Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Well, I'm just trying to help"

There are so many well meaning people out there...that are getting on my very last nerve.  When I began the adoption process for my China girl, I tried to keep it pretty quiet.  I was excited so it was really hard to keep it to myself.  So far as know, it's just my immediate family and my grandma that know.  I also had to share it with my boss and HR director at the time because they needed to submit information on my behalf.  They were also very quietly telling alot of the other staff even though I expressly asked them not to.  Same at church...I shared it with my prayer circle of 4 other women because believe me, I really needed a lot of prayer!  I swore them to confidence, but when I went to Hong Kong a month later they were under some misguided belief that I was "picking out my child" even though I thought I had made it pretty clear that I was only going for a wedding and that my referral would be well over a year away.  Anyway, because of the loose lips among these acquaintances, a lot more people know about the adoption than I ever wanted to know.  I realize they were excited and it sounds exotic to them, but it's my life!  So, as a result, very few people know about adopting Haven.  Not even my boss knows.  Only immediate family and probably 4 people that are closest to me (and obviously those of you that are reading my blog right now). 

So, after all that I can finally get down to my primary topic: well meaning people and the stupid stuff they say.  Since so many people know about my daughter I am asked on a near daily basis (which bristles me right away since most of them were never supposed to know and I have corrected them multiple times...but that is a rant for another blog) "how much longer?"  It doesn't matter that I have told them it is going to be another 4-6 years or to not ask until after the Olympics, the same question comes up day after day.  After they bitch complain about the wait time and start talking trash about a group of people that they know nothing about, I get question number 2: Why don't you adopt from another country?

Are you kidding?  My heart has always been in Asia and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to begin adoptions there when I did, but I have two problems with this question:

  1. I know where my kids are, why would I go somewhere else?
  2. Do you know how limited I am because I am single???  Married people, consider yourselves blessed.  The adoption world is your oyster.  Not only internationally, but domestic as well. 

After I explain to the well meaning person that it is extremely difficult to adopt as a single in most questions, we move onto question number 3: Why don't you adopt here?

Several reasons: birth mothers get to choose the adoptive family, even strung out crack mamas.  Even if they don't feel they can raise their own child, they still want to find a family that can give them everything they can't.  When you can choose between a married couple (and a stay at home mom) that make $200,000/year and live in a nice house or a single working mom of considerably less means and a much smaller house, who are you going to choose?  Even my SW has told me that I would be better off adopting internationally otherwise I am mostly limited to infants that have been exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero. 

Which brings on question number 4: Why don't you become a foster parent?  Please keep in mind, I am talking from my experience and how my state is set up...your state may be different than mine.  I've heard that other some states are actually there for their kids, this is not true of all states and certainly not true of my state.  My state has had the unfortunate distinction of having several children killed by their parents even while children's services was involved.  We had one killed shortly after he was returned to the birth mom. By the time children are removed from their birth parents in this state, they are destroyed children.  These children have been sexually and physically abused (many times for years) before the state intervenes or they have been neglected and abandoned and have great difficulty being parented.  Please understand me--I'm not saying that they are unworthy, I'm just saying that I don't feel like I can parent them.  And, yes, I do realize that I do not know what to expect from my adopted children from Asia.  I do know they will be developmentally delayed, they will have some degree of attachment issues, and may have suffered from neglect or lack of interaction while in the orphanage.  I also won't know anything about pre-natal care.  But from personal experience, I know I am better suited for international adoption than for foster kids from my own state. 

Many people make the suggestion to "foster parent" without having any experience in the matter.  I do, however, have experience.  As a teenager my family had a couple foster kids--after the last one I asked that we not do it again because I was the one that had to share my room with them and I began fearing for my safety.  I was on edge in my own home.  We were not told her history, but it was evident from her behavior that she had been sexually abused.  She also had a lot of displaced anger that got directed towards me and my mother.  I used to wait for her to fall asleep first at night before I was able to sleep--I didn't know what she would do to me while I slept.  She tried to jump me on a couple of occasions and since she was a year older, 50 lbs heavier and 6 inches taller I'm sure she could have seriously injured or killed me.  My mother found notes tucked into the bed stating that she wished to kill me.  So, yeah, I have experience.

In addition, this state is very much pro-birth parent and anti-child (I say anti-child since children don't have a written guarantee of any rights.  They don't have the right to be safe from harm, cared for, or fed) unlike some other states.  It doesn't matter how much damage that birth mom and her dead beat boyfriend have done to that child(ren), the state really wants her to parent her kid(s) regardless of the needs of the child.  I don't want to fall in love with a child and wait for the state to come and take them away.  Although I will not ever claim to have loved our foster kid, I was heart broken by her behavior when she would return from a weekend at her dad's house (and presumably her abuser).  Any gains she had made throughout the month or more were lost in 48 hours.  It would kill me to have to watch that with a child I was caring for.  To know I was sending that child back into an environment that would cause them physical and mental harm...well, I just don't know how I would do that. 

So, when a person asks me "have you thought of....?", the answer is "yes, I have".  Believe me, there is nothing they can suggest that I haven't thought, pondered, prayed or agonized over.  I realize that not everyone makes the same decisions and some have had better outcomes, but the rules apply to different people based on your marital status and the state you live in.  I have chosen to make decisions that I can live with.

Of course, I can do as my mom suggested and the next time someone asks "have you thought of....?" I can say "thanks for your insight, I hadn't thought of that".

And please, don't flame me for stating my opinions on things that I have experienced.  You may have had a different experience and that is great, more power to you, but not everyone has been so blessed. 


Kristen April 20, 2008 at 7:43 PM  

I get that, too. From one man in particular, who adopted his daughter a year ago. I don't know what he wants me to say! Hang in there!

Laura April 20, 2008 at 7:46 PM  

Ah yes, the well meaning people. There are a lot of them, aren't there?! In the beginning (over two years ago), I was able to answer those sorts of questions with a smile on my face. I'll admit that now, I sometimes do it through gritted teeth. I have to say, though, that many of the questions/comments you will get once you have your child will truly blow your mind! I just wrote a post last night on the things I've been shocked to hear. Although I'm married, I completely understand your frustration regarding limitations as far as int'l adoption. My husband and I are pretty much limited to three countries, including VN. Because of the current situation in VN, we probably won't start the process there again at this time, so we're down to two countries. So, I understand where you're coming from. Adoption isn't for the faint of heart, but it's sooo worth it! I'm very excited to be following your journey.

(BTW, this is Laura @ For some reason, blogger is not allowing me to sign in with my wordpress ID.)

Miles' Mama April 21, 2008 at 10:49 AM  
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About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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