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Thursday, August 04, 2005

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Two thoughts...
1. Christ Himself was not the biological child of his human father St. Joseph, yet the Church holds up the Holy Family as the model for all families
2. In the Kingdom of Heaven everyone is an adopted son of God the Father so clearly adoption is not second-rate

Keep fighting girl and be assured of my love and prayers!

Has someone been giving you smack/making stupid comments about adoption? If they have, that's awful. There's nothing so infuriating as having people *pitying* you, especially for something like this which is such a complex thing in the first place. (As Harriet Vane would have said, we all enjoy self-pity, but that's quite another thing :)).

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure I know which blog you're talking about; it is very hard to read sometimes. The only solution I can think of is resolving that if anyone I know announces an adoption, I'll treat them just as if they were pregnant (with appropriate symptom substitutions, of course :)). After all, when you boil things down, trying to conceive, pregnancy and adoption all consist of indeterminate, nervous hanging around while forces outside of your control determine whether and when your child gets to you. And if that helps one "outsider" think "Hey, she's getting all excited. Maybe this is a good thing," maybe that person will be happy and non-pitying when someone else *they* know announces an adoption...oh dear, this sounds terribly Pay It Forward, but it's all I can think of for the moment.

Of course, I'm still waiting for someone I know in RL to announce an adoption so I can spoil them :). (There were lots of adoptions among my parents' friends when I was little, but at that age it didn't occur to me that fertility was even a factor - it was a new baby!)

Okay, I wasn't furious yet - but I was incredibly CONFUSED by the nonsense you were writing.

And I guess I'm beyond furious. I've heard the comments re fertility treatment and adoption so many times, they just make me sigh. Perhaps I should be angry, but instead I'm just trying to change the world one person at a time instead.

I have a friend IRL adopting from Guatemala now. She and her husband were waiting on their referral when I last talked with her - and after the referral, it will be about 6 months before they can bring the baby home. I am SO excited for her and make sure that she knows it everytime I see her :-D. As far as I am concerned, they are expecting!

I hope that someday people squeal for an adoption announcement the same way they do for a pregnancy announcement.

I hope that when people hear of children adopted or conceived through treatment that they rejoice at how wonderful that family's beginnings will be instead of passing on the misinformation they have on the subject.

I hope one day that people will realize that families come in all shapes, sizes and makeups. Maybe that day is far away, but I can still hope.

It's amazing to me that people can be so dense about adoption.

On a related note,my husband and I are in the process of getting licensed to be foster parents. We already have two boys, ages 1 and 3, and I am ecstatic at the prospect of getting to pour love and attention into a little child who is in a desperate situation. I could not imagine the superior joy of being able to someday take a foster child in permanently and make them my very own, for all time.

Ironically, I don't think I could have grasped the intrinsic beauty of adoption/ fostering back in my childless days. Maybe I'm just weird. You who do not have children and feel passionately about adopting must be absolute saints ;o)

If I sat up at my desk and cheered, as I definitely wanted to do when I finished reading your post, my colleagues would think I was very, very weird.

Yay Elizabeth!

Amen. We have friends who have adopted children from Ukraine, Russia, and Korea. Another family we know is in the process of adopting domestically. Some have biological children as well, some do not.
I sometimes wonder if people that make these sort of comments ever "get it." They're the same sort that would comment to me, "You have your boy and your girl! You're done!" afetr my son was born, and say to my friends with boys, "So, are you gonna try for that girl?"

honestly, my mind boggles at the thought that "anybody" would *not* rejoice at the news of an adoption! pregnancy and birth are amazing, miraculous - but a child is a child is a child, and a parent is a parent is a parent. when/if your adopted child first looks you in the eyes and smiles for real, for *you* - i don't think you will feel any less the joy and wonder I did two mos ago when Gui first smiled at me.

though i do wonder why all the international adoptions when there are so many unwanted children right here. is it easier or cheaper?

Oh boy, Kate, that one is a hot potato. I haven't adopted myself so adopters, please feel free to tell me if I've got it completely backwards, but domestic vs. international isn't really a cut-and-dried thing, and there are a lot of different factors that depend on the parents as well, and what they're comfortable with.

The fact that there are a lot of unwanted children in this country doesn't mean that they're easy to adopt; proximity doesn't equal availability. Adopting an infant - especially a white infant - can take a very long and be expensive. I realize that in a perfect world, everyone would be open to any race, but that isn't how it is, and I don't think it does much good to push people to adopt a baby who's a different colour from them if they're not comfortable with it - inevitably it will affect them, and their child by extension. They might live in an all-white community and feel like they can't give, say, a black child the kind of exposure to other races they think he deserves. Or they may just not want to have their family's adoptive status obvious to everyone who happens to see them. Not to say they're ashamed of it, but sometimes you just want to blend in like everyone else. Plus, there is the trend toward open adoption. Not every adopting couple feels comfortable having that kind of relationship with the birthmother, but a lot of birthmothers understandably want it. A couple who wants a closed infant adoption will probably wait a very long time. Having to write birthmother-letters and generally "sell yourself" to her against several other competing couples also isn't attractive to many.

