8:15 PM

It is our responcibility

I realize that my earlier post was fiery and judgmental, but I was trying to make a point by showing the extremes. It is a post that comes from anger surrounding how parents seemingly choose to stay ignorant about the challenges and issues in adoption. It is about how steamed I am for the complete disregard for the other people affected by the adoption triad.
As adoptive parents it is our responsibility to understand the role we play in the injustices of adoption. We need to help change the tide in the media, with the general public, with every one. And so I screamed and shouted yesterday because I feel this voice is not heard enough, so I over compensated with volume. As Kelli mentions in the comments section, this is a multi-faceted issue, so true, but I just guess in that moment I needed to shout out the one side that never gets talked about.

Just so that you do not think I am full of angry BS please familiarize your self with these two handy lists, if you have not seen them already:

From Adoption Families:

The following is a list of wrong motives to adopt:

  • Because everybody is doing it (children should not be a fad)
  • To have someone who will love you back (not every child may want to reciprocate your love and affection-initially anyway)
  • Your biological clock is ticking (not good motivation for adoption)
  • You want some company (adopt a dog!)
  • Because you feel sorry for the child or want to rescue them (feeling any sense of indebtedness is not fair to a child who did not ask to be in the position they are)
  • You could really use another person to help out around the house (hire a housekeeper!)
  • A playmate for your other children (baby-sit or do more play-dates)
  • Because children from ______ are so cute (may be cute, but cute is not a good reason to adopt)
  • If I can't have a child biologically, I guess I'll settle for adoption (adoption is not second best, it's just a different path-and it's not easy)
  • A child will bring my spouse and I closer (might be true, but will likely cause more tension and less one-on-one time together; not good for a struggling marriage)
  • I need someone to pass on the family name (poor reason to adopt)
  • I'll start the adoption process and hopefully my husband will come around (it takes the full cooperation of both in the relationship to do this otherwise it is likely to cause great tension in the marriage)
  • Love will cure any problem a child may have and I have a lot love to give (unfortunately no amount of love in this world can help some children; though patience, proper advocacy and empathy can help)
  • Tired of watching other women have babies (not a good reason to adopt; children who are adopted often have very unique special needs that require a lot of devotion)
  • Could use some extra income (some special needs adoptions provide subsidy to cover a child's extra care needs; often the subsidy does not meet all the expenses of the child)
  • You want someone to leave an inheritance to (donate to a worthy charitable organization)
  • You think you'll gain respect and status of sainthood (this is a purely selfish motive; likely you'll feel more like a servant than anything high and mighty)
  • I need a reason to get up in the morning (program your coffee maker; with children there are likely to be days when you don't feel like getting up in the morning)
  • A big tax write off (while this is a bonus, your children will likely cost you more than you'll get back from your taxes)
  • To make me feel complete (you really ought to feel complete before you adopt)
  • To have someone to care for you in your old age (children don't always outlive their parents; it's terribly sad to hear such expectations being placed on a child; start saving for your future now)
Go ahead and count how many times these reasons/justifications appear in our community. Count how many times they appear in the starfish conversation I was responding to. Count how many people feel that you should not be able to adopt unless you are infertile. Check to see if any adoptee has ever put fertility ability on their list of ideal parental qualities.

Point # 2, this is not about the parents, it's about what is best for the kids. The best voice we have that represent our future children is that of the adult adoptees. Buried somewhere in that angry post below, I do not think I made this point succinctly. But if you read their words you will hear time and time again, that our children will be burdened with our motivation to adopt, it is a part of their adoption story and being, it will influence their sense of self.

From Adoption Survivor:

Sage Advice for Adoptive Parents
Re: What if? Questions to Adult Adoptees

After reading the heavy traffic that this group generates, I was
wondering if the adoptees would like to share specifics of what was
good and not good, what would have helped, what should have been
avoided, in their upbringings.

Here are Sunny Jo’s perfect answers:

do’s:

keep b-culture alive in daily life through contact with immigrants from
the child’s b-country who can take the contact beyond ethnic food and
cultural artifacts

make sure contact with b-culture (mentioned above) is introduced early
on so to make the b-culture an equally natural part of life as
the ‘culture’ of the a-family

keep in contact with other a-families

live in diverse areas where your child won’t be the only person of
colour. do NOT believe, however, that ‘anything but white’ is ok, an
adopted korean child won’t necessarily have more in common with a
person of african or arab origin than a white person will.

