On this page I want to share some of the literature, and perhaps music, that has spoken to me in relation to adoption, disability and transgender issues. I’ll start with the lovely poem by the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran on children. All parents need to learn, sooner or later, that their children are given in trust and are not possessions or a ‘mini-me’. For adoptive parents this is perhaps easier. We know we did not give birth to them, and that they have another story, other parents, and that we are their guardians. Being their parents is our privilege, not a right. This poem speaks to that beautifully. I particularly like it set to music by the American folk singer Betsy Rose (who you can find on iTunes).
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Gibran Khalil Gibran was born on January 6, 1883, to the Maronite family of Gibran in Bsharri, a mountainous area in Northern Lebanon, and died in New York in 1931.
Here is a beautiful, simple song by Californian singer/songwriter Betsy Rose. I gather from one of her many autobiographical, or semi-autobiographical songs that as a young woman she gave a child up for adoption, which might explain her sensitivity to different types of family. I first heard ‘How could anyone ever tell you’ when living in the USA. A friend gave me a cassette tape of her album, The Heart of a Child. Billy was three or four at the time and the song spoke to me of my feelings towards him. I still love it and play it often (words from memory, so hope they are accurate).
How could anyone ever tell you
that you’re anything less than beautiful
how could anyone ever tell you
you are less than all.
How could anyone fail to notice
that your loving is a miracle,
How deeply you’re connected to my soul.