It’s been a long time… I shouldn’ta left ya.. without a…

dope blog to let you know:

Dear truthandhealing readers,

There is SOOO much going on!  As some of you may know, my family has been preparing to make a journey of sorts for quite some time now.  There’s been lots of ups and downs towards this eagerly awaited, hugely anticipated journey and we (especially ME) are/am just realizing that this whole PRE-journey deal is ACTUALLY PART of the whole journey.  Sometimes, even when I feel like I am walking in spirit, I lose sight of all that is happening around me and get lost in the destination.

There’s been a lot of mixed feelings about where we will end up and, to be completely honest, I’m still not sure.  There is a piece of me that wants to follow my heart only and pay  no regard to  very real and scary factors like, well, where will I work? Or, how am I gonna pay the bills? Or, how am I gonna make sure the kids get what THEY need out of this deal?  Or, how safe is safe when you are a queer brown person?  And mostly, are both of my top two chosen communities going to be able to give me (and my kid) the security/community/love/compassion/creativity/plainolqueerness that we need to keep us feeling like good/excited/creative/lovely queers back?

But even with questions looming, I am realizing that this part of the journey is just as valid as  getting to where we are going and finding the answers to those questions  will be.   I guess it’s on this end of the journey that the questions about who we are and what exactly it is we are looking for are coming up.  They aren’t getting answered, at least not in full yet, but they are sitting on the surface of our souls and letting our minds/heart and bodies embrace them.  And, to be honest, in embracing those brave questions (some of which are above and some of which I’ll share with you soon), we are learning to embrace ourselves and our family even more.

How important family/tribe/community/belonging is to me has been a theme for my entire life.  In my life as an “adopted”(stolen) displaced kid there has been no way to avoid wondering, thinking, questioning and almost semi-obsessing about where I came from and WHO I came from.  In my case, by who, I don’t mean literally WHO my biological parents were/are.  Though that piece was definitely important to me, as a little person I hungered SO deeply to understand WHO MY PEOPLE were/are.  All I really knew was that my ma’s last name was Tunchez and that she was Mayan, a tradition and culture that was practically devoid to me once my U.S. (adoptive) parents brought me here (against my will, if I dare be honest).   This experience of wanting to understand my culture, know my people and feel altogether isolated from my own history has been coming up a lot for me lately, especially with the recent (and predictable) case of American’s held in Haiti for attempting to “rescue” (read: take without legal authority/ ie. kidnap) Haitian children.  I have A LOT to say about that as these people were missionaries (as were my “adoptive” parents, who also never had legal papers for me at first, more later) and epitomized the predictable response of American’s/ Wealthy Nation’s  saviour mentalities.  I’ve thought a lot about whether adoption altogether is off the table for me and I don’t have a solid answer for that yet  but I do want to say, that in this case the ease with which these missionaries felt entitled to enter another country and take these children is representative of the larger issues we see in the cycle of ongoing international adoption cases. I’m going to call this cycle the International Adoption Industrial Complex (I’m not sure if I’m actually the first person calling it this and would love to hear if other folks have heard this term before) and it looks like this:   in Haiti, as well as in other countries that experience high rates of international adoptions with children landing/ being displaced to the U.S., we witness a cycle of Economic and Environmental Racism– devastation at the hands of wealthy nations (frequently including, if not headed by the U.S.) that includes the depletion of the countries natural resources and then eventually easily accessible adoptions (read: displacement and  removal) of the countries (brown) children into the hands of eagerly awaiting (white) American parents.   Now, the fact is, the country has been depleted of most of its resources, so, in some cases, the  families and mamaz of these children may feel like a better alternative to keeping the children in ongoing poverty is to put them up for adoption.  There’s no debating that. However, what becomes an issue is that, instead of working to create a world were resources are shared more equitably and where families can stay unified and are not at threat of being torn apart due to lack of resources, environmental and economic devastation (including corporate led/ funded wars)  the U.S.  benefits by contributing to these devastations and then in-sourcing children and ultimately, making these children one more imported commodity.

What does it feel like to be cast into a world where you are viewed as an  imported commodity?  Well,  I think that is what a lot of international transracial adoptees are talking about.  Here’s some examples:  it’s being brought to school for show and tell by your brothers and sisters (yes, that still happens) or having people impose their ideas of what was happening in your country ONTO you or being told your exotic or having folks expect that you know how to cook that food they eat “over there, where you’re from”.  It’s all of those things PLUS it’s being the only brown kid in your school or the only brown kid in your family circle, it’s realizing one day that your parent’s don’t have any other brown friends or being taken to African dance class each week for your  “cultural exposure”, when you’re from say, GUATEMALA… (just sayin, it happens people)… it’s not seeing positive reflections of yourself and having to imagine what a powerful brown person (who comes from the same geographical location as you do) even looks like, talks like, dresses like.. and I could go on and on.

It’s painful. It’s hard and it can leave you feeling pretty vulnerable until you actually find YOUR people. Now, as I mentioned, my family is on a journey to find home. It’s something that we are trying to open our hearts, spirits, bodies, souls to.. and part of that quest for me (24 years after being brought here) is still about finding positive reflections of me.. of my kids.. for us all.  As a parent, I am walking with spirit in understanding that THIS  IS the responsible thing to do and also, as a parent, I want to demand that  U.S. American (white) parents who continue to bring brown children from their countries and into their homes,  figure out a way to support their children in THEIR identity development, finding spaces where they can see positive reflections of themselves, encouraging them to discuss the very real, every day experiences of racism and other oppressions that they will experience in the US, preparing to be strong allies (learning what that even means) and really truly being prepared to support that kid when they want to go home and find the essence of who they are, were they came from and how they can make home again.   Finally, I  believe that it is important that these parents really examine what role they play in, and how they’ve benefitted from,  the International Adoption Industrial Complex.

Last month I signed onto a statement on behalf of the Adoptees of Color Rountable.. I’ll post it above and link to it here: http://www.adopteesofcolor.org/

Please check it out.

So, dearest readers, please bear with me as I continue down this journey, even when I am taking breaks and know that I am committed to this blog and to continuing to write about adoption, home, journey, figuring out next steps and so much more.

xo.

Haiku for Journey #1:

paths to home within

pass over body, heart, soul

through spirit we land

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