Yes, yes, yes. I am alive and I am still blogging. And I think I will catch up soon on the blogs that never happened. But I had to get this one done today: for anyone looking for a last minute gift for Christmas and/or for serious folks looking for serious reading, I recommend the new book, which has already made the NY Times best 10 books of 2012, “Far From The Tree” by Andrew Solomon. Right from page one – page one mind you – where he makes so explicitly clear the profound and difficult truth that “Parenthood abruptly catapults us into a permanent relationship with a stranger…” I was blown away. Adoption does that, we all agree. Solomon goes deeper and beyond anything I have ever read and says that that is what [all] parenthood is, despite our fantasies otherwise.
In this huge book – I can’t tell how many pages because I am reading it on the Kindle – I am seeing truth after truth after truth. By page 32 (how’d I find that out?), he writes – and he gets it summed up in a nutshell – what we attempt to train our new adoptive families on, over the course of forty training hours in fourteen weeks:
“….The anger [of the different] is pervasive. ‘Adults responded to my difference by helping me, but some of my schoolmates responded by calling me names,’ wrote Rod Michalko, who is blind. ‘Only much later did I realize that helping and name-calling amounted to the same thing.’ ”
“Arlene Mayerson, an expert in disability rights law,” Solomon continues, “contends that benevolence and good intentions have been among disabled people’s worst enemies throughout history. The able-bodied can be generous narcissists: they eagerly bestow what they feel good about giving without considering how it will be received.”
Generous narcissists? Without considering how it will be received? Might that be why the entire child welfare system seems unable to figure out how to really give the most desperate kids what they need to free themselves from the chains of their personal histories? Might it be too much about us – the helpers – feeling good about what we feel, what we believe, what we think, what we do?
I cannot believe what I am reading; I am simply astounded by it. And it has helped me understand some experiences in my life that I knew were “off” but couldn’t name why. For only one example, I refer all to my posting of July 2, 2012 titled “Can I Help You?”
Merry Christmas to all who will be celebrating on Tuesday. I hope to be back here in the blogosphere before the new year.