FIRST: I'm sorry I've been MIA. I've tried to read and honestly, I've tried to comment but blogger has been giving me fits. So I wouldn't blame you if you have stopped reading, but I've had this post in draft form for a while, and it rolls around in my brain a lot, so here it is...
It's a loaded word, for me anyway.
I used to rant and rave about using the term 'blessed' when describing someone having a baby. Because it must mean that me, barren as a log, was decidedly unblessed because I couldn't procreate. And who wants to be called unblessed? Hearing that term cut through my heart like a knife. I wanted the word 'blessed' replaced with 'lucky' because I could deal with being unlucky, but unblessed? No thanks.
And now I hear the term lucky being tossed our way quite often. Nearly everyone comments on how our babies are so lucky. I don't mean here, in the comments section, and even if the word did crop up there that wouldn't bother me because my readers tend to get it.
It's the general public. They learn our babies are adopted (I mean, it's pretty obvious) and if they learn they are Ethiopian they immediately say how lucky they are, usually with a big smile, and sometimes an actual pat on my back, and always one that is implied. Ick.
I don't correct them because if I did, it would go something like this, and I'd probably be carted off to the looney bin.
Lucky? No, they are not lucky. They suffered a loss that is unimaginable to most. They are separated from their birth family. In an ideal world, the first choice, barring a safety issue or a complete inability to provide loving care, is that children are raised by their birth parents. Second choice is always other family. Third choice is another family in their home country, in their culture--domestic adoption. Then it gets down to orphanage care versus international adoption and I think it's pretty obvious that international adoption into a loving family has many benefits over institutionalized care. But no, they are not lucky. They got the fourth choice. The fourth one down the list.
We were the fourth choice. And I don't think anyone ever feels lucky when they get their fourth choice.
But if I said all of that people would wonder why the hell I adopted (and why do I still get my feelings hurt over the fact that it feels like most of my infertile peeps will do anything but adopt?).
I know it's confusing. Because I do believe in international adoption as a way--the fourth choice way-- to provide a family to a child who would otherwise be raised in institutional care. But I will never, ever think of it as the ideal choice.
And yes, I understand that there might be benefits to living in the U.S. over Ethiopia--improved life expectancy (by decades), improved access to education and opportunity, etc. etc. But actually---even that gives me pause. Taking someone from a country where people are satisfied and happy with much, much less and introducing them to our vulgar consumerist nation (and yes, I know I could work really hard to raise little non-consumerists but right now I'm just happy to have two babies that might start sleeping through the night consistently and don't throw their food across the room) isn't ideal either. And yes, as far as families go I do think Mr. MTL and I will make decent parents. So I understand why people immediately think our babies are lucky, on the surface.
But the more I am with them, the deeper my love grows for them, then the more deeply I am able to get a sense of the pain of their young lives. Of the immense loss and grief that will always, always color their world. And it's more heartbreaking than I could have ever imagined.
Some days I watch them, playing innocently, laughing and discovering and taking sheer delight in the pleasures of being an infant. And my heart starts to hurt. I think I'm having a heart attack. Because I know, I know they will not be this innocent forever. Soon they will know. And it will hurt. And I can't do one thing to make it not hurt.
I am not foolish enough to ever think we can 'make up' for their loss of culture. Making up for their loss of birth parents isn't even on the radar because that's an impossible task. Impossible.
If you don't understand that and you have fertility issues then try to imagine what would 'make up' for the loss of your fertility.
Their job is NOT to make up for the loss of our fertility and our job is not to make up for the loss of their birth parents, their culture, their everything. Our job is just to parent them the very best way that we can. To love them with our whole hearts. To allow them their grief and sorrow, to hold their hands through it, to be aware.
They are not lucky.
But we are.