Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Families Quest To Find Chinese Roots

The Adoption Taliban and their cousins have arrived. I will leave the unsigned comments up until tomorrow at which time they will be deleted. Inappropriate commenting will be deleted immediately.

The story above, linked from the LA times, rekindled a few thoughts of my own. Thoughts not easily confronted by some but none the less, in the future for many of us.
Those thoughts, shared below, are not intended to be PC but they are honest. Void of the benefit of speaking face to face, I'm left to express myself in a few written words.
It will have to do.

I wanted a closed adoption…

You can catch some serious flak for making that statement. Then again, adoption world has its fair share of land mines and sink holes. Some days I find myself resigned to it, one of those “it comes with the territory” kinds of thing.

Other days, I’m not so resigned.

I didn’t want the intrusion of the birth family…

You might hear bio missiles whizzing past my head right about now. It’s not always comfortable speaking an inner truth for all to hear but it’s my truth. I didn’t want to share my daughter. The bio family gave her up. Thank you. Now, with all due respect, stay out of our lives.

If you’re standing anywhere near me, you might want to duck and take cover.

I want our little one to feel wanted, secure and loved…

What each parent strives to provide for their child. Then again, in adoption world even the most benign, loving statement can be reshaped and hurled back with bruising force. The Adoption Taliban, the arbiters of adoption do’s and don’ts and their cousins, The Anti-Adoption League of Cultural Supremacists, committed to the assurance that every abandoned child has the right to stay and grow up in an orphanage, find imaginative ways to undercut the positives in adoption world.

I fall short in my compassion to show love for them.

I want nothing less…

Validation of a nurturing cocoon spun from a family’s love will one day be called upon to prove itself. When my day comes I want to know I’m ready. That Alyzabeth is ready. And when that day comes she we will know we are there for her. We stand, walk, run, laugh and cry with her. And should Nan Min Hua someday want to find her Chinese roots, then be assured, her want will be nothing less than our want for her.

We love you little one.




Anonymous said...

We have some of the exact same thoughts and I assure you it didn't come without fire from friends, family and complete strangers. I had to prove myself worthy of being a parent. I had to ask friends, family, and clergy to write letters on our behalf - as did other APs. I had to dig up tax returns, bank records, and have physicals, shots, and fingerprints run - twice. The choice to adopt was mine and I feel how I chose to go about it is also mine. All options were weighed and the best option was chosen for US. I always make sure I'm clear when I explain it was right for US. Someone else may want something different, but I didn't. Call me selfish. Call me what you will, but the fact is this: Yes, Olivia is adopted and we will address subjects appropriately as they arise. Yes, Olivia does have heritage from another country and we will respect that. Yes, she does have a birth mother somewhere who gave her up. Yes, I use the term gave. We don't, and won't, romanticize it because we simply don't know if her birth family simply was not able to care for her or if they believe so much in their culture they truly felt she was disposable as a girl. I've already had this question come up a few weeks ago. She asked me why the "China lady" didn't take care of her and took her to the baby house. I told her I simply did not know, just that some people were not able to take care of their children, for many reasons, and she was cared for until China decided we should be a family.

Olivia will be 5 in two weeks and is just now starting to discuss being adopted. Monday night she was saying the blessing for dinner. After thanking God for the trees, sun, dirt, playground, etc. she said, "Thank you for my family adopting me." It brought me to tears and I could only utter my own prayer thanking God for allowing me to be the parent of such a loving child and to give me what I needed to be a better parent tomorrow than I was today...that's the same thing I promise every night when I tuck her in and I have for almost four years.

Thanks for posting this. AA is a gorgeous little girl who radiates in the pictures you post. I can only imagine it's ten-fold in person.

Sorry for taking up so much room in your comments. :)

Be well and Happy New Year!


Dita said...

I know these feelings well and the firestorm it brings down upon those of us that have the courage to utter the words.

I live it, myself...and I have learned so much about people who judge me for it...AND the ones that honor me for it.

Jacquie said...


Cora said...

Thank you for your incredibly honest post. I am not sure how I feel about it yet, it changes from day to day. I am sure that my feelings will be stronger if we ever adopt a child but to which direction I am not sure. I really appreciate reading these posts that may help me prepare for hopefully our adoption to come.


Lacie said...

Thank you for sharing this article and your insights. WOW. I really respect how you have opened up your heart to us.

Susan, your comment made me tear up. You must be an outstanding mom. I love how you promise to be a better mom tomorrow than you were today. That's awesome! I hope that I get to make that promise to my little one(s) some day soon.

