A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Cogito, ergo sum
OmegaMom is a Thinker. If there's nothing else around to think about, she will analyze the language on a cereal box. (She'd read it first, of course--she's a fanatic about books as well.) Whenever someone posts one of those Myers-Briggs tests, OmegaMom takes it, just to see if anything has changed. Almost all the time, she shows up as an INTP, the "Architect", someone who analyzes things to death to try to understand them, looks at all sides of an issue, tries to inject some objectivity into online discussions, and Seeks Truth. (Woohoo. Doesn't that sound just damned snotty? Seeking Truth.) Anyways, INTPs are supposedly one of the most rare personality types; some sites claim only 1% of those tested test as this. Every once in a while, OmegaMom tests out as INFP instead; word has it that many INTP women turn towards INFP as they age (and become mothers, grandmothers). INFPs are rare as well. (So OmegaMom is not only snotty about Seeking Truth, but she boasts about being rare.) One of my theories is that a lot of folks who frequent internet bulletin boards and emails lists tend towards the "I" side of the personality types, and whenever one of these tests is tossed out as a topic of frivolity and/or conversation, the percentage of INTPs and INFPs is inevitably higher in the group than it is in the larger testing public. Which (in a roundabout way) brings me to the subject at hand. (No, the subject at hand is not personality types, or personality testing, or how rare and noble [that Seeking Truth thang] OmegaMom is [see my halo?] [ignore that post about how OmegaMom is secretly a Spiteful Loner].) On the various adoption lists, there is a certain amount of back-and-forth about The Issues Adopted Children Will Face. (Imagine a plummy-voiced male announcer reading that last phrase.) Questions are raised about attachment issues, long-term mental health of adoptees in general, how to handle racism for those in transracial adoptive families, how to promote familiarity--if not enthusiasm--for an internationally adopted child's country of origin, the balance between being open with your child about his/her origins versus overwhelming him/her with gory details, and how some adult international adoptees are seriously angry about the whole kit and kaboodle of international adoption. Et cetera. OmegaMom finds herself plumb in the middle of the "let's talk about these things, folks" faction. The problem is that some people seem to get their panties in a wad about how much this gets talked about. Hmmm. A little history is in order here. OmegaMom joined the Big Chinese Adoption List way back in either 1998 or 1999. Lemme tell you, back then, if you were foolish enough to be an adoptive parent whose child had attachment issues or suffered some type of serious special need or had physical problems diagnosed after adoption, and actually wrote about it on the list--well, hell, you'd think you were a Judas, a doomsayer, a literal wet blanket. People regularly were hounded from the lists for asking for help...and, as a result, more specialized lists such as Attach-China (and its associated website, Attach-China.Org) sprang up to support these folks. Times, they have a-changed. There's often frank and open discussion of these types of serious issues on the list now; it may be a factor that there are more children hitting the school years and adolescence, and their parents are ready and willing to discuss the issues. But any time one of these discussions comes up, and goes through its usual perigrinations, sooner or later someone will post something about how we're "over psycho-analyzing things" and we're "scaring new adoptive parents off" and "can't we post NICE stuff???" The writings of adult adoptees are regularly brushed off as being the spiel of angry, maladjusted adoptees. And the psychoanalyzers seem to be viewed as folks who wander around with mouthfuls of misery that they inflict on their kids, not allowing their kids to...well...just "be kids", and subconsciously (or very consciously) guiding their children to become obsessed with birthfamilies, birthcountry, and the injustices of racism. OmegaMom's motto is, "Be Prepared". Look. We do not spend our every moment following OmegaDotter around with a magnifying glass, hounding her about China, examining every action and word for evidence of attachment disorder. Our house is not some dark tomb wherein our poor dotter is imured. We're not sitting on our thumbs, expecting her to turn into an angry, maladjusted adult who cuts off all ties with us because we abducted her from her country of origin. What we do is we read. We find out what others have gone through. We listen to what adult adoptees have to say, and try and figure out what we might do to avoid the more angering issues that the adult adoptees write about. OmegaMom read up on attachment issues before we traveled to China. We hauled poor OmegaDotter about in a Maya Pouch (which is now adjustable, woohoo!) so that she was close to us at all times as an infant. We carried her a lot. We snuggled with her a lot. We didn't expect her to have issues, but we sure as hell realized she did have some. I'm glad that the lists are open enough so that we can discuss them with newbies without fearing a tar-and-feathering ride on a rail off the list. And that reading, that preparing, helped us deal with such issues as serious night terrors...fear of being alone...an interesting tendency on her part to react badly to being around Asian people as a baby (fear of being taken away?). OmegaMom felt empowered by having these resources. Some people may feel disempowered. Some people may feel that even thinking of bad outcomes will influence the end result; OmegaMom considers that "magical thinking". Far better to know in advance what signs and symptoms might indicate serious attachment problems, or encounters with racism in the outside world (unbuffered by being with the OmegaParents), or adolescent angst about "what race do I identify with", than to be broadsided by these things when they come along, feeling protected by the mantra that "all you need is love". Love helps, but it sometimes just isn't enough.
posted by Kate @ 1/31/2006 06:04:00 PM  
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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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