Monday, October 13, 2008

"The Lie"

3 weeks and 4 days! But who's counting? I wish we could go today!

My favorite blog of the moment is written by a couple from Iowa currently in Ukraine adopting two teenage girls. Dr. David writes beautifully and has amazing insight on adoption issues. For a week now I've been pondering his entry about "the lie." I can't get it out of my mind. Please check it out at:

Felix and I witnessed exactly what Dr. David described while we were in Ukraine in April. The orphanage directors and caretakers do the best they can to provide for the physical needs of the children - a roof over their heads, food, supervision?, clothing, etc. The children have everything they need, right? But they are missing out on so much - the love and security of a family, a warm bed, good nutrition, limitless opportunities for education and employment. We (adoptive parents) all dream that our children will be grateful for us going to crazy lengths and great expense to "save" them. The truth is, though, that our children may never be grateful because they see life through a different lens.

We also experienced "the lie" this summer when we hosted two children for the summer. At times the girls missed their friends, their teachers, Ukrainian food and Russian language. Part of me felt tremendous compassion for the girls because they had to grow up too fast and experienced tragedies in life that I will never fully understand. The other part of me wanted to ask, "How can this NOT be better than what you have in Ukraine?" Of course that's not an appropriate question to ask children...but Dr. David certainly helped me understand a little better.

Thanks, Dr. David, for helping me crack the code!


Conethia and Jim Bob said...

David and Cindi do have the most beautifully spoken blog that I have seen. He makes you feel as if you are reading a novel instead of updates about his experience.

Matt and Aimee Garrett said...

I, too, find his blog a great read, I also enjoy yours-a lot. good post about this process when nothing, so to speak, is occuring. About 11 days left here. We are bdginning to reach our tolerance levels-especially Aimee. Take care, keep up the input!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys!

I just wanted to chime in on this, because, well, you know me...I can't keep my mouth shut! And this is a subject very near and dear to my heart. I've read many books and blogs on this topic, and would be happy to share resources with you if you are interested.

As the mom of a three-year-old-going on 27, there is no gratitude from my already-eye-rolling daughter. But I'm happy to say, she gets this behavior from her older brother, who, as you know, is my biological son.

And as annoying as I may find this, I am ecstatic. Why? Because her behavior is NORMAL. What kid appreciates their parents much before they have kids of their own? Shea expects me to take care of her every need because she's owed it, right? And I thank God every day that she feels that way.

From my experiences, from my position in life, I think she is definitely better off than she would have been in an orphanage. But is she? Which is more important? Having a family, or a culture? Knowing she has my love, or knowing those who look like her?

You see, we'll never know truly how these kids feel, because we'll never go through what they've been through. We've all been brought up in the US thinking we're the greatest country in the world and that we provide all that a person possibly needs to be happy and content. And for me, and for you, that is most likely the case. But for our adopted children? Maybe. Maybe not.

I wonder if Shea will ever want to leave me, leave the U.S. and return to China. I wonder if she will always be looking for something that, no matter what I buy her or offer her, she won't be able to find. And is it that sense of 'searching', or the unknown, that causes the ungratefulness? I don't know, and don't think I'll ever know.

But my strategy is just to focus on the reason I adopted....I wasn't out to save a child or change the world. I'm selfish. I wanted a daughter. And thanks be to God, I got the most wonderful, spirited, challenging, perfect child for me in the world...literally! And when she drives me crazy, doing things I don't like or didn't expect, I try to remember this. My need to have a child took her from her country and her culture. Because of my actions, she will always be in the minority, she will always look different, and she will always wonder ‘what if?’. Will that cause some pushback from her? Maybe. But if I can think from the standpoint of what she lost, versus how much I think she’s gained, maybe it will be a little easier to stomach to not-so-desirable behavior.

And the last thing I try to keep in mind is that all of her experiences, which include her Chinese heritage, make up the little dynamo that I love so much. And because of that, I honor her past, her country and her birth family. Though I may not agree or understand or even like certain elements of this history, it’s all a part of the whole. And I feel a strong responsibility to honor and love everything about her. Both outwardly to her, but also within my heart and soul. Not only for her sake, but mainly for mine. Once again, selfish, I know. But I’ve come to the realization that my kids have given me more than I can ever give them. I recently saw something that blew me away. “When you look in the face of your child, you are looking at the face of God.” And that, my friends, is the greatest, most humbling gift of all.

Love you guys! Know that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers!


About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.