Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Part II: Second Mother

**This post is the second in a series about our adoption process to date.

So, I think we established in the last post that Sean and I are kind of jerks for adopting YH.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding --sort of. The fact is it really sucks all around that this sweet kid "needs" to be adopted. I am confident that our family will embrace him, and do our best to support him, and nurture him to grow into the best YH he can be. But it stinks that his first mother doesn't get the chance to do that.

I am not going to go into the specifics of how YH came to be available for international adoption but I will say that he was relinquished at birth. He spent a brief period of time in a reception center and then at 14 days old moved in with his foster family. His second mother, Mrs. S, is his primary caregiver. She spends every day with him--feeding him, sleeping with him on her chest, dressing him in ridiculously cute outfits, bathing him, wiping his nose, taking him for walks in the park--she is his everything.

See this picture?
This is me and my Sweet Bubs, when he was 25 months old. I spent pretty much every minute of his life physically connected to him. At this age Sweet Bubs was an extension of me--my heart outside of my body. You can *see* that in this picture.

Now see this?
This is a picture of YH and his Second Mother taken earlier this month (he is 23 months old). I won't show her face for privacy reasons but if you could see beneath the goofy pink heart you would see that *same* connection between her and YH. They share the same laughing expression in this photo. They are both in on the same joke, delighting in being wrapped up in one another.

I am committed to facilitating a relationship between YH and his Second Mother for as long as she is a willing participant. I can't imagine having to hand over the baby you have raised for two years to another family and I want to acknowledge that our joy is complicit in her grief. I can't prevent that grief but I can hopefully help ease the tidal pull of it by sending her updates and photos and "allowing" her to continue to love YH (and him to love her).

This concept of "allowing" someone to continue to love the child they have raised is a weird one (of course I don't have power over another woman's heart) but there are adoptive parents who feel it is in the child's best interest to cut off all ties with the foster family. There are adoptive parents who feel that since they are the "forever family" they have exclusive rights to their child's love and admiration. I think that's bullshit.  YH and Mrs. S will always be connected--and that's a good thing.


  1. Thanks for posting! We love Joel's foster parents and are so thankful that we can still connect. It is so bittersweet for them to raise these kids but then have to send them on. But I know when I met Joel's FM she was bragging to me about one of her foster kids who is now in college and had come to Korea to visit and gave her this could just tell how proud of him she was.

  2. Amen to that Nora. Our social worker (that famous social worker) brought up that communication might be difficult with the foster family due to language limitations and issues with technology (they may not be computer proficient). Maybe I'll ask on the forum about keyboard differences and whatnot. Can they figure out a Western keyboard and can we a Korean-language one? Just for email address purposes. Otherwise I can get a translator and of course pictures are the universal language.

    OK your blog is making me jealous. Off to resistate mine.

  3. Nora, I know that these reflections are helpful to families of all compositions. Thanks

  4. great post, nora! i hoping we continue our relationship with cb's foster family...they are such amazing people and we are so blessed to be connected to them. :)

    oh, and i passed a silly award on to you on my blog :) care to join in?

  5. As an adopted person myself, I think you're making a GREAT choice!!!

  6. Love this post. I happened to write about the same thing just the other night but I like how you said it better :).