Friday, September 18, 2009

What No One Told Me About Adoption:

Over at Grown In My Heart they are having a blog carnival. The subject is What No One Told Me About Adoption. At first I really didn't think I had much to contribute. After all, we had a fantastic agency and social worker that made sure we were educated....before all the Hague changes. I give them a 10 star on education.

We did exercises like putting colored marbles in a cup to represent our lives....such as work, doctors, dentists, most used grocery store, hair stylist, friends and family. My husband's cup was a rainbow of colors. Mine? Way too vanilla. So I went to work on my white washed world and work on it daily still.

We learned that we would attract alot of attention as a multi-racial family. We learned that we really needed to pay attention and take a stand against any and all racism. To open our eyes and see racism in all things...not just the big events. To support our children when they are the victims of racism and to teach them about racism BEFORE it blindsided them.

We learned that people would ask us lots of personal questions they do not have the right to ask. All because we look different than they think a family should. We learned we do not have to answer these people. We learned ways to divert the questions and protect our kids.

We learned about the loss our children will feel. We learned how this can manifest itself since many of the losses are pre-verbal. We learned about the primal wound.

We learned about keeping our home low key and low stimulus at first. We learned about orphanages and what to expect. We learned about RAD and other attachment disorders and orphanage behaviors.

We learned that we need to support our child's nationality/race and instill pride. Foster mentors and make sure our child was just as comfortable with others of the same race as she is with us.

We learned to make sure not to demonize our child's birth mother. Her first mother. To let her feel the grief and pain and ask the hard questions even if we are uncomfortable. It is part of who she is. Support the child.

We learned many other things also. We used a workbook called "With Eyes Wide Open" that was very informative. We had 2 large 3 ring notebooks full of articles that we had to read.

But there was one area we didn't learn about.

We were not told about the adopted people that are totally against internal adoptions.

There are MANY, MANY of these voices.

At first I was very into reading these sites. I wanted to learn as much as I could so that I could learn from mistakes others have made. I wanted to understand what things were harmful and what things were positive. And I have learned from these sites.

I have also been called a racist for adopting a child of another race.

I've been called a baby stealer for having the money to adopt a child and remove them from their birth country.

I've been told I cannot support my child and her battles against racism....because I'm white and therefore unable to feel.

I've been told I am responsible for other people stealing babies all because I would pay for one.

I've been told I don't care about poor people or women.

I've been told I should be supporting my child in her home with her birth family, not stealing her away.

And I've been told other things I won't even put down here.

And I've quit reading those sites.

I had room in my home and heart for another child. I wanted to give that place to a child with no home and no family. An orphan. I wasn't looking for a specific nationality or color...just a child to love. A child with no family.

I traveled a lot growing up and saw orphan children in other countries. This left an impression on me. I always thought that if we all opened our families to one person with no family it would be a better world. Life without family is not much of a life at all.

Well, now I know.

I'm just a baby-stealing racist with a savior mentality.

Who knew?


  1. Wow, there is some harsh criticism out there! I'm glad that you guys are level headed enough to hang with the good times and bad, since obviously MM needs that from you.

  2. "I always thought that if we all opened our families to one person with no family it would be a better world." That doesn't sound like a comment that "a baby-stealing racist with a savior mentality" would say, so I would guess the people who view you in that way know nothing of who you are. I am sorry that they hurt and want to take it out on others who are trying to make the life of a child better. And I am proud to be called your friend.

  3. I go through phases when reading the negative blogs. I try to take them with a grain of salt, respect that everyone has different experiences and opinions, and go from there. I'm glad I found your blog today via the carnival!

  4. We always hear that we should listen to ALL members of the adoption triad. We also often hear that adoptive parents have all the power, so we should talk less and listen more. I do believe those two statements. But I also believe that neither statement makes our truth, as adoptive parents, any less true. Thank you for sharing this, Autumn.

  5. It is hard to read what others have to say - and while I read some of it, I can't say that I agree or even, sometimes, get it at all. When my children are grown, I'll be totally interested in how they feel about being adopted, having RAD, being an older child when they lost their country...I guess I just hope and pray that these others have someone who really cares about what they feel...someone who is part of their life in a bigger way than a blog reader. But, I have a feeling that it isn't true and maybe that is where so much of that pain comes from.

  6. I have been trying to be educated. My world is already pretty multi-racial. I love to read, to know what to expect. I want to support our daughter, someday, if the paperwork ever gets finished and we finally get her, in her culture and history. But I am not ready for those negative words. I too traveled a lot as a child and saw children without homes or families. I just want to give my extra love to someone who needs me.
    Thanks for the warning, the reality check.

  7. I'm so sorry you have had to deal with so much negativity over the adoption of MM. Obviously you have changed her life for eternity in the best way possible by providing a family for her. Period.

  8. It's so hard for me to believe that people actually say and believe things like this. I know it's hard to tune out such harsh criticism, but you're a wonderful Mom to MM, and that's all that matters. Those people don't know the motivation behind your decision to adopt her, and they don't know what's in your heart. They need to mind their own business!

  9. I do hope that our daughter will find a partner in life that will love her for what she will be, and for her self-doubts, her partner will cherish everything about her, the imperfections and any "holes" in her spirit. We shall do our best but once she is grown, she will have the choices.
    I am thoroughly absorbing all these wonderful posts on this topic. Thank you.

    Alyzabeth's Mommy for One Year

  10. Wow!! We haven't had those reactions before. All the reactions are that she is sooo cute and adorable, and now A L says I know.
    She is popular wherever she goes. Last Sunday at church, we had a visiting priest. At offeratory, the kids will bring something up. Well, I don't know why there wasn't a basket up there (it was the 7:30 am mass), but AL didn't know what to do. The priest called her up and took the dollar from her. She came back all smiles (and everyone in church was giggling). She said he called her Bud. I told DH that this was just another thing to add to her popularity there. She does attract attention wherever she goes, but she is very outgoing and social. We've always had the good encounters. I'm sorry to hear that you've had such horrible ones.
    From what one of our guides said, you earn points for getting into Buddist heaven and adoption is worth quite a bit. Technically, you could adopt 2 and be a shoe-in. I guess it couldn't be that bad.