Family reunification & resistance

I went to the Nebraska state capital for the “Families Belong Together” rally. In this time of heightened fear-mongering that may well lead to a surge in state crimes against humanity, I felt it was important to be counted, and to stand with my neighbors.

The crowd, I have to tell you, was overwhelmingly white. Even so, it was heartening to witness people of all ages, from children to grandparents, apparently united in our opposition to Trump’s family separation and detention policies. It was empowering to feel so unified against Trump’s increasingly brash white nationalist agenda.

But let’s ask ourselves–were we really united? Unfortunately, I didn’t get the impression that most of my good white neighbors at the rally see the Trump agenda in such racially charged terms. It sounded like many of my fellow protesters mainly felt morally outraged and dismayed. And justifiably so. But from what I heard and witnessed, many of them lack the political clarity that would have been evident had the crowd consisted of a majority of people of color. For example, the rallies I saw on the news in cities such as Oakland, Chicago, New York City, and Atlanta sounded quite a bit rowdier and angrier than the largely white rally I attended.

It’s tempting to believe that those of us who didn’t vote for him are all on the same team, just because we “oppose” Trump. But we don’t even analyze the problems posed by his administration in the same way. That’s part of the problem of organizing an effective resistance.

Because I live in the Heartland, I mingle with many kindhearted white people of conscience, every day. Yet few of them have a highly developed analysis of oppression, even though many of them no doubt see themselves as allies. I daresay they represent the majority of white Americans across this vast country. I mean, I don’t think most white Americans are overtly racist. But I do think, unless they are intimately involved with aware people of color on a regular basis, they have no clue what’s really going on in communities of resistance (or what some people call “minority” communities).

I think we all could benefit from having more politically aware friends of color with whom to discuss what’s going on. The more politically-conscious individuals from oppressed groups in our social networks, the more likely we will be able to understand the anger and anxiety growing among communities of resistance. If aware people of color are absent from our daily interactions, I doubt if we will ever develop political clarity about the ways white supremacy governs daily life.

Let me try to be even clearer: Most good people of conscience and of privilege just don’t–or can’t–see Trump as a straight up white nationalist. But most of the people of color I talk to do. That’s the divide. For a long time, even I didn’t want to see him that way. Many individuals (like my working class, adopted African American sons, and my vulnerable immigrant friends), know that he’s a racist. Especially those who aren’t buffered from the more blatant effects of racism, as I am. In discussions of the current immigration debate, I have to own the privilege I receive, for instance, being a light-skinned, English-speaking, non-Muslim, middle class professional, U.S. citizenship-bearing male.

People who live immersed in communities of resistance understand implicitly that Trump’s policies reinforce a white nationalist agenda. I mean, there’s a reason he is the champion of nationalists who feel victimized by the growing brown menace. Why is that so hard for us as adoptive parents (and for some of us as highly educated, professional transracial adoptees, for that matter) to understand? Because our comfort numbs us. Our privilege blocks us from breaking through to a heightened level of  awareness, not to mention, a real sense of urgency.

If we are going to step up as allies, we all must learn to see Trump’s actions as a direct assault on parents who are simply trying to save their kids from dangerous situations in their home countries. They are under assault because they are poor, brown, and non-English-speaking. That’s classic American racism. Resisting oppression means refusing to go along with white supremacy, plain and simple. Resistance means refusing to take part in the roundup of “undesirables.” Resistance calls us to  unite our voices to proclaim, “No!” to family separation.

But after the rallies are over, resistance calls us to take up the ideological work of controlling the narrative. We don’t have to let the authorities of the white nation-state tell the story the way they want to. We can reject their dominant discourse. We can redirect it deliberately, and tell the story in our own words, and more importantly, in ways that reflect the concerns of the communities in resistance of our loved ones.

To allow the authorities, such as attorney general Jeff Sessions, to talk about the so-called “border” only in terms of law and order supports the dominant paradigm. To let them get away with talking about immigration mainly as a legal issue gives too much power to the white nation-state.

We can teach ourselves and our neighbors to take the side of the oppressed. We can learn to think of what’s going on as a humanitarian crisis. It’s not merely a question of politely standing in line to wait one’s turn to enter the United States “legally.” As the author, Mary Pipher, pointed out at the Nebraska rally, I’m pretty sure each of us would break the law –especially an unjust one–if it meant we could save the life of our child.

