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Adoption Blog: Melting Pot Family

When I Look at My Daughter, I May Always Think About Adoption



I've heard from other adoptive parents that, at some point, life with their adopted children just becomes life, and they don't think about adoption as much. This hasn't been true for me, and I started to think about why. When I look at my daughter, I am constantly struck by the miracle (which is both beautiful and painful) that brought her into our lives. I think frequently of her mother and the difficult choices she faced.
 
I feel blessed beyond compare on the one hand, and guilty and needing to give back on the other. I asked my husband if he shared these feelings and he replied, "No. For me it is simple -- she is my daughter and I adore her." For him and for my sons, it is that simple.
 
I wondered again why it isn't that simple for me. Maybe it is because I, as a mother, feel a unique connection to her other mother, given our shared experience. Maybe it is because I feel acutely the responsibility of providing for my daughter the life I believe her first mother would have wanted. The great joy I experience in being my daughter's mother leads to guilt; I try to put that guilt to good use by helping children and families in my daughter's birth country stay together and providing opportunities that might not otherwise be available.
 
Adopting our daughter changed me in so many ways. Not a day goes by that I don't spend some time thinking about it and what it means. My daughter, now five, is the one who can always pull me back into the moment.
 
One day when I was looking at her amazingly lovely little face, I asked her, "You are so beautiful. How can I be as beautiful as you?" Although it was a half-kidding, half-rhetorical question, she gave it some thought and answered in all seriousness: "Well, Mommy, you need big black eyes, brown skin, white teeth, and black curly hair." As I paused to consider these requirements, my second son, who was listening, chimed in, "All you have, Mom, is white teeth, unless you dye your hair black and make it curly." I couldn't help laughing at both of their statements.
 
I loved that my daughter identified her own features as making her beautiful. And my son's ability to state the obvious is always refreshing. My view of this process is my own and it is right for me. Just as my daughter's amazing features are right for her and are part of what makes her uniquely her.
 


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8 Comments

Great article! It’s now 4+ years since we adopted our daughter and there’s always something adoption-related that crosses my mind daily—it could be an opportunity to talk about her adoption, or a reminder to give a call to her birth mom, or just some thoughts about a post I read…

Since bringing our daughter home as a newborn, with each passing year, my awareness and perspective about adoption, adoptive moms, bio moms, adoptees… has grown. What I’m finding is this understanding… this openness is an ever-evolving, continous kind of thing. And that’s a very good thing for me and especially my daughter.

By Barbara Herel on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 5:50 pm.

Thank you Barbara,

I am glad to hear someone has had a similar experience to mine:)

I completely agree that my awarement and perspective of adoption—and all the inter-related issues involved—has grown tremendously.  I do think it benefits me as well as my daughter.  I also expect it will continue.  Best,

E

By Ellenore Angelidis on Saturday, June 01, 2013 at 1:06 pm.

Barbara, You write so beautifully.  Because I am of Germanic descent and my daughter is Vietnamese, I too marvel at her beautiful almond eyes, her silky black hair (which she unfortunately repeatedly took a scissors to!!) and her gorgeous skin color.  Now, my daughter is a teenager.  I have found through conversations with other adopted teens that many adopted children go through an identity struggle when they reach puberty.  “Who am I?”, they ask themselves.  They start to separate from their adoptive parents and look for differences other than the mere physical attributes.  Many find themselves unlovely and unloveable as they contemplate why the person who should have loved them the most did not choose to keep them. Yet, they don’t want to discuss their differences and long to fit in with other kids.  It is at this point, that the affects of adoption on the child make it impossible for parents to not view their child as adopted. You are wise to tell your daughter now how beautiful she is and how much you love her. I write this not to warn or scare, but as a mother who deeply loves her adopted daughter, yet is unable to make her understand that her adoptive nature does not define who she is and does not diminish her value.

By metanelson on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 6:55 pm.

Thank you very much for sharing metanelson.  I can feel your struggle and your love for your daughter coming through your words.  I know the road ahead may not always be smooth.  Hang in there. -E

By Ellenore Angelidis on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 9:57 am.

With all respect, the guilt is completely unnecessary and a waste of your time. Her birth mother NEEDED someone to be a mom to that little girl, and you did it. Why should there be guilt?

Just today I was reading in the newspaper and there was a 15 month old baby found in a trash bag along the side of the road. The baby had been neglected and starved to death and then literally thrown out like trash. I thought to myself, “If DSS had saved this abused child, and had I been that child’s foster/adoptive mother, this never would have happened.”

There are children out there who desperately need us, there is nothing to feel guilty about for giving them love, stability, a home, and a family.

By calledtoadopt222 on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm.

Calledtoadopt222,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I am not saying their should be guilt or that it is a useful emotion. Everyone has their own personal feelings and reactions to something as complex as adoption.  I am very glad I could be my daughter’s mom.  She is a complete joy in our lives.  My personal guilt comes more from all the inequity of opportunity in the world.  And my path has been one of relative privilege.  My response is to try to do my part to provide more opportunities through raising awareness, and promoting education and literacy efforts in her birth country.  The story you shared is tragic. Every child should have a family and be loved unconditionally.  Best,—E

By Ellenore Angelidis on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm.

ADOPTION IS ONE OF THE MOST SPECIAL THINGS IN A FAMILIES LIFE, ADOPTING CAN BE GOOD FOR FAMILES, IF THE MOTHER HAS HAD HEALTH PROBLEMS THAT CAUSED HER TO NOT HAVE ANY MORE CHILDREN OR SHE IS PAST THE AGE TO CONCIEVE, THEN ADOPTION IS THE BEST ALTERNATIVE, MY WIFE AND I HAVE TWO ADOPTED CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, WE DIDN’T ADOPT THEM BECAUSE WE FELT SORRY FOR THEM, BUT BECAUSE WE FELL IN LOVE WITH THEM AND HAVE THE RESOURCES AND KNOW DOCTORS WHO CAN TRY TO HELP THEM, AND WE ARE TRAINED TO WORK WITH SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS

By 2GAYMAMAS50 on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm.

ADOPTION IS MORE THAN A BLESSING, IT IS A MIRACLE, BARBARA, WHEN MY WIFE AND I LOOK AT OUR SEVEN CHILDREN AND SEE OUR TWO CHILDREN WE ADOPTED AND SEE THAT THEY HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS, WE DON’T CARE, WE LOVE THEM AS MUCH AS THE OTHER KIDS, SPECIAL CARE MEANS THAT YOUR CHILD IS SPECIAL, AND OUR TWO ARE, IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YUR DAUGHTER, BARBARA, GO TO HER, HUG HER AND LOOK IN HER FACE, SEE HOW SPECIAL SHE IS AND THANK GOD EVERY DAY THAT YOU HAVE HER

By 2GAYMAMAS50 on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 5:38 pm.

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Meet the Author

Ellenore Angelidis

Ellenore Angelidis



I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
Ethiopia

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