China Dreams said...

I can say pretty much ditto. By the time you adopt, you've spent years looking into all the different types of adoptions that are available, and these opinions are not arrived at lightly.

We looked into Europe first. We then explored domestic, open adoption of older children where the State and their adoptive parents convinced us all that a young child would be best, told us that we couldn't have a young child (pre-elementary) if both parents worked, and then terrified us all with horror stories of multiple medications, severe trauma after birth family visits, etc.

It was truly comical that within a month of attending the State meeting, we met two other couples that we had seen there, all of us having switched to a private agency and to Chinese adoption.

Our son will have all the support that he needs in finding his roots when he wants to try, but it may not be possible. In the end, not everything is under our control. Here are my thoughts, in the words of Kahlil Gibran, on raising both biological and adopted children:

Your children are...
...the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you....
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams........
........You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.....
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable

Blessings to you both, and Happy New Year,

Dory said...

As an adoptee it is just these kind of posts that make me cringe. My adoptive mother felt the same exact way and I cannot even begin to express the hurt that it caused me. Knowing that I had to choose between thinking about and wanting to know my family of origin vs. fear of being abandoned by my adoptive family. Closed adoptions are barbaric and cruel and I have to question the authenticity of the love of any parent that is not willing to be open with their adoptive child.

Alyson & Ford said...

Thank you for your comment.
I love my child.

lava said...

I totally agree!

I couldn't have said it better myself. I no more want to share MY daughter than to share my car with the factory workers who put it together.

I mean honestly, both were paid for fair and square, I should be able to enjoy my possessions in privacy.

If the birth family wanted my daughter they should have thought of that a long time ago, lol.

Anonymous said...

What's comforting to me is that this WILL come back to bite you someday.

She is a child whom you were lucky enough to enjoy, but who has another family whom she WILL go back to someday--it's happening more and more. She won't need your support or help.

She'll find this blog, too. A momument to your selfishness and lack of character. The Internet is forever.

Just because you don't have your own child, doesn't mean she doesn't have her own mother.

Your time in fantasyland is limited.

Alyson & Ford said...

Thank you for your comment.
She has a mother and a father.

Anonymous said...

Not even closed adoption can change DNA. Good thing that the warranty on your purchase is really only 18 years, and not forever.

Alyson & Ford said...

Thank you for you comment.
Forever Family.

China Dreams said...

I'm so sorry to see some of the vitriolic responses, though not surprised; those people without names obviously did not read through to the end of your post.

The only legitimate insight gained by those who were bothered by it is the one from the adoptee and, yet, still the end of your post was overlooked.

I get it. She will have the foundation she needs so that if/when her search proves fruitful or unfruitful, she always has a home to return to with you.

Dory said...

China Dreams - I read the end but honestly, the end doesn't matter if the adoptee knows all along that her adoptive mother wants a closed adoption. The guilt that comes to an adoptee by going against their adoptive parents wishes is immense - because it is fraught with the thought of being abandoned again.

Lou said...

That's ok. By the time your adoptee is of age, she will be able to open her adoption behind your back. Adoptees are learn pretty quickly how to show a good face to their adoptive parents while doing what they want on their own time. Ahh...adoptee multitasking, you gotta love it.
I have no doubt that if this child grows up and wants to find her family, she will do it and you will be none the wiser. Just make sure you let her know she is your property and she'll keep those nasty birthparents far away from you. But she'll find them if she wants. Wait and see.

Alyson & Ford said...

Thank you for your comment.
Our daughter does learn quickly.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alyson & Ford said...

Thank you for your comment.
However, as stated, inappropriate comments are deleted.

Wanda said...


I appreciate your honesty and courage and feel sorrow for those who cannot find peace with their pain.

Wanda (At Last...)

Anonymous said...

You are brave to post this - it takes courage to do so, I'm sure.

But with this, please remember, your daughter has a set of (first)parents with or without your adoption. Her beginning, you will never know exactly. It seems that you feel her first parents simply 'threw her out' (or so it seems ... with the statement of, 'I didn't want to share my daughter. The bio family gave her up. Thank you. Now, with all due respect, stay out of our lives.')

I'm assuming you don't know of her very first beginning, as most don't with China adoptions, but not all are parents that just didn't want their child and decided to leave them on the street. I'm sure you know this.

I'm glad to read you would welcome her searching and would be sure to let her know that you two are always there for her ... but for just a moment, think of the woman out there, that may have had her daughter taken from her by a family member, and was never to see or hear from her again. Imagine the pain in that. I'm sure it doesn't match up to your empty arms through the years - it's probably much worse. While I'm sure you honor her first parents ... here's to hoping you respect them as well.


