the underlying subtext is, we love you as long as you do what we want and not embarrass us. Be whatever you want as long as it is brag worthy.
I have been requested to take caution when writing on this blog, keep things out, omit the existence of certain people. I have been sitting on that request for some time now and like poison, it has been slowly decaying me inside. As a 40+ woman, mother and wife, I am an adult, but still so tethered to this childlike state. There are times when being adopted feels like a perpetual state of youth without any of the youthful abandon.
I don’t think I have changed. In fact, my instincts remain that of my five year old self. I think we are all like that. I look at the adults around me and can picture a smaller version of them, the same look when nervous, same way of laughing, same instinct to wrinkle their nose or cough or clear their throat. We don’t really change all that much from our smaller bodies. We just seem to hide it a whole lot better.
I think this title too reflects that love affair people have about the concept of adoption. It is a win-win situation. I would cringe when a prospective adoptive parent would write that on their application to adopt – “we want a baby and sowewhere out there some woman doesn’t want hers.” There is no sum gain for anyone without acknowledging the incredible loss. I have never met a birthmother who has said that it was a win-win situation for her. Never. My own birthmother’s voice comes to mind when she received a gift from my adoptive mother. Her sister chastised her for not bringing something for me to bring back to the States for my adoptive mother. She muttered under her breath, “she had my daughter, what more can I give?”
I have been carefuly crafting and writing blog posts and have not been able to finish one. I have been waiting for the perfect moment to send without feeling shame, embarrassment or worry that someone might read it and feel distain.
I’m done worrying now. To be continued.