Narrative, Family Romance Fantasy, and the Adoption Triad
Noah S. Glassman, PhD
I will be revisiting and reflecting on my experience of the adoption roundtable for a long time, unpacking how I've been affected by Melissa, Kelly, Roger, Alan, and Eleanor. They have given me much to think and feel about as their voices have stayed with me. And I am grateful for Ken and Kim's thoughtful and gentle guidance in creating a space for us to grope our way through complicated terrain. I am left with thoughts about the creation of narratives, the ways that fantasy might intertwine with them, and the meanings of birthparent absence.
Life, however, rarely stops for moments of reflection on intense experience—which the roundtable very much was for me, as a parent and as a clinician. The day after the roundtable, as I tried to parse out themes of mourning and longing (among others), I left with my partner and 7-year-old son to vacation with our extended birth family (my son's birthmother, her siblings, her nieces, and her parents). As my son and I chatted, he asked me suddenly, “Why does Ron call his mother ‘Mum’?” referring to Harry Potter's best friend. We spoke about British expressions (as the Harry Potter series takes place in the U.K.), but before I knew it—and it's always before I know it—we were having a conversation about what my son wanted to call his birthmother. Up until this point, he had always referred to her by her first name, as my partner and I do. I asked, “Do you think about calling her ‘Mom’?” And he replied in a matter-of-fact way, “I don't know. She's my mother, but she doesn't live with us, and I only see her a couple of times a year.” This was all new.
[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]