Alyson & Ford said...

Thank you for your comment.
Honor thy father and mother.

Elizabeth said...

Disclosure: I am an adult adoptee, adopted domestically in 1981 as an infant.

I completely understand and empathize with the fears and desires that accompany the adoption process. My adoptive parents (the only parents I've ever known) chose a closed adoption for reasons I have not entirely fleshed out with them--although I'm pretty sure they'd say it wasn't there choice. In 1981 open adoptions were uncommon. I know they had fears of me yelling something like, "you're not my real dad/mom" in a teenage rage. Of course, as soon as they said that I never even came close to yelling anything that "normal" teenagers do (I hate you, I wish I'd never been born, etc.). I suppose I felt subconsciously like our family was held together by something thinner than blood and I would break some bond if I acted like a "regular" teenager.

Anyway, I digress! I wanted to say 2 things:

1) Please don't feel proud for being honest and doing the hard thing of expressing your real feelings, but in same breath dismiss the very real, honest feelings of the so-called "anti-adoption" crowd with inflammatory terms like the "Adoption Taliban". They feel so strongly for very good reasons, and I urge you to consider them. It would not only be consistent and thoughtful for you to do so, but it would probably make you a much better adoptive parent.

2) Adoption does not and cannot exist without a lot of ugliness and pain on all sides. Pain on the part of the adoptive parents who have probably been dealing with infertility for years, pain on the part of the birthparents who are giving up their own flesh and blood (omg, can you imagine?!?!) and pain on the part of the adoptee, who will forever be cut off from their heritage, like a pear branch on an apple tree. Most of the anger on the part of adoptees and birthparents (I believe) is because adoptive parents want to forget and ignore the pain the others experience. Adoption is not a happy thing, and to pretend like it is just fuels the pain and anger on the part of the other two sides of the triad.

Anyway, I'm not saying you can or should change how you feel. I'm just saying it would be very beneficial to spend some time doing the candid thought experiment of walking in their shoes. I wish you and your family all the best.

Dory said...

It astounds me that when an adoptive parent speaks their mind they are appreciated for their honesty and courage and called brave. When adoptees speak their mind they are called terrorists.

Alyson & Ford said...

Thank you for your comment.
All experience pain. We each choose our happiness.

Alyson & Ford said...

With exception of one, I’ve have been open to your comments.

For my purposes, the definition of the Adoption Taliban and their cousins would be those who are intolerant to others holding adoption views different from their own.
Members of the AT are not the exclusive domain of any one group. Adoptees, AP’s & BP’s are all unfortunately represented.
I can understand the term AT as being offensive, so too, is intolerance.

May we all find it in our hearts to be welcoming to each other.

Johnny said...

Heya Ford,

You know my thoughts on this. I think that it's pointless to counter what "anonymous" has said. People who believe that posting their beliefs or a lecture into a comments section - and that somehow that strident message will suddenly cause you to drop to your knees and say, "Oh my goodness, until this moment I didn't realize how wrong I was" forget where they are.

If you were to do the same thing to their blog (oh wait, anonymous doesn't have a blog or is willing to show their blog), then they would say, "Oh you have some nerve".

More power to you for stating YOUR reasons on YOUR blog.

This ain't a democracy - it's a person's blog.

Vivian M said...

It looks like you struck a nerve. Too bad some did not read your last paragraph more closely.
Kudos to you for speaking your mind. This is your blog, your daughter, and your life.

Tanya said...

I only have one thing to say about this. Children are NOT possessions! I find it incredibly distressing to read that people believe children are possessions!

I too am an adoptee however, from very different circumstances. I am fortunate that I was given up and birth so I have never had to deal with the 'where did I come from' issues.

Sam said...

Great post, Ford! Too bad the AT found out about it! Gotta love Johnny's comments too!

bbmomof2boys said...


You will teach AA by your actions and your love that she is loved for who she is. We too wanted a closed adoption for many reasons. I understand the circumstances of our Little T's abandoment, I hope I understand the feeligns that her bio-parents felt and I pray that when she starts asking the questions I can help her to understand.

When and IF she decides to look for her bio-parents then we will support her and help her in anyway possible. We are her parents and will always be her parents - that is what a forever family is all about.

Many hugs,

mimi's mommy said...

Here here. Me thinks you were in our bed as we whispered those same feelings to each other. Another Happy Forever Family.