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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A search? Would appreciate input...

My head is swirly...

Maybe it's the overexposure to all these therapy sessions, or the school year winding down, or my many many appointments as I get T&J evaluated for head-start preschool next year...  (You mean they would go to school on a SCHOOL BUS?  Get the Kleenex ready!)

But here is what is consuming my thoughts lately.  Birth parents...
Heavy hu?
Papa himself was adopted as a wee baby.  And I don't know how God does it, but God found Papa's mama and papa and family, and through Him, 11-day-old Papa was placed in Granna's arms.  Not a child of her womb, but HER child all the same.  God's handiwork is miraculous.
And now we are into the second generation of adoption, and God has placed T&J with us.

Tess and Jujube were both abandoned in the hospital just after birth.  Their mothers gave birth and left their babies behind.  These two woman provided information about themselves, like their name, address, age, (one was a young woman and the other an older mom with several other children) and marital status.  But the police investigation to locate these woman stated that this information is at least partially false.  We don't know which parts were false.  The information is just incorrect enough to not be able to find these women.  This is not an unusual way for a woman to give up her child for adoption in VietNam.  Sadly, it's common. And my thoughts frequently turn to the two woman that gave this precious gift to us.  We'll NEVER know the circumstances that brought these two women to make the agonizing decision to leave their children.  But I KNOW with 100% certainly that these two women made of this decsion out of LOVE.  Any woman that has birthed or held her child and felt that child grow within her womb knows what I am saying.  Even under the most adverse circumstances, we are mothers.

And they are T&J's birthmothers.  I wonder if they wonder...
I wonder if T&J will have questions... that I certainly can not answer.  They will.

And I wonder about my responsibility to T&J to teach them who they are.

So now we consider embarking upon a search to find their birth mothers.  Should we?  Yes?  No?  Maybe?  Under certain parameters?  Thoughts?  (Chris?  Michelle?  You're so full of wisdom.)  I almost feel it a duty to do all we can on T&J's behalf just in case they wonder.  But Papa seems to have a different perspective.  He's not against a search for their birth mothers.  But he sees no urgency.  Papa contacted his birth mother just after Sunny was born.  He said his choice to do so had so much to do with being a father himself and the idea that a birth parent just wouldn't know how that child is.  I will not share his personal details, but this was an encounter that left him a bit empty and ever so grateful of God's plan for him.  But I think this information, ANY information that we can give T&J about who they are and where they come from is good.  What they do with it, is their choice.  And now that I just laid that down in print, I realize that I heard almost those same words from Granna, spoken to Papa, 15 years ago.  Papa chose to make contact with his birth mother.  His choice.  She only gave him the information.  I think Tess and Jujube deserve the same?  Are there exceptions to the rule?

I would love some discussion from the adoption mamas and just mamas in general.  As you've probably noticed, I'm a bit ambivalent.

PS-My photography protege, Livy, is learning to focus with a short DOF!  Good girl, Livy!  Not sure I like me and all my flaws, but your skills behind the camera are getting better every day!  That's MY girl!


  1. Whew boy, Heavy Stuff indeed. Have you seen the movie Adopted? It isn't available many places but we did get it on Netflix. A few adoption agencies are starting to require it as a part of education/training. It is a short but impactful documentary that made me think about an adopted child's wish to connect with a birth parent. Also, a very short but inspiring read is called My Father's Daughter. It is the memoir of an adult international adoptee trying to track down her birth family. Both have had me thinking about this stuff lately.

    All I know, is that if I had info, I would do all I could to track them down. I don't know if the urgency is there except perhaps if more time passes it could get harder to find them. Even if the answers you find don't end in a delightful reunion. It's worth a shot, whenever you feel the timing is good. I think it would be a great comfort to T and J to know you cared enough to try. That you love their birth mothers and understand what it would mean to them to have more information.

    Good luck.

  2. Also, nice shot Livy. At least she has J in focus and you nicely blurred. ;)

  3. hmm, I was thinking I would share Tom's story, but one of the things I learned through his search was that it was HIS search. No matter how much I tried to understand or help-it didn't help because I was not adopted and don't have the ability to feel those things he felt at that time in life (coincidentally just after our first born also!), and I was instructed by the PI to let him do it all alone. That time has past, and no contact was made, but he has a little more data and some peace, and sheer thankfulness for the life God had planned for him also...He even kinda looks like his dad don't you think?!

  4. Wow...very heavy in deed. At least you have some information. We have none for Tori...I wonder many times how she will handle this as she is older. Not sure what I would do at this point, but save the information in a safe spot...and when they are ready I think I would help with a search using the information. Not sure I could or would do it now. Only you can decided. Will you do a homeland trip some day. We hope to in about 8-10 years. Maybe closer to then so if you find them, you might get a chance to meet them. So many options. Go with your gut.