To empathize only with the suffering children, and not include their parents, is not resistance. Of course we want to take them into our arms and comfort them. It shouldn’t be surprising that many of us want to take them away from those awful cages and bring them into our homes. As North Americans, we tend to see ourselves as the great saviors of the downtrodden. The poem on the Statue of Liberty bolsters this identity:  “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…” Our national identity as Americans remains wrapped up in sentimental notions of rescue and refuge. Focusing on the heart-wrenching images of suffering children feeds into our national savior complex.

I bought into it, and adopted needy children from foster care. So, I’m not pointing a finger at anyone, nor am I sitting in judgment of parents who open their homes to vulnerable kids. I’m trying to expose the way our good intentions, as parents–our well-meaning desires to do the right thing–are continually manipulated by what many of us have come to recognize as the racist child removal / foster care / adoption industry.

Resistance calls us to support family reunification. But reuniting the children of detained parents will be a messy process. Foster parents and adoptive parents who humbly received one of the children from the current crisis may find themselves in court, down the road. As more and more of these cases surface in the news, it will be a difficult moral dilemma to know whose side to take.

Will we stand with comparatively privileged foster parents and adoptive parents who were only trying to help? Or will we stand with the traumatized and deported migrant parents whose kids were ripped away from them, after they came to the U.S. seeking asylum?

Can foster and adoptive parents claim ignorance? Can we rely on leniency in the court of world opinion? Or will we be held liable for our part as accomplices in the historic, yet ongoing, drama of child removal and family separation at the hands of the white nation-state?

Resistance asks us to understand how the good intentions of well-meaning Americans have been used, time and again, by the self-appointed social engineers. It gives me no pleasure to point out any of this history of child removal as a tool of social engineering.  I’m simply trying to make amends for the role I have played in this shameful national tragedy.

I’m trying to hold myself accountable for any damage I may have caused, as an unwitting dupe of the system I once enthusiastically supported, and which I now view as fundamentally oppressive, and therefore, immoral.

I ask myself: How do I want to be remembered, as a participant in the historic legacy of ongoing child removal efforts that helped make America what it is today? It is easy to get caught up in the feel-good validation I receive, especially from other people of privilege, for being a noble rescuer. But now that I’ve started to see our nation’s history through the lens of child removal, it’s hard to close my eyes to the horror and the exploitation of vulnerable families that is suddenly obvious.

Paulo Freire warned us that conscientization was painful. The process of consciousness raising takes a heavy toll. Accepting responsibility for our actions, and securing liberation for ourselves and our loved ones, is not going to be easy.

But resistance calls us to shake off the shackles of ignorance and denial. Resistance requires us to be brave, and to stop making this about ourselves as foster parents and adoptive parents. Real resistance asks us to actually sacrifice for what we believe in, and live out the social justice we say we hold dear.

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Acceptance speech

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Here I am applauding my “co-conspirators” right after my award acceptance speech. You can read the transcript of my 2-minute video here:

“First, I’d like to thank the founders of NAME for creating such a welcoming community of dedicated and inspiring activist-scholars. I’d like to thank the current NAME leadership and staff for their tireless labors to sustain an organization that I’m proud to be a part of.

I’d like to thank my friend and mentor, Sonia Nieto, for her support and encouragement over the 37 years that I’ve known her. She is largely responsible for me becoming a teacher, and she introduced me to NAME and what it’s all about.

I’d like to thank my UMass Amherst posse, as well as my colleagues at other institutions, because it truly does take a village to do any of this unglamorous work in education. I say thank you to my sons and my grandchildren, and to my students over the years, for reminding me why the struggle must continue.

And I’d like to say thank you especially to the Indigenous people and nations for allowing me to visit and live in their homelands, and for teaching me in different ways, and for reminding me. For reminding us all, of the debt we owe to their nations.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my different sets of parents: My foster parents, Mr. & Mrs. Kelly who were African American. They started me out in life until I got adopted. They showed me the true meaning of Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Childhood,” the one where she reminds us, ‘Black love is black wealth.’

I say thank you to my white birth mother and my black birth father, who gave me life. Even though I was not allowed to know them, I thank them for giving me the chance to experience life on planet earth.

