Monday, May 02, 2005

Domestic vs. International


Ever since we announced our plans to adopt from China people have been full of questions. One of them being "Why China? Why not here?". A valid question. I'm all about taking care of your own house before you mess around in other houses. But we have our reasons.

First- I want to mention that about 5 years ago someone very close to me gave birth to a little girl who was adopted by a very nice couple. I experienced the entire process with her and learned so much. Since we've been involved with Lingling's adoption I've come to realize a few things. One is that I've never been able to give birth- I just didn't know that until recently. Also, I think that the adoption I was so close to was a primer for me and Jon both (we had been dating only a few months at the time). It was a fairly open adoption relationship for the first year. We even went to her first birthday party. But then the family moved to another state. I learned so much that year. And it's because of that adoption and other adoption stories that I came to the conclusion that I would not want to adopt domestically. Jon's dad is a judge and he's got connections and could probably get us a healthy infant but we just don't feel comfortable.

Here's why:
1. We can't take the chance that the birthmother would want the baby back. I've heard too many heartbreaking stories of babies being taken out of the only homes they knew because their biological parents wanted them back.
2. It would break my heart if we raised our children only to have them decide one day to go find their "real" parents. I don't want to share my role as a parent with anyone but Jon. That may sound selfish but we've been through enough heartbreak. I don't want my daughter to have to come up with cutesy names for her "real" mom. I don't want her bio mom at Thanksgiving dinner.
3. The internet. It is too easy these days to find people. I don't want the bio parents finding my kids one day. I don't want us to have to move to get away from the bio parents. Again, I know it's selfish. I don't need a bunch of comments letting me know I should be secure in my parenting and I should help my child find her parents. Yeah, I know. But I'm not that girl. So don't try and change me please. Love me as I am.
4. I don't want my child feeling any shame in relation to her adoption. When Lingling asks why did her bio mom give her up I can safely say "She loved you so very much. But the government only allows one child per family. It was very hard and she had to be very strong and she took you to the orphanage where we came to take you home to your forever family." We won't have some story about crack or rape or alcohol that we'll have to figure out how to explain to our baby that DSS had to take her screaming from her cracked out mother's arms. No one is at fault with the Chinese adoption but a faceless law.

Now, before you start typing your hate mail. Let me just tell you how the adoption birth mother that I'm close to changed my life. She is the strongest person I know. Giving that precious baby girl to a couple who so desperately wanted children was the single most selfless act I've ever witnessed. That birth mother experienced pain, heartwrenching pain, and she still did what was best for her child. She gave her baby to a family who could provide a better life. My heart ached for her then, and it does now. Because that pain will never go away. There will always be a hole in her heart for her lost daughter. Even though now she has a fabulous husband and two wonderful children.

So don't think I don't have the utmost respect for birthmothers' feelings. I know that it is an amazingly difficult decision to give your child away, no matter what the circumstances. I know that their lives are affected forever. I am incredibly thankful to my future children's birthmothers, for without them we would never have a family.

With a Chinese adoption the moment we get on that plane, all ties to our babies' birth families are cut. Our kids are our kids. We will honor their heritage and teach them all about their country of birth. We'll take them to China when they are old enough to appreciate the trip. We'll be able to go to the grocery store, or the mall, or the local theme park and not have to worry if we'll run into the birth mother (a possibility if we adopted locally). We'll be able to raise our daughters, love them like crazy, and live our lives.

Flags courtesy of ITA's
Flags of All Countries used with permission.

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