Saturday, October 21, 2006

Madonna's adoption ~ parenting from the heart




Brew of the day: Lemon Verbena


The UK media have collectively played piranha this week in their attack of the singer, Madonna, adopting a Malawian child.


It seems that because she’s so positively wealthy that she couldn’t possibly have a maternal bone in her body ~ after all, isn’t she just a Material Girl? Some papers suggested that the baby is her ‘pet’. What causes people to be so cruel, so unable to look past their own prejudices?


If adoption fees and the general cost of living (compared to average wages) weren’t so horrendously steep, many more of us would adopt children both domestically, and from abroad. I know that if I had her sort of income our home and hearts would embrace several orphaned children. I don’t think I could step into an orphanage and not want to bring every child home. Strangely, as a child, while my friends were off playing other games, I used to imagine running the ‘best’ orphanage in the world. A place where the children felt loved, nurtured, were fed beautifully nourishing meals and had the best possible upbringing. Why I had such thoughts as a ten year old I don’t know.


As an adult, I’ve been put off the adoption process by the stories of friends who’ve gone through it and felt they had to lie about their lifestyle choices (eg, conscious food, unschooling, attachment parenting) so they would be seen as ‘normal’. I’m simply not prepared to go through such bullshit because some social worker doesn’t know the first thing about living naturally, or is instructed to follow a set of guidelines. Perhaps if I lived in another country, where social workers were more broadminded than in the UK, adoption for our family would become a possibility.


Adoption shouldn’t be about money, but it almost always becomes a financial issue. Others in the media have used the fact that it is a trans-racial adoption as their battle tool. “Poor child will have so many insecurity issues about growing up with people who don’t look like him.”


About the only Madonna song I know is Like a Virgin (shows how long it’s been since I’ve listened to mainstream music radio!)...so I’m not writing this as an ardent fan. I’m writing as a mum.


Parenting comes from the heart, not just the womb. It is in our capacity to truly love that we become mothers or fathers. It has nothing to do with whether we’ve biologically grown a child. Almost every woman can give birth. There’s plenty of evidence for that! While it can’t be disputed that the hormonal rush of GIVING birth triggers the ‘love hormone’… as humans we are capable of loving everyone if we allow it. Love is thicker than blood.


Money can’t buy love…Madonna’s showing that. Some people suggest she should just donate money to the orphanage. Yes, she can do that. She is doing that. We can all do that. But it kind of misses the bigger picture, doesn’t it? Children need to be raised in loving arms. How on earth will these kids know how to become loving parents themselves if they’ve not been kissed good night; loved and nurtured through their traumas and triumphs; witnessed and taken part in the preparation of healthy meals? This is what makes ‘family’.


Madonna has children! She knows they’re not fashion accessories. She has very strong parenting values, such as not allowing her children to watch TV. Why is all this being overlooked by the morally bankrupt and self-indulgent British press? Her concert performances and songs are a persona… an ‘aspect’ of her. We all have many sides to our being; it’s not the preserve of celebrities. None of us can claim to know what truly motivates Madonna; what makes her heart sing; her deepest yearnings. Yet crucify her we do. Frankly, it says more about us as a nation than it does about her.


If adopted children come through the process feeling as if something is missing, imagine how on Earth they feel if they’re left their whole childhood in an orphanage? No one seems to talk about that!


My faith in Madonna’s ability to parent this child falls on the side of her spiritual faith. I don’t know anything about the Kabbalah but I do know that when our soul is regularly fed through spiritual practice it is much easier to recognise our ‘real nature’.


Yes, we can *choose* to identify with our skin colour, culture, religion, family roots & genetics, etc. It is society which has taught us to do that. But the job of any parent on a consciously embarked spiritual journey is to show their children that, in essence, beyond the physical we are all One. That our TRUE heritage isn’t to be found in our earthly ancestors.


I look to my own ancestry as an example. I was born and raised in Australia. Yet all my foreparents on both sides of the family tree were German. Does that make me ‘German’? I’ve often felt ‘guilty’ about that bloody war even though I’m not a relation of Hitler, who was Austrian actually. My parents were born at the beginning of the war, so it isn’t like they went off and shot anyone. I don’t get the urge to eat liverwurst or attend beerfests. My love of the fairytale Christmas Eve was no doubt entirely to do with the love my mother put into it, and not necessarily because of it being something in my bones. Strangely I don’t resonate that much with Germany or Australia. Frankly, I couldn’t care if I never went back to Australia again. About the only thing I miss is the smell of the Eucalyptus trese and a good belly laugh by the resident kookaburra.


Yet, when I landed in New Zealand, I felt I found home. I still don’t really know why, yet I also *know* there are countries I’ve not yet discovered which will also feel like coming ‘home’.


Being ‘Australian’ gives me a sense of boldness; the ability to just get on with things, and to say things as they are. I never resonated with the great British reserve or stiff upper lip thingy. And yet my Dad has a very strong pioneering spirit with strong leadership skills. And he’s not remotely Australian.