And I thank my white adoptive parents, who are both immigrants, who showed me by their example that those imaginary lines called borders are for crossing. They’re bridges, not walls. I thank Mom & Dad for raising me in a progressive faith community, and for making it possible for me to go to college, so that I could join a community of awesome co-conspirators like the people gathered here at this conference.”

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The paralysis of the privileged (Part 2)

In truth, all of us currently living in what is now known as the United States must come to terms with the legacy of profoundly troubling human relations that has infected us with false and distorted notions of superiority and inferiority.

Our first task: Own our privilege

The main idea I want to leave with you is that those of us with greater degrees of power and privilege cannot keep treating people who are different as “inferior” and expendable. This is especially important when we claim to care for members of marginalized groups, as neighbors, fellow Americans, and even family. Ignoring their human suffering does violence not only to the people we say we care about, but to the notions of faith and love that we hold sacred.

This is why, as an adoptive parent, it angers me to see how transracial and transnational adoptive families are continually touted as preferable. Why not work harder to find homes among extended family in the kids’ communities of origin, whether on reservations, in the ‘hood, or in the countries of their birth?

It also bothers me to consider what happens when Americans keep adopting children from overseas, especially from non-European nations. What is the overall message to the rest of the watching world? Are we stupid enough and arrogant enough to think that everyone around the world agrees that U.S. homes are superior?

News flash: Adoption does not equal absolution

Adopting a child of another race does not absolve us of sin. Ironically, it points to our voluntary participation in systems of oppression, which some people of conscience might consider sinful. What’s more, adoption underscores our self-serving exploitation of our privilege.

Transracial adoption highlights our personal unchecked superiority complexes that make it possible for us to participate—joyfully, ignorantly, and self-righteously even—in the heart-wrenching misery of less privileged women who suffer the loss of their kids. Throwing salt on the wound, it makes us complicit in the all too frequent post-adoption suffering of their long-lost children—now our children—whom we typically insist on raising in racial and cultural isolation, because that’s where adopters feel most comfortable.

Delusions of grandeur, delusions of privilege

No wonder we can’t see Dylann Roof for what he really is. Our unexamined superiority complexes are so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche that they shield us from the realities of our domination of others. Our bloated sense of superiority prevents us from noticing the ongoing pain caused by every person of privilege.

Furthermore, our superiority complexes feed the self-delusions that maintain the status quo. From cowardly opinions about the flag controversy, to our muddy thinking about the Charleston killer, to our tacit approval of the global adoption industry, our delusions bolster our self-image as innocent or neutral participants. In our arrogance, we get to render a verdict for ourselves as “not guilty” of any wrongdoing.

But instead of clinging to our delusions, we can choose to think for ourselves, and move beyond knee-jerk responses.

We can see the killer for what he truly is—not a freak created out of nowhere, but as one of our own misguided children: a resentful, scared son of the nation, an imperfect, wounded soul born into the unresolved human relations nightmare that has plagued these United States since Day One.

We can admit that it is time to retire the Rebel flag, once and for all.

We can stand as allies with activist adoptees and birth mothers to call for real change in the way adoption is thought about and practiced. We can work to reduce the need for adoption. We can commit ourselves to better supporting struggling families so that adoption doesn’t have to happen.

We can sow the seeds of peace by working diligently for social justice.

We can stop acting as if our way of life is the only way and our religion is the right way. We can stop pretending that our experience of the world is the best, that our families are the superior families.

Our second task: Root out every superiority complex

Dylann Roof represents nothing less than the ripening of an unhealed superiority complex taken to the extreme. His ideology about inferiority/superiority is the same ideology that we continue to pass on to all our children with each succeeding generation.

The same superiority complex that exposes our youth to dinner table diatribes about “niggers” and “illegal aliens” is the same superiority complex that celebrates the purchase of so-called orphans in the marketplace of adoption. And it is the same mentality that normalizes (and profits from) the separation of birth mothers and their children, twisting it into some grand act of charity, turning adoptive parents into heroes and saviors.

Our sick and fractured nation remains ill-prepared to offer social justice to adoptees and their natural families. And we have yet to bring social justice to other marginalized communities yearning to have their lives count as much as anyone else’s.

The Confederate flag will continue to be debated, and in our lack of clarity we will squander the opportunity to offer leadership, education, and healing, as long as we are paralyzed by our privilege.

