Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Whose Story Is It?

In my work, the concept of sovereignty comes up often. I like the word, and I like the concept—independence, self-governance. I often remind myself that Lil Sweetie is a sovereign being. (I borrowed that idea from an essay I read entitled “The Doing of the Toes.” It was delightful. I wish I could find it again so I could give proper credit or better yet, link to it. It was a wonderful essay. You should read it. But I digress.) Of course, being as Lil Sweetie has just turned 7, she is not completely self-governing yet. But I like to be reminded that she is her own person with her own thoughts and feelings and that I would do well as her mother to honor that in age-appropriate ways.

See, I have issues with boundaries. Due to my own issues, I never know where the boundaries are, where they should be, how to honor them. It’s a constant struggle. And one way in which I struggle with them is not knowing how much to share about Lil Sweetie’s adoption. It is my story and Mr. Sweetie’s, and certainly OUR story, meaning it belongs to all three of us to be sure. But above all, it is Lil Sweetie’s story.

And it is really important to me that she own her story, that she knows she has the right to choose with whom to share it. But I worry that I undermine that when I do such things as...um, I dunno...WRITE ON MY BLOG ABOUT IT.

In my defense, one of my purposes in writing about it is to combat the misinformation out there about adoption. Granted, we had the world’s quickest and most easy adoption. Our experience is certainly not typical, but neither are those that are featured in made-for-TV movies.

Also in my defense, I would like to say that there are aspects of Lil Sweetie’s adoption that for various reasons are too personal or too sacred to be shared beyond the closest friends and family members.

I have been thinking about this whole subject a lot recently because Mr. Sweetie was interviewed by a local media outlet for a story they were doing about adoption. I had hoped that he would talk to Lil Sweetie about it before he agreed to the interview, because at 7, I think she is getting to the age where she should have a say about how much of her story we share. Mr. Sweetie chose not to. The interview was focused more on the good and bad of the adoption process rather than Lil Sweetie’s specific story and he knew it was going to be going in, so I am ok with his decision. But still, it brought up (again!) for me the whole issue of where the boundaries should be.

So, am I dishonoring Lil Sweetie’s sovereignty and right to her own story when I blog about it? What do you think?

5 comments:

Milly said...

I agree that you have to be very careful not to write about personal issues. We all have a right to keep our stories to ourselves. I can see where a fine line on this one. I also think that you haven’t crossed it. You may have given a much needed positive light on the issue of adoption for a couple.

I think that you should print her story for her to read someday.

ANestWithAView said...

Hmmmmm. As always food for thought. Aren't we a hand and a glove in a way? I don't think children can decide what we are parents are allowed to do or say. An imbalanced sense of power is probably more harmful than a thoughtful discussion of the truth. We have to work out our own way so we can help them with theirs, right? I mean, that is what I have been going with in my parenting. That and the fund for therapy...

Becky said...

I keep reading this and wondering if it's not His story and you're living it...sharing it with us for His glory??? just a thot....

LA said...

I know you well, and you *do* have an excellent instinct for where the boundaries are and should be. When confronted with situations like Mr. Sweetie being interviewed, you simply had to refocus and say, "Wait -- let me figure out where the boundary is today." Having to check yourself isn't a sign of not knowing where the boundaries are; I think it's the sign of a compassionate, sensitive woman devoted to doing the right thing. The boundaries will change as Lil Sweetie matures, so this refocusing will continue.

As for "The Doing of the Toes," there's this thing called, oh let me see if I can remember .... GOOGLE! bloomingyaya.blogspot.com/2006/07/doing-of-toes.html :-)

Zen Mama said...

Love the idea of Lil Sweetie being her own sovereign nation but difficult for me to embrace as I have a ten year old who fancies himself the tyrannical dictator of his own sovereign nation. My mantra....I'm the mom, I'm the mom, I'm the mom....