Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rapid changes, slow blogging

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately. AwesomeCloud has been making great strides in all areas, especially speech. And in boundary-testing. He's still not a little toddler terror, but he is keeping me on my toes and defying various house rules to varying degrees at various times.

His infectious laugh forces everyone to forgive him, though... most of the time.

I have a few momentous blog posts in mind, and one or two have already been started. Whether they'll ever see the light of day is anyone's guess. I compose them in my mind while I'm doing other things, but by naptime, I no longer feel like typing them in.

Cloud is turning three, which marks a bunch of developmental milestones, plus some adoption timeline milestones too. By 3/26, he will have been a member of our family for as long as he wasn't. 18 months in a Chinese orphanage; 18 months in a Cape Cod family. Pretty exciting.

I feel guilty for not blogging this chapter of our life better. I feel like I owe it to my son to record this time in his life for posterity. I can't give him a moment of his first 18 months of life, but the second 18 months have been unfolding with me present to witness it, every moment, every day, and I want to save it all for him.

But I hate making videos, and I can only blog so much, and I'm going to have to trust that I'm already saving enough memories for him.

There are so many things in life that I will never be able to give him.

I will never be able to answer his questions about his original family. I'll never know why they let go of him. I can't reassure him that their reasons were sound, because I don't know what their reasons were.

I can never give him the ability to blend anonymously into the crowd - not while we live in White Person Central, and not if we move to Chinese-filled China. When it comes to race, our family is conspicuously mixed. Mostly, that's okay. We don't have to blend in every moment. But when you never blend in at any moment, the whole act of blending in takes on a greater meaning. I'm used to blending in; I did it all my life until recently. I can't give my son that kind of foundation. Race will be relevant to him right from the start.

I can't teach him about his heritage. We'll have to learn about Chinese culture together, as a family, as outsiders.

I can't teach him witty ripostes to schoolyard bullying and badgering, because I don't know how to do that stuff myself. The best I can do is teach him geek pride, and hope it sticks.

I can't provide every mentor he'll ever need. His dad and I can guide him through many of the important lessons in life, but when it comes time for him to see what an Asian-American can do, I can only hope there will be some Asian-Americans around for him to look up to. I'm working on that.

I can't offer him any birth stories, genetic history, or genealogy.

I can't protect him from the deeply disturbing and brutal history of his anonymous ancestors, and I'm not going to try. I doubt anything really terrible ever happened to my bloodline, not since the Samnites held off the encroaching Holy Roman Empire in the rough terrain of the Abruzzi mountains. It's very unlikely that my son's bloodline had nearly as much comfort and security as mine.

I shouldn't dwell on the things I lack. Life is tough. Nobody has everything they want. The good thing about being born into an imperfect situation is that you can always strive to make it better.

But it's a mother's instinct to provide a perfect life for her child. No one wants to see her child struggle. But all humans struggle. I struggle. Don't you?

I worry because someone I know has a daughter who struggles with adoption and race issues. Because in the age of blogging, I can read dozens of people's innermost thoughts about their struggles. I can learn all about adoption identity issues without ever having been adopted, without needing to lose my parents for even a second. I can read and ponder and empathize, and then I can anticipate my son experiencing the same struggles.

I knew this would happen. I wouldn't have adopted blindly. This is all well within expectations. Adoption involves a lot of personal loss and trauma. I just have to find the right balance between learning about it and coping with it.

I should blog more. Or at least, I should blog well. I'm trying.

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