Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lifebooks

So probably the two posts in one day clues you in that I am on call at the VA today. I have been spending today reading about lifebooks and thinking about the lifebook I will make for Zebastian. Of course I am excited, optimistic and basically very positive in all of my posts....but adoption is also sad. How understated is that?
Ever since Hurricane Katrina, I have tried to shield myself from sad and I have tried to shield my daughter from sad. It has been hard - particularly with her father and I divorcing. I suppose it was not as hard for her since her dad was mostly absent her whole life....that is sad too.
I worked with a woman after Katrina in one of the hospitals in New Orleans. She told me that she had taken her 2 teenagers to work with her the day of the hurricane. Workers in the hospital during natural disasters can bring in their families and usually there is even a place to bring your pet. When the power went out in the hospital her 13 year old and 16 year old took shifts bagging ventilated patients. In the big picture of human sufferring this isn't a terrible thing for kids to witness - but the woman was so upset to have put her kids in the position to see disease and death.
I want to protect my kids from sadness so it is hard for me to think about what I am going to put in his lifebook. I think it is really important - how can he own his past if it breaks my heart.
While I am kind of going on about it....all self-absorbed about my sadness for him...I know that it is about finding the right words and the right "lens" to view the experience. I don't know what the end point is though. If we find the right words in his lifebook will it stop him from feeling sad and empty? I think that simplifies things...
There is loss in adoption and there is sadness. Yet, I have chosen to deliberately expose myself to this sad....because the payoff more than compensates.

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