I wasn’t going to blog for this week’s ‘The Adoption Social’ theme ‘Loss’. Debates in the media around loss and adoption have got rather clunky lately and are dominated by the impact of loss of birth family (for what greater loss is there than blood ties). Adoption is coming to be equated with loss and I’m not sure where that leaves me and mine. Frankly I’ve been feeling rather grumpy about it.
The loss that challenges our (adoptive) family every single day hasn’t been caused by the act of adoption itself but by the loss of innocence. As a child, to know the fragility of life, to know invisibility, to have given up on being cared for and on being someone else’s number one consideration is the ultimate loss and it’s a game changer. In William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ seventeenth century adult pre-occupations and beliefs stamp all over childhood. Open any newspaper on any day for evidence of our century’s version of the loss of innocence.
No, for our family at least modern-day adoption isn’t the loss. Adoption, if it done properly, is the repair: the careful and sometimes desperate process of reclaiming and nurturing what’s left of childhood. It isn’t blind to blood and history (it can’t be) and it isn’t sacrificing childhood on the alter of blood and history either.