Tragically, black, brown, and other marginalized lives will never truly matter until we root out the superiority complexes that grant us our privilege. The question remains: What will it take to force the necessary changes?

White adoptive parents and Ferguson’s mayor

It occurred to me that readers may be wondering about the connection between my recent posts about the rebellion taking place in Ferguson, Missouri and the main topic of this blog, which is transracial adoption. For those who still haven’t figured it out, it can be summed up as the huge gap in perception and experience between people of color and whites.

stop lynching1Whether we are talking about race relations in a multiracial suburb such as Ferguson or in the microcosm of transracial families, when people of different races try to dialogue about their very divergent perspectives, things can get tense really fast. In this post, I will comment on the mayor of Ferguson, who reminds me of many white adoptive parents I have encountered over the years. This will offend some people, of course, but keep in mind, I am writing this in solidarity with the young people demanding justice, and as always, with transracial adoptees.

Regarding the growing rebellion of Ferguson’s black community, recall that the police shooting death of Mike Brown was merely the spark. The unarmed teen’s body was left chillingly to lie in the street for five hours. An ambulance was never called. The callous treatment of Mike’s body in the aftermath of the shooting sent a clear message of intimidation to the witnesses and neighbors gathered around. It wasn’t just the cold-blooded killing of another black youth that sparked the furor. But Mike Brown’s death set off the spark for a rebellion that now won’t go away quietly.

 The mainstream media has been a mixed blessing. The problem for me is the constant parade of talking heads who provide running commentary on the unfolding drama. Some of these individuals have no legitimacy to speak about the rebellion. For example, why Mark O’Mara is touted as a credible consultant is beyond me. As the lawyer who exploited the laws so Trayvon Martin’s killer could get away with murder, it is insulting to Trayvon’s parents and supporters to have to see O’Mara’s face during this time of grief. I have already complained to CNN, and I urge other allies to do the same.

But the main problem is this: The media’s reliance on police leaders for information and insight muddies the waters when we are trying to define the problem. It’s not hard to understand why: The police are the reason for the protests in the first place.

Let’s say your community was repeatedly wounded, harassed, and disrespected by another group with tons of power to treat you however they want. I will use a non-controversial example instead of police. Let’s say coaches were notorious for harassing, intimidating, and even murdering young people in your community. Would you appeal to coaches as a group for help? Would you trust coaches to hear you and to fix the problem? I highly doubt it. I think a more intelligent move would be to look elsewhere for assistance. To engage in dialogue with coaches, the very group that has been harassing and oppressing you, would seem pointless and futile.

And if coaches, of all people, were then assigned to monitor and patrol your protest gatherings as you organized to redress your grievances against coaches, you would have to be damn near a saint to stay respectful, calm, and dignified in the face of such blatant disregard of your grievances. Especially when those coaches pointed loaded guns in your direction, mounted armored vehicles, and lobbed teargas at your group for no apparent reason, in an attempt to provoke a violent reaction.

To continue with the analogy, putting coaches in charge of patrolling protests against coaches just throws gasoline on the fire. Smarter local community leaders would say, “Okay, apparently we have a problem between coaches and youth. Let’s give the two sides some time apart, and send in some mediators to calm the situation and hear their grievances. We can’t have coaches and protesters battling it out every night in the streets.” But this is not what has happened, is it? Don’t you wonder why?

And to top it all off, the media then cozies up to coach experts and spokespersons for the coaches, as if they have any legitimacy or ability to comment on the situation. The people are clearly at war with coaches, and for good reason, yet the media relies on coaches for commentary, statistics about arrests, insight into the problem, and so on. Every time they put a coach spokesperson on the air, the media betrays the community. If I were a protester in the struggle against coaches, I would be furious and want unsympathetic media out of my neighborhood.

It is hard to raise public awareness of police abuses when so many Americans have an almost knee jerk loyalty to the police. Over-identification with law enforcement makes it difficult for many to sympathize with the protesters. Add to that widespread ignorance about what it feels like to be policed by an occupying force that fears and despises you, and there is little basis for cross-racial dialogue.

I almost wanted to laugh the other morning listening to the mayor of Ferguson once again state with a straight face that there are no racial divisions in Ferguson. How can he be so out of touch with what is happening to the African American members of his community? For the same reason that many white adoptive parents can’t relate to the racial hostility their kids of color experience. Unbelievable that this is the sort of ignorant political leadership the black community has to put up with. And equally sad that many transracial adoptees have to put up with clueless family members.