  5. I think about B's birth mother many times daily and go over and over if there is any way possible to someday find her, or at least learn anything more about the circumstances of B's abandonment since we have next to nothing to go on. I was so hoping for a referral from Lang Son since the chances for relinquishment were higher, but of course I wouldn't trade my daughter for anything. Along with this miraculous and incredible human being came a boatload of questions and seemingly no paths to answers. I think first of all that there's no need for you to do this until T&J express an interest themselves. And then it's your duty to support them any way you are able to, including the preparation that they may very, very well come up empty-handed. Then there's the whole "careful what you wish for" aspect, but I guess our perspective as parents on this cannot be compared to a child's questioning his very self. Vietnam, even though it in some ways feels like a second home to me, is a land and a culture so different from ours and I'm not sure it's ever possible to find out something that's 100% for sure in a case like adoption, especially if you're an "outsider" or can't speak the language yourself. I ran your question by a Vietnamese friend of mine tonight and she said "Americans always have to know everything and intellectualize. Sometimes it's just luck." I asked her if she meant our good luck as adoptive parents or the birth parent's bad luck? She replied "Either one. It's just luck." This word means such a different thing to me since I've met Quynh. I do wonder if MPN could give you any advice for if and when T&J's time comes to search. I think it's wonderful that T&J will have their Papa's experience to help them through as well. One more example of "Lucky parents. Lucky babies."

  6. I'll be honest with you. When I started out the adoption journey it was for China. Vietnam snuck in there and happened so fast. I knew that with China we would never know about birth parents. I was shocked when I found out the process in VN and how some birth families are present at the G & R. This made me worry. Then we got the call about Linhsey and the woman said, " And she is TRULY abandoned!" like it was an exciting thing. I thought, " Oh good." Silly me. I was younger, less wise, naive, selfish even... I just wanted my daughter...desperately.
    I most definitely would like to find L's birth family. Anyone. So email me please! I talked to a woman this past winter who traveled with us. She was very interested in this as well, but we just didn't know how to go about doing it. She has another daughter from Cambodia and she DID find her birth parents. She has pictures of them. They have sent them money. Our little ones are going to have questions and it's going to tear my heart in two not having those answers.
    And that picture is beautiful. Frame it!

  7. Oh Trish, it is a tough one. BUT...we made the word "adopted" a part of Tim and Tom's life. Of course T & J will know something is a little different from the blond blue eyed brothers and sisters. T & J will think about it early on. On his birthday when Tim was four he came out of his bedroom all dressed up for his party and as he buckled his belt he looked up at me and said "I wonder if my other Mother is thinking about me today"? I hugged him tight and said "of course she is" sent him off to play and promptly went to my room and cried that had such heavy stuff in his heart and mind. I thank God all the time for the Mom's that gave me my boys...then God gave me a girl in a different way. Who is in control? Help Tess and Jude when they are older and interested. All they want to know now is that YOU love them...and they do.

  8. Hey--not being adopted, I can only speak to those situations which I have intimate knowledge of. 2 to be exact. One has no desire to meet, or know anything about her birth family. It absolutely does not appear on her radar. The other was more like TIm. She looked and found while pregnant w/her first child. It was an experience that left her empty, to say the least. Be sure, if you do go forward with any of this, that you are doing what they would wish, not your wishes, imposed on them. It can seem very hard to believe, but not everyone feels like you do. They may have wishes, and imaginations as children, but they are just children. As adults, they may not have any curiosity at all. You are looking at things from a completely different angle than they are. What you think they deserve and that they need may be completely different from what they want. Just my 2 cents.

  9. i think about this often too. our son is from VN and we are still waiting to adopt from CN.

    things have not changed in hundreds of years in VN, people don't move far from their villages. that will be helpful in the future if you started looking.

    however, i don't think it is a bad thing for you to start looking now. to have that info now, to possibly help their families financially or if they would like, occasional send updates of the kids.

    I would take that info and tuck it away for the future. they may never ask for it, but if they do you will have it. my only worry would be if you found 1 and not the other. would that matter? Often times girls seem to want to find birth family more then boys.

    please let us know what your family decides.


  10. We most definitely would like to find Emma's birth family some day. However, first steps first and the hard times are to come when Emma starts to ask questions and realize she is adopted. It will be a fine line to walk - I do not want Emma feeling sorry for herself because she is adopted....we all are born into this world with crosses to bear. I know not knowing your birth mother and father would be such a sad thing and I am not belittling that, but I feel my job as her adoptive mother will be to make her appreciate her life as it is and to not be angry or bitter over the "what ifs." Does that make sense? That is going to be so very hard for me, as right now whenever I think of Emma being left at the orphanage and the questions surrounding it, I start to cry myself. I feel so badly for her, so it will be difficult not to transfer these feelings to her. I am determined not to. I will cry with her and talk with her all the time but I want her to be accepting of her fate and to make the most of her life. When the time comes, my husband and I will scour the back roads of Vietnam with Emma searching for her roots if that is what she wants. There are some agencies that specialize in finding birth families in can see them every now and again on some of the yahoo message boards. I truly empathize with you, Nancy, regarding all of this.

  11. Trish-in response to your reply from my comment, I don't know. I don't feel "qualified" to give advice on this subject! I would say having as much info as you can to offer them when they do come and ask, if they ever do, probably would be helpful, but leave the timing up to them when they are old enough to understand and handle the info that you may or may not have. Leave it up to them at that point and be back seat support if they want or need your help???? Wow, that's a tough one, sorry I really feel like I am not in any position to offer advice either way or take a stance. But, I do know how lucky you are to have eachother!


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