Thursday, January 28, 2010

Adoption and what other people think

Interesting title.  Today has been a day where I have spent way too much time on the computer.  Sam is home sick and I am just sitting beside him on the couch, surfing while he watches sports and movies.  So why the topic?  I have some adoption websites and forums that I like to read.  They keep me in touch with what other mom's of internationally adopted kids are going through.  Usually there is good insight and information.  Today just made me think.  On one site a mom asked about having to explain to people when asked about their child's "real mom".  For those outside the adoption community, this is like saying"you are not real, you don't count".  (now I don't feel this way-I get that people don't always know the pc thing to ask, so they ask whatever is on their mind.  I haven't really had this happen yet, but I hope I can answer with dignity and grace and take it with the spirit in which it was intended.) The big debate was whether these birth moms or biological moms or whatever you choose to call them, should be called mothers.  And it was a big argument.  Amazing.   There are people who know their children's stories of how and why they were placed in orphanages.  Some are ugly stories.  And I don't fault anyone for how they feel or even pretend to know what they are going through.  But I do know how I feel at this very time.   You see, my daughter is Chinese.  When people see us together, it isn't that big a leap to think she is adopted.  I am her real mom.  I am the one who gets her dressed and feeds her.  I am the one who gets to make her laugh and who wipes her tears(and her behind-at this point in time). I get to hold her.  When she climbs in my bed, it is my hand she grabs in her sleep, or my face she touches.  I get the joy and privilege(and the yucky stuff too)of raising this incredible child.  However, I did not give her life.  There is a woman, on the other side of the world, who spent 9 nine months with this beautiful girl inside her.  She gave birth to her.  And then for reasons only known to her, she dressed her and put her in a place where she would be found.  This woman could not care for my girl, but she put her where someone else could.  In a country where abortions are common and where there are stories of baby girls upon birth who are drowned in buckets, this woman gave this baby a chance.  Did she love her?  She loved her enough.  And that is enough for me.  So yes, for me, she is Hannah's real mom as well.

And then on another site, there was a blogger who feels that people who adopt internationally see themselves as saviors and with enough money, are entitled to these babies.  Followed by the whole "there are tons of children in the US. Why don't you adopt these AA kids to make your family diverse?"  And then the comments after...really?  I didn't realize how horrible a person I was.  We just wanted a daughter.  The blogger was talking to the Haiti story and the reaction of the IA community.  When I see the pictures of the children in Haiti with no food or water, a country that is in ruins, a government that is unable to function, my first instinct is to want to rescue these children.  There, I said it.  I want them to be safe, and well fed and in a home surrounded by people who love them.  Do I want them to leave their country? No, not if that country can take care of them?  Do I think every thing should be done to find their relatives?  Absolutely!  Should adoption even be considered at this point in time?  NO!!!  But the welfare of these children should be our concern.  Who will stand for them?

So I think I am better off not being on the computer so much.  I would rather not know what the world  thinks of our choice to adopt.  I know we made the right choice.  God led us to this girl.  Is she better off living with us than in an orphanage, surrounded by people who look like her?  I like to think she is.  Are we better with having her here with us?  Absolutely.


Mei Mei s and Mayhem said...

Well said!!!
All these same thoughts and feelings go through me too!! We have really had more interest and questions with this second adoption and not much support outside our immediate family sadly. Besides the international adoption community many wonder why we have gone outside the US.
It is a choice right for our family!!

Michelle said...

Heather, I'm always astounded by people who ask us why we didn't adopt an American (and by this they mean white) baby. They are usually putting their hidden racism on display without even knowing it.
They try to cover with the "there's plenty of kids here that need adopted" line. This just shows their ignorance of how it really works. Ask them if they've ever tried to adopt domestically or even looked into it and you'll always get a no.
If they had, they would know that it's not that easy AND how the laws in this country do not favor adoptive parents.
I mostly just feel sorry for these ignorant people and pray for them.

The Griffin Family said...


I identify so much with this post. When we told people we were adopting from China, a few people did ask us if we had looked into domestic adoption, and some just commented that there are so many local babies who need families. From my point of view, a child is a child, no matter where they're from, and one is no more deserving of a family than another. Every child should have a family to love them. So when ANY child finds their way into a family, it is a great blessing.

If things were different in this country concerning adoption, maybe I would have looked into it more. Then again, maybe not. When God's still, small voice tells you (like it told me) that your daughter is in China, you'd better listen, because that's God's plan for you. I can honestly say that I didn't make the choice to adopt from China, God made it for me, and I trust his all-knowing wisdom. I just wish others would do that too.