October 31, 2010

Things I Don't Have to Think About Today

Today I don't have to think about leaving the medical history form blank.
Today I don't have to think about a file folder full of information about my early life that I'm not allowed to know.
Today I don't have to think about not getting a passport or a driver's license because my birth certificate "isn't quite right."
Today I don't have to think about not knowing my actual birthday.
Today I don't have to think about being a minority in my own family.

Today I don't have to think about those who decide when and if I get to see my child.
Today I don't have to think about a file folder full of information about my child's life that I'm not allowed to know.
Today I don't have to think about how to answer the question, "How many children do you have?"
Today I don't have to think about a medical professional treating me differently when I answer their questions about pregnancies and number of children at home.
Today I don't have to think about the things they say to my child about me when I'm not there.

Today I don't have to think about politicians debating my right to my original birth certificate.
Today I don't have to think about being deported to a country I don't remember because my parents didn't file a form.
Today I don't have to think about falling in love with someone I have no way of knowing is a genetic relative.
Today I don't have to think about the dollar amounts that were assigned to me because of how I looked, how old I was, or what was in my medical past.
Today I don't have to think about not knowing the name spoken over me at my birth.

Today I don't have to think about people using one of the most painful decisions of my life as ammunition in their debate over abortion.
Today I don't have to think about those who tell me it's confusing or harmful for my own child to know me.
Today I don't have to think about whether people profited from my personal crisis.
Today I don't have to think about people in my life thinking less of me when they find out.
Today I don't have to think about those who believe I'm unworthy of raising any children now.

Today I don't have to think about someone from my family possibly out there searching for me.
Today I don't have to think about whether I'd be breaking state law by reaching out to a relative.
Today I don't have to think about being considered the unofficial spokesperson for adoption.
Today I don't have to think about being written off as "angry" or "bitter" for having feelings about my own life experiences.
Today I don't have to think about being told I should be grateful.

Today I don’t have to think about how much people expect to stay hidden.
Today I don’t have to think about how much stigma keeps hold.
Today I don’t have to think about all the things I don’t have to think about.
But today I will.

All credit (and I do mean all) for the structure, concept, and closing items of this list goes to author John Scalzi and his post of the same title, in which he tried to step outside his daily experience as someone with many layers of overlapping privilege. (Hat tip to OmegaMom for pointing me to it.) It, of course, got me thinking of adoption-related items I would add to his list. All credit for any clumsiness in the execution goes to me.

This is my list of things about which I--an adoptive parent who was not adopted and is not a first parent--don't have to think. Your own list will almost certainly not match mine. There are people who have to think about some of these items for reasons other than adoption. And of course not all individual first parents or adopted persons think about all (or even any) of the things I listed.

13 comments:

Lisa said...

This is a good list. It reminds me that there are many, many dimensions of adoption that we don't think about much in everyday life. But they are still there. And they still affect our children in one way or another as they grow and come to understand more about themselves and how they came to be a part of our families.

SocialWrkr24/7 said...

Wow.

I am going to go work on my own list right now.

Patti said...

Thank you. As a first mom, thank you. I'm going to link to this on my blog, and expand on a few.

Jess said...

I'm going to repost, tweaked. Hope you don't mind, I'll totally credit you and John. :)

luna said...

a wonderful list. going to check the original. thanks for sharing.

Barely Sane said...

Awesome post.

Steph said...

Very powerful. Thank you so much for sharing this. I would also like to link this on my blog.

redzils said...

This is powerful. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Man, really want to know how can you be that smart, lol...great read, thanks.

Anonymous said...

To add for you:
Today I don't have to think about how much people don't think I think about all these things

Penelope said...

Great list. We are celebrating National Adoption Month with an Adoption Blog Hop. Come add your story.
http://foster2forever.blogspot.com

Lavonne said...

so powerful. i'm going to link to this.

Carrie said...

I really love this list. It should be required reading for all adoptive parents, once a year (minimum). And all legislators, come to think of it. Your empathy is palpable. Thank you.

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