Thinking about papercraneprayers’s comment about being uncomfortable in family photos got me to thinking about my own family photos…
One time, in an art class, the instructor was talking about composition and how people groups almost always form a “circle of love” and she demonstrated how you could overlay a circle connecting them – how hands held, arms entwined, heads positioned towards each other, etc. completed these circles physically drawing out the circle of their relationships.
Thinking about this and papercraneprayer’s comment, I realized then that there is NOT ONE photo of me and my parents in anything resembling a circle of love or even close enough for anything resembling affection. There aren’t even any photos of me being held. And people wonder why I have intimacy issues…I mean, come on – look at the lack of circle in this photo! In every photo I have. In every photo of my siblings with my parents as well.
And of course the adoptive parents are okay with the skin color difference: they’re not the odd man out. But ask the dark little girl in the photo above how she feels about it. Her answer will be affirmative because her parents are within earshot and she feels fear and obligation, but every cell in her body will be squirming in discomfort.
I wonder if adoption agencies bother to look at people’s family albums? I bet they don’t. Would you send a child to a family that has NOT ONE candid photo of fun or affection? No of course not. But adoption agencies only look at income, criminal background checks, health records, letters of recommendation, and inadequate social worker home studies. All of which any psychopath with any skills at all or socially inept and maladjusted person could pass with flying colors.
People have said to me in the past that this fate of mine had nothing to do with adoption – that these things happen in non-adopted families too, that some children are born into bad families and also don’t have any choice, that it is the luck of the draw.
To this I vociferously disagree: adoption is an opportunity to do better than chance. A half dozen entities, coordinated by my adoption agency, all were guilty of negligence in their duties. Adoptive parents are too often just processed and not really screened – and they complain about the hoops they have to jump through. Well, there aren’t enough hoops. There isn’t a magnifying glass big enough. And nobody’s really looking through one anyway. Not in any meaningful way.
Apart from being sent to a dysfunctional family, just being displaced and forced to assimilate to a totally foreign life took its toll. “Young Sook is a bright, happy child and makes friend easily.” (paraphrase from orphanage report) Note there is no post adoption report. It would have said, “Leanne is a very shy child that behaves well.”
The real me was crushed. Something terrible happened.
And it was called international adoption.