Thursday, February 26, 2009


With my "The Blue Mule: An Ad(o)aption Triptych" forthcoming over at Blue Mule (but I give you a sneak preview as the issue probably will be released when I'm out of the country), not to mention the haybun section in The Blind Chatelaine's Keys, I feel like I should state something obvious to me but possibly not to others -- that is, much of my (future) writings related to orphans and adoption will not relate to my personal situation. (For example, my son whom I've so far identified as "M" is not "Marcos" which is the name in the "Ado(a)ption Triptych" prose poem).

But I will write generally about the topic of orphans because I don't mind raising more attention to a world often invisible to many who could make a difference. The world inhabited by orphans, in many cases, is almost a parallel universe to the rest of the world going about its *usual* business. Of course I suddenly feel like an idiot in making that admission -- there are many abusive situations out there that I'm sure isn't within my attention span. The matter of orphans might not have come to my own attention if I hadn't embarked on an adoption journey nearly two years ago.

And that I specifically looked to adopt an "older" child or children gave rise to a different layer of issues than what comes up with infant/toddler adoption. "Older", here, is defined as kids older than 6/7 years old.

And that I ended up dealing with children in an institutional (orphanage) versus foster family setting gave rise to yet another layer of issues.

So while Moi's been busily coming off in this blog as releasing one poetry publication after another while tippling from the wine bottles, for nearly two years "I" actually have been walking about, stunned, jaw painfully grazing the floor, as I go from one situation to another learning about these children's lives. Let me tell you let me tell you: It would be difficult to overstate the FURY I feel over how many of these children have ended up in their situations.

The estimates I've seen range from 33 million to over 200 million children worldwide having been orphaned. It's a huge range, but a lot depends on who does the counting or how the count is made. In one country whose adoption policies I researched, children have to be registered at birth. But the biological parents are often too poor (or in a place of not caring due to substance abuse) to register the children. These kids then become almost invisible to the government, thereby not eligible for adoption or government support. They are often homeless on the streets....and if anyone feeds them, it's often international religious organizations who don't need to see the paper of their birth certificates to know that they exist.

Partly from not having parented before, I had no particular reason to investigate how a human being's psychological growth rests so much on the physicality of nurturing. That if a baby is neglected, that part of the baby's brain that will come to affect future relationships -- to make relationships possible! -- might not develop in a healthy manner. Many of these babies then grow up to be "older" children who, if in large group homes or orphanages (with often insufficient resources for caretakers and other support), will rarely have their development issues addressed by the available care. When, in The Blind Chatelaine's Keys' haybun section I quote a child care worker as saying, "In the orphanages, we are breeding millions of serial murderers”, the reference partly relates to attachment disorders that are created by the lack of responsible parenting/nurturing of children.

The flawed policies as regards foster care, the lack of support for the parenting of mentally-ill children, and the invisibility of many orphans' plights are ... devastating.

In future writings, I may be compelled to raise these issues (perhaps, in a modest way, to attempt to raise attention to the lives of orphans). But please do not extrapolate from my writings to believe that I am adopting a child to "save" that child or that I'm behaving altruistically to do that child a favor. One adopts to create a family, and there are many ways to create families: I didn't adopt a child to be a do-gooder but to become a mother. I just, you know, felt like saying that since ... I doubt that "The Blue Mule: An Ad(o)aption Triptych" will be the last orphan-related poem you'll see from me.

Also, there are many different stories within the world of orphans and adoption and I don't intend for any of my descriptive phrases above to be all-encompassing proclamations.

Thank you for listening.

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