My name is Zeina Sultan, I am an adoptive mother of 3 from Kuwait. I am raising 2 daughters and one son. Since Kuwait is a Muslim Country we do not have adoption; we are more of caregivers - If I may call it - the only difference is that being caregivers we cannot give the children our family name and they will not inherit us. There is no such thing as open adoption in Kuwait, we know nothing about our children, most of them are found at mosques, parking lots, or on the street. Almost in all cases the parent are unknown because children are not born in hospitals, but everywhere else depending on how much support the birth mother has and children with known mothers are not given out for adoption.
In my case, my first two were born to unknown families. So they get all their papers on time - birth certificate, passport and ID. My third daughter (2 years old) has a case in the court because they suspect the mother is known.. and again because she gave in a fake ID when she delivered her daughter. So this little one will never get any papers until her case is settled and she's titled as a child of unknown parents. It's not a fast procedure, I insisted on taking her so as to give a chance to get educated.
On pp 17-18, Jennifer talks about a baby searching for her mother after being born. How did this sensory-rich passage strike you? What thoughts did it trigger about the role you play in adoption?
This is not the first book where I read that same info.. it shocked me the first time.. and struck me every time I read it.. such a painful feeling. I thought back to my kids. The second book I read, was a research done on adopted children, and the idea has been proven to be true.. the baby looks for his birth mom.. the baby has memory of her scent, and heart beat.. again, I look back at my children and remember clearly how my daughter Noor had a melt down when she first met my in laws.. and had a few several unexplainable incidents afterwards.
I remember clearly how my son woke up every night at a certain hour crying continuously.. as if he fell off the bed.. and I could not calm him.. I just held him tightly and told him how much I loved him.
I still get tears in my eyes thinking how painful is the emptiness of that spot. The birth mom's spot.. it does not get smaller, it will never go.. will always be there, saved for her.
I am grateful to have read this from Jennifer - an adoptee. She sort of confirmed what I had previously read.. and I believe now I have a very good reason telling my kids about being adopted and their birth family.. it will help them understand why they are different, feel better - I hope - having my support.. and hopefully they will appreciate my honesty one day.
My question is about Jennifer's early adoption narrative as "God's gift". because I see my adopted son as a gift from God. Jennifer turns this metaphor on its ear when after hearing her brother's declaration, "You're adopted and gypsy trash". She seems to suggest that that early narrative was misleading and, ultimately, the cause of her feelings of inadequacy and failure because she was unable to save her mother's life. How do you talk your children about their adoption story, particularly when they are very young and unable to grasp all of life's complexities?
I totally agree with Jennifer regarding the God's gift issue.. I never thought it a good idea.. They have the right to know the truth.. they need to figure out how to deal with it.. and you'll be happy to be there to help. And remember that the shortest way is always the best way of saying something.. we have a saying in Arabic: always start with what you fear most, and if it was painful there is no "easier" way to explain something painful. You can always show your support, love and understanding. They will always need their space, and it'll be helpful to remember that they are not a copy of you, but different individuals who need to find out who they are.. love and lots of love, acceptance and support are what they need most.
The second issue I found useful with my children was me dealing with my personal issues of infertility and the "why me" feeling. Especially that I've always been surrounded by children, taking care of them and baby sitting, teaching…etc. My dream has always been having 12 kids. Once I got my personal issues cleared, I became more creative with their feelings and issues.. I was able to help them better.
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