Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stigmas attached to adoption..

I didn't realize beginning the journey to adoption could and would be just as difficult as our journey through infertility. I have begun to realize that there are many stigmas attached to adoption as well.

DISCLAIMER: Once again, I want to say that if you are our friend and have said these things, we are fine. People say what they can to help others in certain situations. 

1. Overseas adoption is wonderful because you are rescuing those children from a horrible situation-
Yes, many orphans overseas are facing a lot more physically and emotionally than most children. But, the caretakers in those orphanages are doing the best with what they have. I have heard parents of orphans from overseas really bash the country from where their children came.  That was very difficult for Gary and I to hear - especially when the children were from China. I am not knocking overseas adoption. Gary and I really wanted to adopt from China, but that wasn't what God wanted for us. I believe certain people are given the privilege and heart to adopt from other countries. God has placed that love and desire in their hearts. But, please remember that adopting from a foreign country is also something you do in love for the country and people as a whole. 

2. You should adopt overseas because adopting domestically will only give you a child from a teenage mother who was on drugs-
Yes, adopting domestically can be a challenge. But, most teenage mothers never really have to worry about raising their children. Many (not all) have a support system within their family that allows them to keep the baby and they don't need to worry about putting their children up for adoption. Many of the women who are now adopting out their babies are doing so to provide the children with a better home. They are older mothers and they have tried their best to provide for their children and because of situations beyond their control, they have to make a very difficult decision. 

3. Since you couldn't have children naturally, you will accept the first child that is available because you will do anything for a baby of your own-
Adoption is not something to go into so lightly. No, we are not going to have a baby that looks just like us, but we can try to have a baby that fits into our family better. This is not just for our sake so people will never ask questions, but it is for the child's sake as well. We will raise our child with the knowledge that they are adopted. We want them to know how special they are and how God chose them for us specifically. We want them to know that their mother loved them and gave them to us as the best gift we could have ever received.

With this being said, we do not care about the stares we may have from others if our children do not look like us. Gary is Chinese, I am Caucasian/Italian. We are already stared at because we are a mixed couple. It doesn't help that I am only 5'0" and he is 6'3" (yes, I know, he is full blooded Chinese even at this height : ). But, we do want our children to have a happy life. We could adopt a child of any race (and we still may), but our world is not a pretty place. There is bullying, there is still racism. We want our children to face as little of this as possible where we can help it. God will choose our child for us. We have chosen to adopt a child who is Caucasian or Caucasian/Asian. We know even with this limited choice, God is a miracle worker. You may still say, "That isn't right! You should be open to any race."

We again say that it really is up to God. We have a desire to adopt a child of Asian decent specifically just as another couple may have the desire to specifically adopt from China, South America, Haiti. People with those choices are usually applauded for their desire to give to an orphan who is in dire need of support. We say we are no different in our desire to adopt a child with Asian decent domestically.

We have always had the desire to adopt a child who we will raise with the heritage from their Asian father (Gary). Gary was born and raised in Hong Kong until he was 17. He is the only one of his family here in America. His family does not speak English. It would be very wrong of us to not raise our children to understand the culture of their father and grandparents. They will need to be able to communicate with their extended family and understand and be proud of where they came from. His mother has already given a great sacrifice to me. Her son who she supported in his marriage to me knowing that it would mean not seeing him very often and not being able to share in our lives on a daily basis.

We will also raise our children with the knowledge of Christ and His plan for their lives which we feel is even more important than them learning Chinese and learning how to use chopsticks.

With all of this being said, there is a negative stigma attached directly to adoption in the Asian world. From even ancient times, having a child to carry on the family name was a must - a boy was even better. Until today, adoption in the Chinese culture is not something that is talked about or even accepted. This has caused a new stress on Gary and I as we enter into this journey into adoption. We want this child to be loved as our own- which will be easy for us to do. But, we also want our extended family to love this child as their own.

No matter where you decide to adopt- overseas or America- know that it is a decision you need to make between you and God foremost and you and your spouse secondly. God will put the desire in your heart for a child and will lead you in this path. Don't worry what people may say about your decisions. 

4. Adoption domestically is cheap and is paid for by the state- 
No! Adoption is not cheap. No matter what money we have saved, it is no where near enough. Many couples looking to adoption have already used their savings to pay for extensive fertility treatments and many never feel they can adopt because of the cost. Gary and I were worried about this as well. We never wanted to ask anyone for money. We also didn't want people to judge us and say things like, "Gary has a great job, they live in a nice house, Anna doesn't work as a teacher anymore so they must have a lot of money (I do work as a nanny however and make whatever money I can to help us). We want people to know we are not asking for money at all. If God leads you to help us, He will lead you. If not, we mainly need prayer. We are going to fundraise and do what we can to save the needed money. There are some great places where we can fundraise and help others at the same time. We have done our research.  Before our adoption is finalized, we will have spent over $20,000 for legal fees, travel fees, adoption agency fees. This is a high price to pay, but we are willing to do what it takes because God has never taken the desire from us to be parents. 

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