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Friday, February 28, 2014

Approach with caution

Sometimes my posts will re-touch on previous posts I've written somewhere in the past. Something somewhere might spark me to write on topics that continue to surface, and that should be written periodically educating our society. I read this morning about an adoptive mother that made a photo series of her two daughters adopted from China. It spotlights racist comments directed at her daughters. Not just about being Chinese but about being adopted. This is a prime example why I started writing in the first place. Education and avocation for adoption. Some of the comments made towards this mother and her two girls are, "Your mom is a real saint for wanting you" "How much did she cost?" "You know that's not your real sister, right?" We constantly get comments all the time. In front of our children we've heard. "Are you crazy?" "Are they all yours?" "Which one is your real child?" "You must do it for money" "Which one is fostered?" - totally not grasping the concept of what "adoption" means. "Are you in competition with Angelina Jolie?" "Real and adopted are not the same" "Why would you do this to yourself?!" "You can't complain, you chose to adopt" It goes on and on.....and what's amazing is, it's always commented right in front of our children. Years ago it bothered me. It doesn't anymore because I've learned with the comments, it's my chance to educate with my responses. Although what about the children that over hear these comments? They've already had a past of loss, grieving, (their own questions of their future unknowns) and had to transition into an adoption placement after multiple foster placements. Life was rough. Adoption isn't easy. During the next future years after being adopted, it's always a question and worry from our children, "Do I belong?" "Is this my family?" "Do I mean any less then a birth child?" "Will you get rid of me?" It's a forever commitment for adoptive parents to reassure their child/children that this is forever. "You're not going anywhere" "We love you just as much as any other" So when we're out and receiving comments, or questions in front of our child/children that are already worried of their worth, it can be frustrating. It's a vicious cycle of emotions that we're already trying to repair. We are a large multicultural family with several different special needs, we stick out worse then a swollen nose. So it's not a surprise that we attract questions and comments. I enjoy educating. Although I do believe people should be aware that my children are standing with me before commenting. To understand that it's a sensitive topic. There was a time (not long ago) I thought that all our children knew they were adopted. I thought because we advocate, and attend adoption events, hold adoption parties and because we have a large diverse family, that it was just common sense - our children knew they were adopted. One day while waiting in our van, our aboriginal eight year old asked, "Did I come out of your tummy mommy?" I was shocked. I just automatically thought my son knew he was adopted. I mean after all.....isn't it obvious? A large, multicultural adoptive family that highly speaks of adoption frequently and all the questions and comments that I continually educate that happens right in front of my children, some of our children don't know. I was enlightened that day. Some of our children don't know and perhaps don't understand either. It makes it that much more sensitive because it shouldn't be explained to a stranger while my child finds out that he wasn't in my tummy. They should find out in a more comfortable atmosphere with just their mother. For my one son asking, "Did I come out of your tummy?" will forever stand out for me. My response was, "No you did not" "Something better happened, I picked you to be my son out of thousands of other children" "You're my baby, my son forever but just came to us another way" He brought tears to my eyes that day. My heart felt heavy. I just thought he knew.....and my son's question didn't come out of his own thoughts, and when he was ready - it came from when my son was standing there while I was questioned in front of him who he was. Just one prime example to think about before questioning an adoptive parent in front of their children. It's "ok" to be curious, to question but not with the child present. And if you're not someone that believes or advocates for adoption, and your comments aren't positive, then don't comment at all. Adoption is as real as birthing a child. Family is family. We are all connected legally with unconditional love, acceptance and the healing journey is bigger then most people are aware. I know all to well about the confusion adoptive children face within our society and I would hope with common sense, people approach with caution.

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