Sunday, June 22, 2008

The grass is always greener...

Today at lunch I had a conversation with Jellybean and Peanut that reminded me about just how complicated all this adoption stuff is. Sometimes adoption seems simple. Kids who need a home find a place to call home with parents who want children. These parents bring the kids into their home and promise to love them and treat them no differently than if they had arrived biologically. But the truth is, adoption is complicated. Especially when you add in the children's "memories" of their previous life.

I know (and have known for some time) that Jellybean and Peanut have a very romanticized view of their life in Ghana. According to their memory, they always had lots of good food, they never had to eat yucky "begetables", they had lots of fun toys, they never had to share, they never got in trouble, and they had as many comforts of home as you would need or want.

But, the truth is, they arrived at Eban House with bellies distended from malnutrition. They both had parasites living in their bellies from drinking unclean water. They didn't have to share, because they simply didn't have anything. They didn't get into trouble because no one was watching over them during the day to keep them safe.

I know that some of their memories are confused with their time at Eban House. They were loved there. They were treated well. They had lots of food to eat (probably for the first time ever). They had toys and other kids to play with. They had lots of Aunties who watched over them to keep them safe.

I find myself walking a fine line some days. I want them to love Ghana and to remember it fondly. I want them to remember their birth family and to love them. I love that they are in a place where they can glamorize their time in Ghana...and I LOVE that they can look back on their time in Eban House so fondly. How many children can look back on their time in a children's home and have these memories? I am fine with them thinking that Ghana is a land of perfection. I'm ok with them having inaccurate memories right now. I know that someday they will realize their memories aren't exactly truthful.

I know that someday they will understand what their situation in Ghana really was. But for now, I'm ok with them thinking they've always lived a charmed life. When they ask me questions, I always answer them honestly (to the best of my ability). When they asked me today why they went to Eban House I told them the truth. I told them that their birth family couldn't afford to keep them. They didn't have money for food. They didn't have money to go to the doctor when they got sick. They didn't have money to buy clothes. They didn't have money to send them to school. They were afraid they couldn't keep them safe and healthy. So they made a difficult decision to bring them to Eban House and ask the aunties at Eban House to help them find a new mommy and daddy in America. I explained to them that they (Jellybean and Peanut) did nothing wrong. It wasn't their fault. They weren't bad boys. They weren't brought to Eban House because no one loved them. They were brought to Eban House because they loved them so much they wanted them to have more opportunities than they could provide.

It is hard to walk this line sometimes. Its hard to want them to keep these glamorous memories for a while, yet still tell them the truth. I know with every bit of truth, a little bit of air is being released from the bubble they've created in their minds....Its hard to hear that everything in Ghana was great when I'm having a particularly difficult day handling two little boys who think that life in America isn't all its cracked up to be. But, I know that there are two little boys who go to bed each night with full tummies, surrounded by lots of toys, with a mom and a dad who love them deeply watching over them. And I am forever thankful that I get to be that mom.


Jim & Laurel said...

Great post! Thanks for your honesty! We're walking that walk right with you.


Nic and Megan Olson said... said it so well! Adoption is wonderful, difficult, and complicated. There is just so much raw emotion involved. It has been our prayer for our children that the challenges their adoptions come with will not be stumbling blocks for them, but stepping stones through which they can more clearly understand their heavenly adoption into God's family someday.

Thank you for sharing!

ManyBlessings said...

I think you are doing the right thing. Your children will be blessed because of it.

A. Gillispie said...

I just loved this post Chanda. I don't think I've ever read a blog post about this and it certainly isn't something that is that uncommon!

I just want to mention that Samren TOTALLY romanticizes his time in Vietnam. Of course he was only there for 5 months of his life, but he isn't at all ready to accept that those 5 months were spent in less than ideal circumstances. He tells stories about how he at mac and cheese every day (his favorite food), went to Disney Land, etc. Of course his birth mom and dad were the ones who did all of these wonderful things with him. At 6.5 years he know that it didn't really happen that way, but he's not ready to admit it out loud yet.

On the other hand, Taevy has decided that Cambodia must be the most sad desperate place ever. THAT makes me sad. She always talks about how if she was in Cambodia she would be starving and alone.

It's hard to find that balance--at least I find it hard! One kid thinks it was disney land in his original country and the other thinks that it was hell on earth. I wonder what Bright will think?