What I immediately noticed in the reunification story of Jessica Long is that there were no hyphens. I watched her parents, here in the states, talk about her family in Russia. They didn't talk about her meeting her birth-mother. I never heard them say birth-father.
Like any parents, we taught our children that they didn't hate their siblings; they loved them. And love didn't allow aggressive behavior. Perhaps we would have been wiser to teach them to control their anger rather than attempting to prove that paradoxes couldn't exist.
I'm hoping The Dark Matter of Love will be seen by as many viewers as possible who will feel compelled to put pressure on American and Russian officials to reach a compromise, as least for the in-process families.
You know, we used to tell children to "grow up." I'm not sure that's good advice any more. If my children need to pick a side where adults argue at the expense of children, as a requirement of growing up, then I hope mine never do.
A few weeks ago, a filmmaker for Radio Free Europe spent the day with my family at our home in upstate New York documenting our "ordinary" moments. Olga Loginova, the filmmaker, wanted to show the world there are "successful Russian adoptions."
As the lives of Americans -- and almost everyone else -- become increasingly transnational, states will realize that they can negotiate over children, students, lovers, the ailing and the elderly just as profitably as they have always done over arms and chicken feed.
In 2005, my wife, Amy, and I adopted three children from Russia. As we were wrapping up those adoptions, we saw a document indicating that our new daughters had older siblings. It took us another year and a half to locate them, but they are now part of our family of eleven, too.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt make it look easy. They adopt kids from all corners of the world and the media broadcasts images of perfect Kodak moments. They'd have you believing families bond and blend instantaneously. They don't. Not always.
Writing this story began as an exercise in catharsis. The work of a writer trying to understand what had happened. A snippet of memoir that began in a writing workshop and evolved into a saleable essay.