This winter, my girls and I are going to learn German at night classes… I never learnt the language as a child because my older siblings had been teased so much by the Aussies for speaking the language…so when I came along my mum decided not to put me through it.


My husband tells me it is more valuable to do Spanish than German. Mmmmm..maybe from an English perspective! The girls did French a while ago and are just about to restart with the local Home Education group. It might be helpful in France or Canada…but I can’t see it making a jot of difference here in Cumbria. At least with German (which they learn when my mum stays with us) they can write letters and talk with their two living grandparents. Our motivation to learn isn’t based on any great love of my German ancestry. It does seem though, while my parents are still alive, something that my daughters can share with them. When a person is born, they’re capable of learning any language in the world. It is through our being immersed in a language that we take on its patterns…clicks, rolled Rs, tones, etc. It isn’t to do with what our bloodline is, but completely to do with what we hear in early childhood.


Although I understand a handful of German words (the ones used when I was naughty as a kid! Kleine Hexe = little witch), the language itself exists in my head and I’m sure I’ll pick it up quickly. But the same would have been true had I been adopted by a Chinese woman or someone from India. Their language would be what lives in my subconscious, even if they raised me to speak English.

My daughters, despite having spent most of their life in the UK, consider themselves New Zealanders and often talk about going back and seeing where their placentas are buried, not far north of Goat Island. Like me though, they think there are many countries with which they’d feel an affinity.

My husband is English, so the girls have all that ancestry too.

In metaphysical psychology circles (eg. I used to teach a course by Dr Rice called Why is this happening to me again?)…we learn that at conception, we have every thought within us that both our parents ever had up until that point. Scary thought?
Wait! We also have every thought their parents had up until the point of their conception, and their parents had, and their parents had. All that ‘potential’ junk before we’ve even started life?!

It is vital that we go beyond such limitations and teach our children that there is only One Mind…and true brilliance, love, harmony and peace can all be found here.

If they wanted to, my kids could get into a real head spin about who they are! As parents, we’re instead teaching them that the goal of each and every human is to recognise that there are no real differences between us, just masks. Our skin colour, religion, heritage, culture, race ...they’re just pretty patterns to make our lives and journey here interesting. But it isn’t who we ARE. As for family, it isn’t about blood. Family is when we look in another’s eyes and see love. Only love.

Have a lovely week ~ Brightest blessings from Cumbria in the north of England, Veronika


VBAC books
Hello, I am one of the authors of 'Caesarean Birth in Britain' published earlier this year. I am currently working on two projects to produce two handbooks: one on 'How to avoid unnecessary caesareans' and the other on 'VBAC (Vaginal birth after caesarean).

I wonder whether you could post a notice on your site asking interested women (and/or their partners) to contact me. I am particularly interested to hear from women from the UK who have successfully achieved vaginal delivery in the face of medical pressure for a caesarean and women who have achieved VBAC, particularly those achieving vaginal delivery after two or more caesareans. I very much appreciate your help. Helen Churchill (Dr).
helenchurchill@hotmail.co.uk


2 comments:

Elaina said...

I totally agree with your views on Madonna's adoption - with so many dreadful things happening, how can the media possibly justify villifying someone for doing something as inherently selfless and caring as adoption?

A quick note though, you mention the steep cost of adoption fees, actually (unless you are adopting from overseas) in the UK it's just £30 at a magistrates court or £130 at a normal court. Adoption agencies will often help new adoptive parents by providing potentially expensive items such as prams, and for families with limited income may even provide an adoption allowance (particularly when adopting more than one sibling or a child who needs medical care).

My husband and I are planning to adopt as well as having 'birth' children, and the adoption agency we've discussed this with were extremely kind and helpful. They provide lots of support and training to adoptive families, encouraging families to form a support network with each other.

Unfortunately, there are a some illogical and outdated restrictions on who can adopt as you say, and the process is definitely flawed, but it's certainly not expensive.

Elaina said...

I totally agree with your views on Madonna's adoption - with so many dreadful things happening, how can the media possibly justify villifying someone for doing something as inherently selfless and caring as adoption?

A quick note though, you mention the steep cost of adoption fees, actually (unless you are adopting from overseas) in the UK it's just £30 at a magistrates court or £130 at a normal court. Adoption agencies will often help new adoptive parents by providing potentially expensive items such as prams, and for families with limited income may even provide an adoption allowance (particularly when adopting more than one sibling or a child who needs medical care).

My husband and I are planning to adopt as well as having 'birth' children, and the adoption agency we've discussed this with were extremely kind and helpful. They provide lots of support and training to adoptive families, encouraging families to form a support network with each other.

Unfortunately, there are a some illogical and outdated restrictions on who can adopt as you say, and the process is definitely flawed, but it's certainly not expensive.