Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Adoption is Not Second Best.

I really think so many people in our society see adoption as second best.  Yes, many families come to adoption because they cannot have children of their own, but when you look at the overall picture you see many people choose it for a huge variety of reasons.  In a training session we once experienced there were 5 couples each and every one of them had a unique reason.  Only one of them was “We can’t have kids so were adopting”… ya that would be me… but since it was our second adoption it’s not like I didn’t have a child of my own.

For example the Korean couple… the wife had been adopted and wanted to adopt because she had been.
The parents of 6 children were choosing adoption, so they could open their home to a child who had no home.
One couple felt led that this was God’s plan for building their family.
A Single woman had never gotten married and wanted to have a family, so she choose adoption and single parenting.

Those are just the ones that sick out in my mind, every family has a unique reason for adopting.  In each of the above examples I do not see the choice of choosing adoption as second best.  It was not the choice you have left when all other choices are gone… Yes many couples spend huge amounts of money each year on infertility treatment to: “Have a child of their own.”  They may turn to adoption as a last resort but so few people actually adopt.  It's some thing like 2% of the population who adopts, yet 25% of our population is infertile so its got to be a small percentage.

I’m so glad our journey down that path was truncated. Early on we knew DNA children were not possible.  Did we then just jump into adoption.. well we tried but God put us off. He had a plan, with so many millions of children with no parents or permanently separated from their parents.  How hard could it be to nudge us in the direction He had for us when we were actively seeking His plan.  

Tonight a friend of mine ranted because a store clerk put her foot in in her mouth and couldn’t believe this dark brown baby was the child of a light brown woman .   When Mom told her “Well he’s adopted. “ The clerk’s opened mouth and she inserted her whole leg. (From what I heard anyway)   Suddenly this clerk needed  to know baby's whole life story.  Hello!!!! our children are not freak shows, really I just brought my kid out for your entertainment!!!!  I used to try to educated people about the do and don’ts of adoption. Lets face it most people don’t want to be taught the right thing to do, they just want to hear the gory details and satisfy their curiosity.   Early on in the conversation this clerk hoped my friend “Would have kids of her own soon.” Really you say that in front of an impressionable child??? Hello!!!  What was she thinking??? maybe after adopting.... the baby fairy rewards you for being good... and you can now have real family????

Adopt: 1. to choose or take as one's own;  make one's own by selection or assent: 2. to take
 rear (the child of other parents) as one's own child, specifically by a formal legal act.
Conclusion: to adopt is to make your own.

On Friday night I was asked for the umpteenth time, if I felt the same about my kids as I would about my own.  (Can you picture me banging my head against the table) “Er um they are my own.” I replied. Why do so many people think love isn’t thicker than DNA? 

I’ll let you in on a little secret, one of the factors in who, gets whom, is spark… When we got photos of Sweet Potato, my husband thought she was THE MOST ADORABLE baby in the whole wide world.  He sparked… he looked at the photo and knew, he just knew, this was his daughter…

When I got photos of Little Miss Sunshine it was like a bomb went off in my heart.  I didn’t fall in love with her, I suddenly realized this WAS MY LITTLE GIRL.  Just like that, she was mine.

e could have waited for other children.   In fact a few years earlier we had gotten photos of a special needs boy (possible hearing problems in the future) yet we sent him back. Not because of the hearing problems (I speak some sign language).  There was just no spark. (Don’t worry five other families had applied to adopt him.)  The lady at the agency just didn't want us out of the running, because we had a good foundation for this little guy.  But when I said “I just don’t think he is ours.” she said “Yeah I get that.”
I know part of the curiosity of adoption and orphans is most people have no realistic contact with it… our culture continually tosses up characters in books as real people.  Oliver Twist, Anne of Green Gables, Little Orphan Anne, heck even Harry Potter is an orphan tho never adopted.  Seriously people!  These are not “Real” humans but rather 2 dimensional versions of humanity. I think peoples expectations are warped by these stories. Rather than feel compassion or acceptance; instead they just look to assuage their curiosity. 

Adoptees feel stigmatized, second best, and out of place already, and to top it all off almost every time they go out with mom and dad, someone asks “Are your parents REAL?
Take a moment and think, what message they are sending with those words… Himm the child may think wow if my parents aren’t real then I’m not really what they wanted…. I am a second choice, what was left over, the last to be chosen for the family team.   Can you picture feeling that way every time you went out for dinner?  Think about it. 

Now think about the parent who continually hears they are not Real... its more than just the child that is getting distressed here.  After a few years you get numb to most of it. 

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