Friday, October 21, 2011

Guilty love

If you know me in "real life", you know that I have a fretful nature. I am not one of those people who easily "lets things go". When I get something in my head, I tend to let it stew around in there for a good long time, particularly at night when I'm supposed to be doing something useful, like sleeping.

When we started our first adoption process over three years ago, I was consumed with the idea of fulfilling my desire to add to our family by adopting a child from Ethiopia; a child who had lost her family and would blossom under the love of ours. Three years later, I know a lot more about the reality of adoption and have developed knowledge about attachment difficulties, kids from trauma backgrounds and the ethical issues that swirl around international adoptions.

Whew. Sometimes, it just makes me tired.

Because I do care about ethics in adoption, and I do care about what's right for the kids and birth families. I do. I lay awake worrying about it and our family has become passionate about the plight of kids and mothers in the third world.

I am constantly reading, reading, reading... discussions about adoption ethics, discussions about attachment, discussions about poverty. Some say that adoption is a crime against children; they should never be removed from their birth families or cultures. Some say it's a mandate of Christianity to adopt the orphans and place them in families. Some say that it's an elitist oppression against the third world. Some say it's a chance at a "better life". Some just don't care.

I'm tired. And guilty.

Why guilty? Because... I just love my adopted children so much. So much that my heart is almost bursting. Unconditionally, without reservation; just as I love my three older children. When I touch their precious heads while they're sleeping or hear their sweet giggles... I just feel love. Love.

Sometimes I just want to forget about all of the adoption baggage and just focus on the love.

I hate that my love is at the cost of their loss. Loss of family and culture due to complicated circumstances beyond the understanding of a little kid. But sometimes, I admit, I just want to feel that love. I don't want to think of all of the bigger issues, I just want to love them and hold them and revel in them. I want to feel that bond of love and family without feeling guilty about the family far away.

For what it's worth, I am a centrist when it comes to adoption. Adoption can be good; or it can be horribly wrong. Sometimes it is somewhere in the middle.

But love is good. And I love them so much. I just want to hold them and thank God for the gift of them and just bask in love. I don't have all of the answers; and I will keep asking questions and most likely fretting... but sometimes I just want to have all the love without the weight of the past. Even if that's unrealistic.