Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Omma vs. Mom

There is a debate going on in regards to a blog by an adoptee who says that adoptive parents wearing things like Omma pendants are appropraiting something that they shouldn't. That adoptive parents by taking on these names are erasing something that does not rightfully belong to them. Interesting concept.

So I have been thinking about this.

I do wonder if part of the issue for the adoptee has to do with loss and not giving up on seeing their Omma and Appa again. If you suspected that your birth parents were still alive then it might seem disrespectful like your a-parents were trying to take their places. Like why isn't "Mom" and "Dad" good enough for them. The only thing I can relate it to is this:

If my husband were to die and two years later I married again I am not so sure that my children would appreciate being forced to call the new guy "Dad" For them, "Dad" would have a very specific meaning, the man they grew up with, who read to them every night, the man that the world knew as "Dave" and they knew as "Dad." The man who holds the title of "Dad" in their hearts. And its only when and if they CHOSE to give that title to someone else would it be right. Not just because I wanted them to.

Perhaps for some adoptees the word "Appa" or "omma" has that special place in their heart.The place that gives them hope that someday they will be able to meet the person/s who created and birthed them. The place that is reserved for their Korean birthparents. Perhaps those are the words that they have longed to say the first time they touch their first mothers hair, or feel her warm hand in theirs when in Korea and it would only seem right to use those Korean terms of endearment like "Omma". If my kids were meeting their first mother in Korea they certainly wouldn't call her "mom" because it wouldn't have meaning to her or a shared sense of a cultural meaning plus it would be their term of endearment for me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Today is Kylee's 17th birthday. It seems so strange to have someone who was the main focus of your life 17 years ago not here to celebrate that wonderous day. I miss her. I want to hug her and tell her how much I love her. And then this happened:

Kylee and I were IMing each other when she says," Mom I want to have a serious discussion with you."

Of course with words like this coming from you 17 yo's typewriter your mind begins to fly wildly. She pregnant...she was hurt...she's in love...she never wants to come home...and a host of other absurdities crammed into the old gray matter.

And then she types, "I just wanted you to know that when I am 18 and if you have saved a little money, if anything were to happen to you and Dad I want to take the kids."

And I started bawling. Not because her offer is necessarily a possibility but because she would offer knowing all the challenges that our special needs children face in the years to come. And because I have secretly wondered at times if the adoption of our younger children had perhaps made Kylee feel left out or at the bottom of the pile. That somehow her needs became secondary to theirs.

But maybe I was bawling because that is the minute that I realized my daughter had matured and grown up. That was the moment I realized that she was beginning to think like an adult, love like a parent and grow into a person whose concern about others that she loves outweighs her immediate concern about herself.

And so on the day I so desperately wished I could hug my girl and give her a gift, she turned the tables on me and gave me the best present ever. A one sentence treasure that came from her heart. And sometimes it just doesn't get any better than that!