Monday, January 28, 2013

I Know Who I Am

Picture this. Two young parents about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. A journey called adoption. 

Already blessed with a beautiful baby -- a biological son -- they desperately want to grow their family even more. 

So with a heart full of hope, the young mom begins the mountain of paperwork and bright red tape required to bring home Baby #2. Countless months and long distance calls later, they are finally on their way to the airport. Both nervous and excited, they carry with them admonitions -- from nannies and papas and a big brother and cousins -- to hurry home with the newest family member. Their future looks bright with their little son and new Salvadorian baby.

Then, they hear this on the car radio: "El Salvador has entered a state of siege. U.S. citizens should exit the country." When they get to the airport, there is a message waiting for them sharing the same grim news. But they get on the plane anyway.

I can’t imagine how my mom and dad must have felt. And in truth I never really contemplated it. I just took for granted that they came to get eczema-covered, sickly, nine pound me --  four months old, waiting in the orphanage.

But embarking on my own adoption journey to adopt two deaf children from China made me consider many things. One of those is the bravery of my parents. 

I know my mom thinks we're courageous to adopt deaf children, and maybe we are. But if I’ve done anything brave in my life, it is only because that was the first lesson my parents ever taught me.

I recently read a blog post with the title, Adoption Begins with Loss. It was a thoughtful post, but I remember being puzzled by that title. Because for me, it's always been, adoption ends with gain.

Here's a song my Dad wrote for me when I was little. He used to sing it all the time:

Traci Laine
She never lived in Spain
She never lived in Maine
But she lived in El Salvador
But that was before
Her Mama and Daddy came down from Georgia
Where she'll live forevermore.

My life has been pretty angst free. I'm not trying to make light of the struggles other adoptees have with their pasts, but I want adoptive parents to know that adoption doesn't always lead to grappling with who you are. 

I know who I am. I'm Traci Laine, who never lived in Spain, and never lived in Maine. I lived in El Salvador. But that was before.

Sweethearts since high school,Traci and her husband have one biological son and recently brought home their two deaf children from China. Traci was given the gift of family as an infant when her parents adopted her from war-torn El Salvador. Passionate about uniting deaf orphans with loving families,Traci blogs at LikePenAnd. . .

This is the third post in my series by adult adoptees called On Being Adopted. Listening to adult adoptees helps us as parents look at adoption through a different lens, seeing it from the perspective of the person who was adopted. If you missed them, you may want to read the first two posts: There Can Never Be Too Much Love, and Marriage and The Past Through an Adoptee's Eyes.


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