go on frequent homeland journies back to the b-country, and even
(partially) pay for the child’s first (and/or subsequent) homeland
tours as an adult

involve the entire a-family (parents, siblings etc) in the
adoption/cultural activities, without appropriating and appropriating
it (a difficult tightrope to walk)

read ‘beyond good intentions’ by cheri register

if possible, enter your child into a mentor program which gives him/her
a chance to meet adult adoptees (and/or ‘native’ koreans)

encourage language studies

give back to your child’s country of origin by supporting social
change, e.g. through sponsorship through SOS children’s villages or
other charities

read books, articles, websites, blogs etc written by adult adoptees
(and APs with adult children)

support local adult adoptee orgs (e.g. financially) but accept that
it’s up to the org to let you in to their events or not

love your child like your own, but accept that s/he never will be
fully ‘your own’

allow your child to grieve and be angry

seek professional help if necessary

don’ts:

adopt only one child from the same country, esp. in families with bio
children

adopt children from totally different countries/culture (e.g. africa
and asia)

accept adoption agency advertising, information and propaganda at face
value

be possessive, an adopted child will never be ‘yours’ in the same way
as a bio child since the BPs will forever, whether known or not, be
part of your child’s life (and APs can never take their place)

think that food, education and other stuff valued in your culture, will
make up for the losses caused by adoption

ignore or trivialize racism, e.g. by comparing it to injustices you
have suffered

expect your child to be grateful

think you ‘saved’ your child since many adoptees have bio siblings who
stayed with BPs and are doing just fine

feel threatened if your child wants to move back to tyhe b-country as
an adult or young adult

accept any kind of racism or bigotry coming from family, friends,
neighbours or anyone else

accept your child to be treated as an exotic pet, e.g. by strangers who
want to ‘pet the hair’ or ask private questions about the child’s
background etc etc

believe that it was god’s will that your child came to you, b/c that
would automaticly make it god’s will for your child’s BPs to end in the
unfortunate circumstances which led to the abandonment – and no god
worth worshipping should want that on anyone

force your religion, culture etc onto your child since it might
conflict with the child’s original religion or culture. as a family
member the adoptee should ofcourse be part of celebrating holidays like
anyone else, but if the child chooses to opt out of certain regulations
(e.g. dietary regulations which prevents certain foods from the b-
country) then this should be respected

And from Heart, Mind, Seoul

Twenty-Three Things This Korean-Adoptee Thought About as a Child

  1. That many times I was embarrassed and ashamed of my birth culture because it was so profoundly different than that of my family and my friends. That too often it served as an easy and irresistible source of teasing and fodder for others - strangers and classmates alike.

  2. That despite my parent's unconditional love for me, I couldn't help but feel that I was the last option for them to finally have children.

  3. That phrases like "Thank God we can always adopt" or "Well, at least there's a world of unwanted children we can adopt from since we can't have kids of our own" only fed into my belief that adoption truly is, for virtually all couples, the very last resort by which to create a family.

  4. That as a young girl, the thing I was most grateful for was not having a sister who was my parent's biological daughter. That even the mere thought of being compared or having to share my parents with a sister who was their "real" daughter was too much for me to bear. Being the oldest and the only girl was my way of telling myself that I was special, even when I didn't always believe it.

  5. That instead of always hearing, "You're so lucky to be adopted", that it would have been nice to just once hear "It must be hard sometimes to be adopted."

  6. That the insatiable need for me to be perfect was a way to make me feel more valuable, and therefore less likely to be abandoned once again.

  7. That the insatiable need for me to control every facet of my environment was a way to feel safe and secure during a time when I felt that I was disposable.

  8. That my mind understood why my Korean mother had to give me up, but that my heart didn't.

  9. That the message "She loved you so much that she gave you up for a better life" meant that it was sometimes scary to be loved so intensely by my adoptive parents.

  10. That deep down, I wondered if I could ever be good enough. After all, I was left and given away as a baby; why would anyone leave their baby unless that baby was bad and unwanted?

  11. That I dreamed of going back to Korea just to be able to fit in amongst my peers. That I would have given anything to just once be the girl who was thought of as being popular, pretty and "normal", instead of the one whose sole appearance brought forth so many unwanted questions and assumptions.

  12. That often I thought of ways I could make myself look more white, just so I wouldn't feel like such a monster.

  13. That I wondered what it would have been like to be the girl someone fought fiercely over, instead of feeling like the child my Korean parents didn't want and the daughter that my adoptive parents had to settle for.

  14. That I felt so incredibly guilty anytime I felt anything sad or bad about my adoption. That it was much better to hold everything in than to hurt my parents who I know loved and adored me more than life itself.

  15. That I became very adept at spinning my own adoption story, for the sake of my own survival.

  16. That it was impossible to be angry or hateful towards my Korean parents for leaving me, and yet impossible to forgive myself for being left.

  17. That I got to a point where my mind truly believed everything I was saying about not feeling any effects or fallout from being adopted, even if my heart and body felt markedly different.

  18. That one's body will not lie, no matter how much you ask it to keep on pretending.

  19. That my tantrums, outbursts and fits of rage were my way of trying to say, "I'm hurting so badly inside and more than anything, I am afraid that you will leave me."

  20. That love, no matter how deep nor abundant, can ever erase the past.

  21. That in spite of everything, I knew I would come out on the other side.

  22. That I have loved, and been loved and that one day I would feel that I was actually deserving and worthy of that emotion.

  23. That what others saw in myself would one day be evident to me as well. And hopefully one day, I would truly learn to love and forgive myself..

P.S.
Some more links I like
10 do's and don'ts -Love isn't enough. Raising a family in a color stuck world


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