Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously
For a single minute:
You didn’t grow under my heart
But in it.–Fleur Conkling Heyliger
Why does the spiky urchin headcarpet?
(Don’t worry, I’ve prepared a longer answer than the obvious “Because she loves that damn’ gif!”)
The “born in my heart” metaphor/poem has always bothered me. It denies the existence of the first mother. And, like so much of the stuff adopted children are expected to believe and take comfort in, it’s doublespeak: it denies adoption happens in the name of celebrating it. It shuts down conversation about adoption while pretending to explain it.
And it bothers me because for crying out loud, how is an adoptee supposed to forget for a minute that s/he’s adopted? What happens if s/he forgets? And what’s so miraculous about it from the adoptee point of view? And why, why, WHY is it called “The Answer”? It answers nothing. To test this theory, I thought back to my own childhood. Here are some of the questions I asked, paired with The Answer:
Why are my eyes hazel? –In my heart.
Why did she give me away? –In my heart.
Do I have any brothers or sisters? –In my heart.
Who was my mother? Who was my father? –In my heart.
Why do the other kids make fun of me for being adopted? –In my heart.
And little adoptees already get extra-confused about reproduction. I thought infertility meant my a’rents must not have sex, and my a’bro thought being adopted meant he couldn’t father his own kids and would have to adopt in turn. So I can imagine a youngun hearing this poem and imagining something like this:
There’s a plush chestburster out now. I want one, and I want one of those awful I Was Born In Mommy’s Heart creepers for it so I can dress up as an a’mom next Halloween.