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Today’s post is going to be a bit different. To be honest, I never intended to get this far into Dina’s story and I most certainly did not expect to continue on past our decision to foster her. I never expected the support and the interest in her story, but I have decided to continue to write about our journey. But as with all good things in the internet age, there comes the internet doubters.

Last week after posting Part 3 of Meeting Dina, I received an email from someone concerned with my sharing of Dina’s story.  There was a particular part of the email that was a bit disturbing. I took a few days to really think about what the person meant by what they said.

“When you tell the world she is adopted, it seems like you’re just telling her she don’t {doesn’t} belong in your family. I {have} been reading your story and just don’t see the point in telling a kid she isn’t part of your family. Isn’t that the whole point of adopting so she has a family? I think you need to think about that before you make your “daughter” feel like you don’t want her. She don’t {doesn’t} need to know about all that stuff you was  {were} thinking and {e}specially about you not being her real mom. 

-concerned reader” 

Dear concerned reader,

At first, I was angry. I was furious! Why do you think you can email me and say these things to me? I don’t know you. I didn’t seek you out and say, “Hey! Listen to me! I want to tell you a story about my adopted daughter!” I wanted to share her story to encourage people in all types of situations. I wanted people to see that struggles are real, but the end result can be so rewarding. That’s all I wanted.

Unlike my first reaction, I decided to wait a couple of days to respond. I decided to think on it and really try to see  your point of view. So I waited.

One particular memory came to mind. When I was in kindergarten, I got sent to the office for punching a boy in the face. Would you like to know why? Because, he called my very-best-friend-in-the-world, “adopted”. She was adopted, but the way he said it before he hurled a chair across the room was vile and filled with disgust. I have no idea why I remember that so well, but I do remember the confusion I felt afterwards. Why did he hate that she was adopted? Her family truly loves her! They adore everything about her. If you ever met her, or anyone in her family for that matter, you’d never know she was adopted unless she told you. And she knew. Her family was open about it. They were honest about it. She was the one that explained to me what ‘adopted’ meant. To be honest, her family shaped my views on adoption and made me able to open my heart to this amazing experience I get to have.

As I got older, I understood that people can have skewed views of reality. People can make something beautiful and turn it vile and disgusting and visa-versa. Truthfully, I think that’s whats wrong with this world. People fail to see true beauty going on around them and others have to force beauty to come from the ruble around them because it’s all they have to cling to. It’s a heart breaking reality.

I talked to my husband about the email, I thought on it for a couple of days, and I even tried to respond privately only to find you had used a fake email address to question me.

Am I wrong in sharing that she is adopted?

I don’t think so. Let me tell you why.

This little girl of mine? Well, you see, she isn’t just mine. She’s her mother’s, she’s her father’s, she’s Shirley’s and she’s Jim’s, and they are her’s too. It isn’t my place to take those people from her.

Concerned Reader, have you ever told someone something that you had experienced and no one believed you? Have you ever doubted your feelings or your memory or even your dreams because someone told you it’s not possible or that didn’t happen? Have you felt a little crazy because you truly believed something and someone told you it’s not true? How does it make you feel that I corrected your grammar in the letter you wrote to me? Did I have to do that? Was it my business to do so? Did it make you feel better that someone went out of their way to tell you how wrong you were and correct you? I’m going to say no. Probably not. It probably made you mad and feel like I was a big fat jerk tried to make you feel stupid. Am I right? Would you want your child to feel that way?

I mean, that’s essentially what I would be doing, right? Taking her feelings away, editing them, and giving them back? Telling her that she’s incorrect and the relationships she remembers are a part of her imagination is not the way I want to raise my child. Yes, I will correct her grammar on her english paper, but I won’t correct her story. There’s nothing to correct.

You see, this beautiful, rotten, silly little girl I have has a magnificent story. One of tribulation on her part and on ours. One where she can see the works of something more powerful at hand. Through all of the doubt we had and the pain she suffered, we have a beautiful ending. She has a mom, dad, brother, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that love her and support her. She has Shirley and Jim that are forever part of her circle. She has people in her life that will help her feel and understand those feelings related to what she has been through. We won’t tell her she’s wrong when she feels like she’s a little different. We will say, yes you are, but that’s why we love you! We will accept her and her past. We will push her to be her best. We will support her curiosity about her history. She will have the freedom to ask questions and seek out answers.

The truth is, we will learn about her together because we don’t know much about her past either. What we do know is devastating, and surly something she will remember in her future. What kind of people would we be to try to convince her that she is only dreaming?

There are people out there that would disagree with me. That’s okay. That’s not the point of this letter. I don’t want to tell you that you’re wrong in your beliefs either. I’m simply sharing why we are so open about it in our family. It would not be right for Dina. She is incredibly intuitive. She will figure out there is a part of her story missing when she starts putting everything together. Why was she born in a state her parents have never lived in?  A month before their wedding? And were was she during this wedding? Why was Drake included and not her? Why does her photographer mom not have  a single photograph of her before the age of 3? Why does she have a name so foreign to our culture? Why does she have brown eyes in a family with only blue?

Do you see the problem with the omission of her truth? It would be more devastating to her in the long run. Trust me, I did not take this decision lightly. I believe in being very open about both of my children’s past. I tell both of them the truth about everything they’ve been through and the people they’ve been through it with. I’ve read about 15 papers on the psychology of such omissions and I made an educated decision for my family.

I’d like to tell you one more thing. Thank you. Thank you for pushing me to continue on with sharing parts of my life so openly. Thank you for validating my decision to be honest with my children. Thank you for questioning my judgement so that I may feel, once again, like I made the right choice for my family.

I hope, one day, you’ll remember this letter when it’s time to make a decision about something so important to you. I hope you won’t let doubters influence your decisions. I hope you’ll be able to make a decision that is best for you and your family, not the opinions of the doubters out there.

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