Thursday, November 05, 2009

What I'm Reading

I'm not sure if I can get through this one or not. It is painful reading. I want to cry a lot. It reminds me of how my parents were treated when my twin died in utero. They were told to "forget" and focus on the child they had. They were young and sacred and had to buy a coffin, plan a funeral, and visit me during the tiny window of opportunity allowed in hopital NICUs in 1962. The pain never really healed. A friend, also a twin, had it worse. When we were both in our early 30s her Mom, told the same as mine--forget and focus on "the one" [and in this case "the one" had a birth defect of no lower right arm] finally crumpled from the stress and had a full breakdown that ended her teaching career.

As an adoptive Mom, I wish my kids had this type of birth mother. Instead their birth mother put Vodka and men first, children way down the list. Their file describes them as "skin and bones" when they entered the orphanage. At age 7 B still worse a few tops with snaps at the neckline--they were that small. In 7th grade P, although on the football team, was rated in the bottom 2% for size by his age. They did not have a mother who gave them up so they could have a more financially secure life. Even so, I don't doubt that in some way she did love them. I also wonder if she had more children after these two were taken away. If she DID care, why didn't she ever visit them? In Ukraine, it is not at all uncommon for children to be placed in an orphanage (i.e. "Children's Home) when times are hard. The early Soviet Unioni of Lenin championed State Children's Homes as a way of liberating women. It's a cultural difference that is hard to understand here, but there no one would have been concerned if they were voluntarily put there and the Mother would have been welcomed to visit them and keep her ties to them.

The "Girls Who Went Away" are part of a generation that, for the most part, are grandparents and even great-grandparents today. So much has changed. Clearly there are still many kids who land in foster homes who'd have had a better life if they had been adopted. Other young single Mothers do take on the task and do a heroic job. Many, many grandparents have been forced to re-enter the world of parenting little children. I'm not sure which is really right. I just wish my kids had this adoption story: "Your Mommy loved you so much, she gave you to us since she wasn't able to care for you." So much better than their well-remembered reality.

5 comments:

Leonie said...

I'm not sure I could read it either..and then there is the pain and grief of those who have had abortions..and how this sometimes affects their dealings with their nother, living children...

Hopewell said...

That, too, good point.

Jeanne said...

What an amazing book. Your blog post gives me plenty to ponder upon too.

Isn't it about time you read a comedy or something a bit more frivolous for a change?

Susan said...

That does sound like a really relevant book for you to read with your family situation ... but yeah, really heart-rending, too. I agree with Jeanne - stick a "light read" in there. I am always drawn to Merchant Ivory/dark/melancholy films. One day on a whim I watched Legally Blonde, and it was freeing, I tell you! Absolutely freeing :)
BTW - LOVE that your kids remember getting OCChild boxes while they were in the orphanage.

Hopewell said...

Oh, I do listen to a lot of lighter stuff in the car--the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Dick Francis, and some fun novels--don't worry!