The mayor sounded like some old plantation owner, as if he were boasting that “Our darkies are happy. None of them ever wanted to run away until now. Not until those trouble makers came in from the outside.” Ignorance might be laughable, or even forgivable, if the consequences weren’t so deadly.

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HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT!

NY Times Op-Ed

Click to download Purple Boots, Silver Stars … and White Parents – NYTimes.com, Frank Ligtvoet’s recent Op-Ed in the New York Times, the one where he mentions yours truly in flattering terms. I am honored to receive mention in such a prestigious, widely read publication. Thanks for the shout-out, Frank!

I do take issue with a number of assertions he makes. For one thing, it’s not clear how he knows that “for many transracial adoptees, every time they look in the mirror it’s a shock to see that they are black or Asian and not white like their parents.” Really? Every time we look in a mirror we are shocked? Based on what evidence?

His claim that “a Korean or black kid raised in a white world has lost his or her culture” sounds sensitive and caring, but what exactly does he mean by a “white world”? The world I live in is peopled by many cultures, and I feel free to move in and out of and through all of them. Does he mean “in a white family with parents who don’t have any black or Korean friends and who avoid any opportunities to mingle with people of color on a regular basis?” If that is the case–and many adoptive parents are guilty of this kind of diversity avoidance– then I would say that the kids have lost out on exposure to different cultures. But how does he know what specific culture was “lost,” or even whether it ever felt found, owned, or claimed in the first place?

And if he means that the kids have lost ties to their homelands or birth communities, say so. Don’t bandy about the word “culture” so loosely. It confuses people. The way Frank uses the term makes it sound as if “cultures” are essential things to be possessed, rather than fluid and dynamic relationships, emotional identifications, and lived practices developed with others over time.

Lastly, I have to correct his appropriation of the term I devised based on my research with white non-adopted siblings of transracial adoptees. His article states, “Even if adoptive parents started out naively… as a white family with kids of color, many of us end up as a nonwhite family. Or in the terms of John Raible… a transracialized family.” I use the term transracialized to describe the ways individual white identities can shift in response to long-term caring relationships with people of other races.

Transracialized is NOT synonymous with nonwhite. Transracialized suggests that some (rare) white members of transracial families reach a new awareness of race and racism to the point where they enact whiteness in creative and unpredictable ways, rather than reinscribing more typical performances of whiteness. In their actions, transracialized individuals participate in race discourses as allies against racism. They are not colorblind or post-racial; they are committed anti-racist allies to people of color in general and to the transracial adoptees in their multiracial families.

But I do appreciate Frank’s attempts to pay attention to his children’s experiences with racialization. For me, to worry about lost “culture” is not as useful as a clear analysis of race and racialization. Racialization refers to how each of us learns to “do” race and participate in keeping it going as a social construct. Rather than speculate wildly about how black people are perceiving and relating to his kids, I hope that Frank starts paying more attention to how he himself is relating to individual people of color and the communities he and his family feel close to. Focus on how you are performing and transforming your inescapable white identity, Frank, and people of color will no doubt take notice. Especially if you look, sound, and act like someone they can count on as an ally. It’s not so much about what “cultures” claim your kids, or which ones they claim. It’s about who they will turn to whenever the racist you-know-what hits the fan.

How parents that ‘get it’ feel about our adopted sons & trouble with the law

NOTE: This is a real email that I sent to a friend. I am sharing it because I want my sons, and other younger adoptees, to know that they are loved, even when they land behind bars. And that I see their struggles as real and valid and hard.

Dear friend,

It was great to hear from you! And nice to learn that the movie, now 15 years old, if you can believe that, is still useful for people trying to understand transracial adoption issues.

My heart goes out to you after hearing news of your son’s tribulations. I don’t know that I have any advice or particular wisdom to offer. I can say that what has helped me is taking a long (VERY long!) view. My older son turns 33 in June, which means that he came to live with me twenty years ago when he was just 13. He went off the deep end when he was about 16, and has rarely been “safe”. Amazing to think how long our wild ride together has been!

