The power of personal narrative. The sanctity of privacy.

I’ll be honest, I was (still am about some things) an over-sharer. Most of the reasons for that are, well, less than flattering but one reason that I’m not ashamed to claim is the power of personal storytelling. Being from a big storytelling family, I’ve known this all my life but only since becoming an adoptive mother have I understood that the power of personal stories can change or even save a life.

When I was waiting to adopt I scoured over blogs of mostly moms who had adopted from Ethiopia, as I was in the process of doing. I saw photos of the most adorable children and I wondered, will my daughter have long lashes like that, or a toothless grin like that, sweet dark ringlets like that, or the most gorgeous chocolate skin like that? I needed something to fill my months of waiting and since at that point it was all about me and my desire to be a mom, well, those stories filled the bill.

But then, I became a mom to the child for whom I had waited. She did have long lashes, an adorable toothless grin, sweet ringlets, and that gorgeous chocolate colored skin but she had other things too: diarrhea no doctor could cure, food issues, sleep issues, problems with coordination and balance, hearing loss, etc, etc, etc. The adoption agency was no help. The homestudy agency was no help. More often than not, doctors in high level specialties at prestigious institutions were no help. Who helped? Moms of kids like mine. Moms who had been there, done that, and survived to raise up healthy, resilient children.

Now here’s the thing. Some of those mom honestly saved my kid’s life with their stories but because they didn’t choose to do it anonymously, my kid’s gain of healthy firm bowel movements came at their kid’s loss of privacy. (See I told you I was an over-sharer ; ) And frankly, the profound nature of that trade off wasn’t clear to me until I started reading the perspectives of adult adoptees. But now that I know, well, here I am, offering my stories and my daughter’s stories in hopes of helping others who face similar issues but I’m doing it anonymously (or as anonymous as the internet allows) so that hopefully some kid out in the interwebs will finally be cured of giardia or other more complicated stuff I’ll get into later (Anyone up for a convo about adoption corruption??) and my kid will get to tell her story on her terms in her time.

Will people who know me know that it’s me writing here? Yep! I’m kind of a special personality. But if you do and you want to comment or share anything on this blog, PLEASE do not refer to me or my daughter by name. Thanks!

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