Adopting from foster care can work out really well, and costs very little - especially for an older child - but again, there are drawbacks. The parents may just want to start with an infant (everyone else gets to, don't they?) or they may fear having the child taken away from them before the adoption is finalized, should the birthmother decide that she wants it back. Plus, older children do tend to come with more problems. Lots of parents manage to overcome these wonderfully, but it's a lot of work to ask someone to take on if they're not sure about it.

Adopting internationally is very expensive - I can't think of a country we've looked into where it didn't cost a small fortune - but it has other advantages. The birthparent-reclamation scenario is much smaller - it can happen in Russia, for example, but it's not common; the birthparents really have to prove that they've turned things around. In places like China, the possibility is virtually zero, since their children are abandoned - unwillingly in many cases, but still, losing a referral to a suddenly-appearing birthparent is unlikely. Other countries have a home-foster system for abandoned or given-up babies which seems to work well. But the thing is, with most other countries, the children are there, and in some cases they can be adopted quite young, which has obvious attractions. Adopting internationally will cost you, but 99% of the time you can be sure that within a certain time you *will* have your baby. You're not competing for birthmothers or hoping that your toddler doesn't get reclaimed by the foster care system. You get through the paperwork, and in whatever number of months you get a referral for your baby and eventually a travel date. Again, it is possible to lose these. But it is much rarer than stateside. If you read some China adoption blogs, you can see it's a tedious process, but there is the assurance of eventually getting a young child at the end of it. It's more solid and organized and less dependent on the whims of other people (well, except bureaucrats, but what can expect of them?).

Sorry to write a small novel - adoptive parents, please feel free to correct me if I've screwed something up. I guess all I'm trying to say is that people who are adopting should be able to go for the situation which is most comfortable with them; if they're happiest with a domestic open adoption, they should pursue that, if they want a closed, certain adoption, they may feel better going to another country where that's the norm. And of course, there are always people who feel a particular connection to a country and adopt from there for that reason. But if they adopt in a way which is uncongenial to them - open when they'd much rather be closed, for example - everyone involved will be stressed out and eventually suffer, and that's not good for anyone.

Sonetka,

Thanks for answering my question! I was afraid almost as soon as I hit post that maybe it would offend someone in some way...I know these are sensitive issues.

It seems to me that one's views of adoption would be strongly influenced by one's views of children. If you saw them as possessions, like a new grill or fishing boat, then you would prefer them the way you "liked them". On the other hand, if you saw them as custodial trusts - beings not your own, but with whom you have been entrusted and will ultimately answer for, then you would have a different view. On top of that, if you saw them as gifts from a powerful and loving Giver, you should be deeply appreciative and joyful. The exact manner by which they were delivered into your care would matter very little.

Kate - well, it is sensitive, but on the other hand it's a natural thing to wonder about - I know I did occasionally before infertility caught up with me and I ended up learning more than ever wanted to about ART and adoption possibilities. I don't think the question itself is so much a hot potato as the way people tend to phrase it a lot of the time; asking "Why do people go abroad to adopt?" is a good question, but if Aunt X or Cousin Y asks "Why are you going all the way to Kazakhstan to adopt when there are so many unwanted children in this country?" there's an implied rebuke in there which is hard to take, especially when Aunt X and Cousin Y probably know very little about adoption except what they may have seen last night on a CNN special.

Adoption is beautiful and brave in my opinion. I especially love it when people adopt from underpriviledged cultures. I think for every infertile couple, there is a child born SOMEWHERE who was born just for them and who is just waiting to be scooped up and loved.

As a father of four (two full fledged teenagers) I assure you, it is not always best to have your own.

Just kidding. Trying to bring a little levity....

Dear Elizabeth,
I will let you in on a few adoptive parent "secrets". No, you won't get hospital newborn baby pictures, but you get something just as wonderful AIRPORT PICTURES.
I cannot tell you how wonderful placement day is. Children from Korea arrive in a small group so there are a number of families waiting. There are balloons, flowers, signs, and enough cameras to make you think the Pope was going to get off the plane! I am NOT a cryer but I get teary just thinking about it. And of course, no labor pains although a friend who was with us did remind me to breath a few times as we waited.
PLUS, you get the blessing of 'referral day' (when you first get the baby's picture and bio) and you get finalization day, which is a litle anticlimactic (having a judge sign papers to make a baby legally yours when you've been getting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby for six months seems a little silly) but hey it's a chance to go out to dinner and a nice photo opp!
Most of all Elizabeth, you will know in the deepest part of your soul that mourning does indeed turn to dancing and that God does 'restore the years the locust has eaten'. Hang in there.
Peace,
Beth

Great post, Elizabeth. I've always thought of adoption as a beautiful picture of our relationship with God, who loves us perfectly and completely as our adopted Father. (Just as marriage is a beautiful picture of the church's relationship with Christ.) I'm sorry that some people are so close-minded and hard-hearted.

Also, I love Beth's comment! I am not one to easily cry, but her post made my eyes well up with tears.

Grace and peace, Ellen

Okay wow. Love the post, lots of good thoughts and points made. I actually was about to close this window and delete the link to your page I have when I read the first part (I have a hard time with sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek humor - I just DON'T get it), but having read some of your other posts, I decided to see this one through. I'm glad I did. You have a lovley viewpoint on adoption, and I couldn't agree with you more. There are so many kids who deserve good parents (well all do, really), and if they aren't born to them, it's nice to know that they may get them anyhow.

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