Anyway, I will go for months having no news from him. And then suddenly he surfaces. In fact, I spoke to him last night, and it was wonderful to hear his voice and reconnect. Like your son, he often expresses his love and appreciation for everything I’ve done for him. During our last major heart-to-heart chat, he basically told me that he was done trying to please me and that I need to accept that he is a thug. He told me forcefully and passionately that this is the life he has chosen, and that he loves me and will protect me should I ever require protection. And he means it.

I have come to recognize that he lives by a different value system than mine, and yet he knows on some level (because he verbalizes it, actually) that I am the ONLY person that has stuck with him throughout his life. That counts for something. We have our disagreements and he knows I have “disapproved” of his behavior in the past, and that I am sometimes disappointed in many of his choices (if they can be called “choices.” It’s more like he is making the best of the crappy hand of cards that he was dealt as a kid.) Even though I tell him that I am way beyond judging him and trying to control him and I just want to hear his voice and visit with him from time to time, I guess in his mind I represent some elusive unattainable lifestyle or status that he secretly aspires to but feels inadequate to achieve.

We have talked about how hard it is to have a professor as a dad when he is a high school drop out. He says he is genuinely proud of me, in his own words, and even brags to his friends about my accomplishments. I was surprised when he told me that he actually reads my blog and follows my career! Anyway, if that is how he stays connected from a distance, then it’s worth it to keep my blog going. (Incidentally, my other son who is incarcerated is my friend on Facebook. I guess that is HIS way of staying connected, again from a distance. That counts for something, too, since I rarely hear from him.)

What I take from this is that being adopted is hard for them, as it continues to be for me. Many of us, myself included, struggle to understand what “family” means. What does it mean to be a “good son?” How am I supposed to relate to these “white strangers” that became family? How am I supposed to act now that I am a father? We question our place in the families we’ve been given. We wrestle with the class differences between our families of origin and our adoptive families. We try to reconcile where we fit and where we belong, where we find safety and acceptance, and where we have come from, and where we want to go.

And so I think I understand my son. I tell myself that he knows in his gut that I “get it,” that if ANYone understands, then I DO. I try not to muddy the waters between us with sentimental bullshit, unrealistic parental expectations, guilt trips, and efforts to control him or “keep him safe.” I strive to take care of my own emotional needs so that when he does resurface, I can give him 100 percent of my attention, and not use our precious few moments of connection berating him, making him feel guilty, or reinforcing his feelings of inadequacy.

It’s how I imagine military spouses and partners must learn to operate. When they are lucky enough to get a rare phone call from the war zone, they must put on a brave face and smile, and put their fear, worry, and sadness aside. This is the only way our warrior sons and daughters can gain strength from us. The best we can give them is strength and ongoing love and support. I think that’s what they need to hear in our voices when we are lucky enough to hear from them.

I recognize that my son, like your son, IS AT WAR: At war with his demons, at war with the unfairness of having to be adopted, at war with a racist society that devalues his life as a young male of color, at war with the police and the legal system, at war with himself. My warrior son needs me to understand his battles and his warrior mindset. Judging it or trying to change it just pushes him further away. I’ve seen how letting go of my expectations and giving him the freedom to be himself brings him closer. Showing up when he asks me to and picking up when he calls, and smiling through my tears allows him to stay in touch, on his own terms.

He never asked to be adopted. He never asked for the shitty childhood he was given that led to his removal from his birth family and into the foster care system. He never asked to become part of my family. But he is now and forever my son, no matter what. I am convinced that he knows that we share a bond unlike any other he has ever experienced. I matter to him. And he matters to me. Other people come and go in his life, but he knows that his dad is always there for him. This is what I hold onto. This is why I keep going when it feels like my heart is breaking. This is why I stay strong even when I feel like giving up.

The trick that seems to be working is to demonstrate through every chance I get my acceptance. Without judgement, without disapproval, without trying to change or cajole. When I demonstrate complete acceptance, he comes back. He comes closer. He opens up. He tells me what is on his mind and in his heart. And THAT is worth something to me.

Our connection, the confidence that he places in me, makes all the bumps and bruises of our wild ride together worthwhile. He knows me like no other, just as I know him as no one else does. For an adoptee that believes all bonds can be broken, our agreed upon, chosen ongoing connection to each other matters. And so I endure.

I hope this helps, somehow. Good luck and let me know if there is anything else you want to talk about.

~ John