Monday, August 31, 2009

17 year old reunites with his Chinese birth family.

Watch the emotional video here:

The timing of this story is rather interesting for us. Just yesterday we were asked if we are going to adopt again. That question is not an easy one to answer. When we began this journey, the wait for the China program was 6-9 months. Just today I read in an adoption forum than an agency sent their waiting parents some horrific projections. According to their e-mail, parents with a log in date of late 2006 (our LID was January 16, 2006) could wait until 2014 for a referral. While there is quite an age gap (Grand Canyon type) between JJ and SS, we do not want a big age difference between SS and a prospective younger brother.

When we turned in our dossier three years ago, we discussed how long to wait for Baby D. We decided to begin the process one year after SS arrived home. Then our life took some serious twists and turns and we are nowhere where we were then. By now I should have been back at work, and I should have been knee deep into the paper chase (I'm better at document gathering and planning). The reality is that the China program is not an option for us. The problem is that I can't think of another program that would be acceptable. It is important to us that SS's younger sibling be also Asian. JJ and I will always share our cultural heritage, P has the entire White population, and we want SS to grow up with a sibling from a similar background. Vietnam's program is closed, so that leaves us with Taiwan.

That is where this story got me thinking. One thing about adopting from China is the near impossibility of a birth parent or family seeking a child. This has always been on our minds, from the moment we discussed adoption. While our hearts were set on China, this was a major bonus for us. Shall SS ever request our help in finding her birth parents/family, we will do whatever we can to make it happen. What we are not willing to endure is someone else making that decision for OUR child. We are the only ones equipped with the knowledge to determine SS's emotional maturity for such an encounter. Getting blindsided by someone else is unacceptable.

The Taiwan program is different than the China program. OK, all programs are different. The problem is that difference plays right into one of our greatest fears. In Taiwan children are placed for adoption by their parents, and sometimes the legal system terminates parental rights. I am not sure about the rate of abandonment at this time. The government and the parents can ask for whatever amount of post placement information they deem reasonable. With SS we completed 6 month and 12 month post placement reports. They are just a formality, since our adoption was finalized on July 7 2008. We provided a lot of information and pictures with both reports. Those reports were sent to the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA). The probability of SS's birth family accessing that information is negligible.

Here is where it gets ugly, but this is a letter to SS (OK more like an encyclopedia by now), so I want to be as honest as possible. The thought of our child's birth parents knowing where OUR child lives, goes to school, know her name, etc. creeps the daylights out of us. However, my P is a pragmatic guy, and I think he is about ready to cave in on this point. I am not sure I am there, it's too scary for me. I am really protective of my children, some may think overprotective. It's true, no sense in denying the obvious. Recently, SS's Nana requested pictures to post to her Facebook account. Our initial reaction was that we did not want SS's face out there. Then we quickly realized that was rather hypocritical since SS's face is already out there. We also considered that her Nana asked. She could have easily posted pictures once she returned home, and we would have never known. We compromised by requesting that she not use SS's name. Wish all quandaries were that easy to solve. That was just SS's picture and name. Imagine knowing that her day to day information must be provided to her birth family.

While I make myself sick thinking about all this, that video keeps playing on my mind. BTW, I do realize that the young man's circumstances (he was not abandoned) and that of 99% of China adoptees are different. The thing about that video that stays with me is Christian's lack of emotion about that very emotional moment. While his relatives are hardly unable to remain upright, besieged with a mixture of grief and relief, he seems relatively aloof. Mind you, if that was me, I know I would have that same deer caught between headlights look. Not only do you no longer speak the language, are still probably trying to absorb what has happened, but that very private moment (to me) is being broadcast world wide. Yikes.

Christian's demeanor is perhaps the result of him being at peace with his lot in life. He had questions that have now been answered. I can only imagine what that knowledge that he was not abandoned has done for him psychologically. But I think there is more than that, that his mother's love, care and support are responsible for that restraint. What a selfless act on her part to go to such lengths to help her son find his birth family. Ah, the things we do for love.

I was rather surprised to read that Christian's family hoped he would stay in China. Just can't wrap my mind around that one. While the circumstances that led to Christian's adoption were tragic, he has a home. He has a home with his mother (no mention of a father or siblings in the story). A quote attributed to Christian's birth father has been on my thoughts. He stated, "He has grown taller, he has grown bigger, but inside Chinese blood is still flowing in his veins." True, SS will forever have Chinese blood flowing through her delicate veins, and we are very proud of that fact. It is also true that SS is OUR child.

Time to get back to my smart a$$ self, as I have a cold hearted reputation to protect. We saw the video below during lunch, and immediately thought that it is something SS would do. Funny stuff, if you are sick like us.

No comments: