Operation Bring Home Baby (OBHB)
Relief today from PSB, our adoption agency. As A. & I. work on updating some of our dossier documents, including our immigration application for our child (who's yet to be matched), our heaviest concern has been the impact of his job search on how our profile will be reviewed. According to H. from PSB, it's a common occurrence across waiting families especially given the current economy, and A.'s job search should have no negative effect on how quickly our process continues. Huge sigh of relief. My adoptive mama friend has been telling me all along, they just want to know that you're not living in poverty . . . and we aren't. (In the United States, the poverty level is $24,000 for a family of four.) We are blessed that we've been comfortable enough to pay our bills and maintain our humble living expenses, and we're hopeful that the economy will turn around. Thank goodness for freelancing.
I was lurking on a good friend of mine's fb page (she also happens to be an adoptee from the historic Operation Babylift in the early 1970s) and noticed that she "Liked" the documentary "Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam," a must-see for anyone who supports adoption from what I can tell of the trailer. I've watched a number of adoptee docs, and I'm more than likely immediately reaching for a tissue as I watch frame by frame, each orphan face, barely imagining what their experience of loss must be. As the partner of someone whose experience of growing up parallels that of some adoptees -- issues of abandonment, questions of parental decisions, personal insecurities -- I have witnessed the challenges of someone who grieves his past.
At dinner tonight, A. shared his overwhelming effort to remember any memory of knowing who his actual birth parents were when he lived in the Philippines a world away from them, they - who were in the States. And he said he couldn't. He could only think back that he called his grandparents, Nanay (mother) and Tatay (father), understanding that they were the only parents he knew. Story is, A.'s parents couldn't manage caring for two kids at the same time as they both worked, so for economic reasons, A. remained in the Philippines to be raised by his grandparents for seven years.
My parents decided not to follow the instruction of medical specialists who advised them to place their developmentally disabled son in an institution since there was nothing they could do for him. Back then, institutional settings were notorious for the extreme abuse and neglect of the mentally disabled. Autism had not even entered the vocabulary in 1969. Immigrant professionals with one "retarded" son, my folks felt that they had no choice as they wanted the best care for their son, so they decided to send my brother, M., to the Philippines where family members could care lovingly for him. At four years old, M. left for the Philippines; I was a year old . . . and would never meet him until I was 13. When I was much younger, I wondered, What if it had been me who was developmentally disabled and had been sent to the Philippines?
Our parents made the decisions they needed to make. While A. & I have internalized our parents' choices in traumatic ways that have required each of us to work formidably at self-awareness, it's what will make us incredibly insightful (adoptive) parents. Strange how A. & I found each other, how our pasts oddly and awkwardly complement each other. Now we will be returning to the Philippines to confront our individual histories and turn negative experiences into overjoyed memories -- that of bringing our child home.
OBHB. Ready and waiting.