11:14 AM

My Shift of heart

Let me begin this post with a review of a movie I just watched.
The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins
This is a movie I have wanted to see for a very long time. I have been thinking about how I have changed since I first heard about it in early 2008. If I had viewed it then I think it would have shook me to the core of my beliefs. However viewing it now, I just shook my head and was glad that it was out there and hoped it would come to be the shift in mind set so many others need.
As the movie unfurls we see an egotistic liar scramble and scurry to adopt twins who she falls in love with while working as an artist in Sudan. Now I fully understand that falling in love feeling, like it's me against the world, do what you got to do to get what you love and all that jazz. In fact it is one of the reasons that I have not used my fight-to-end-injustice-passions in practical ways like volunteering at an orphanage. I know that the ego maniac in me could be ignited when faced with the very real love I would feel for real babies in real dire conditions. This my friend is where my empathy for the "art star" ends, because each frame after that just leaves me more and more appalled and scared that she may actually be allowed to adopt the twins and be their mother. I knew at the beginning that this was a story of a woman who adopts after having biological children, she is a preferential adopter. Wow, I think, a movie about an adopter like me, fantastic! At the end of the movie how shamed I am that we fall some how into the same category. Now I know why Thailand does not want preferential adopters, if this is how we are portrayed, I would also forbid any child to be adopted by them.
This movie hit me in a really personal way, because I wished (yes, again) to see a portrayal of my family in the media, to see us, and to fit in. Instead I just found another place that we didn't belong.
Now let me start at the beginning...
Once upon a time I believed that every one should adopt. I found it unbearable to watch people I knew and love spend a kings ransom on fertility treatments all in the quest for your own biological clone. This sum of money could have changed the fates of so many children if only these parents could open their hearts and let go of biology. I still feel that adoption gets over looked because of misconceptions and stereotypes and I would like the general population to change their views about adoption, but I no longer think that every one should adopt.
I think the shift began when I started reading every and any blog I could get my hands on that was adoption related. I started reading blogs from all points of the adoption triad (first family, adoptee and adoptive family). Mostly I began to be repeatedly surprised that it was an adoptive parent who was acting or judging in a way that seemed so destructive to their (future) child. I saw a trend, and I really got that it would be really easy to be an "angry adoptee" when this was a portrait of the normal adoptive parent.
More recently in our PRIDE class (adoptive parenting class mandated by our province) I met a room full of adoptive parents and I hoped that none (save 2 couples) ever got the chance to adopt... well that is a bit harsh, but they needed monumental shifts in their being and in that of their families and communities being first, and I had doubts that this shift would happen in time for the arrival of their child.
By the end of the class I think I got the well deserved reputation of being the lecturing-know-it-all-bitch of the class. I just could not help my self :P
Real quotes from real adoptive parents in my class:
"Our cousin adopted a child from China, she is known as the "freak child" in our family. But we have all grown to love her now."
"Birth mothers give away their children because they live in countries where there are no morals to guide them, they are faithless."
"In other countries it is considered the social norm to abandon children, so that is why they have so many orphans"
"I don't want to tell my child they are adopted, that is why we can't adopt a child of a different race."
Maybe now you can see why I could not keep my mouth shut, or keep the bitch at bay.
So here I am now, on the other side of the shift, oh so aware that adoptive parenting is a life long skill that always needs to be honed. And further more it is a skill that most don't acknowledge or develop past the home study.
So my husband and I entered our PRIDE class glumly the day after hearing about the rule change in Thailand, and we left with a renewed united determination to adopt, one way or another, because we were meant to do it. I think that for him especially seeing the other parents struggle with why those above statements were even wrong assured him that we are naturally inclined to this type of parenting. It eased his fears and let us walk with great unity in our choice. I will never wonder again if he is doing this to appease me, I won't have to suspect his motives. And I am so thankful that he is the only one who has never suggested a pregnancy as our next move or even as a future possibility, because he really and truly get's it. I have a great man, and I never dreamed that I could have a man who would parent with me side by side with as much unity as we have, and I am SO THANKFUL.


Kerrie (and Jason) said...

I have never heard of this movie you have written about. It sounds like something that would get my goat up as well. My husband and I are adopting as a first choice as the way to create our family. We also sometimes are looked at strangely - its generally seen as being the last resort here in Australia which we completely disagree with. We've have had no issue with Thailand accepting our file - even though I am not infertile as such. I have a blog (private). Pls email me if you wish to read it and I will send you an invite.

Sylvia said...

Great thanks, I would love to follow your blog. I can not find your email address for the invite... I am a newbie. Can you send it to me at my email.

The movie is still worth checking out even if it makes you mad for the whole 2 hours! You can rent it, it's on DVD now.