Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adoption, domestic or foreign?

As an adoptive parent for over 35 years my ears are keenly attuned to the word, "adopt." My eyes are drawn to it when I read like radar locking on a UFO. Adoption as it is today, is a unique situation and filled with wonders as well as challenges. As short a time ago as the mid 1930's kids were shipped off on orphan trains to just about anywhere, to people that never received any sort of background check by well meaning institutions in the name of charity. We've come a long way from that. Tens of thousands of kids have been placed in homes and adopted by incredibly caring parents and become as one family. I applaud those families. I do wonder about a trend that has developed over the past decade or two though: Prospective adoptive parents in the United States don't seem to like American kids!

There isn't a week that goes by that I don't hear about this family adopting a child from one country or another, but not from the good old U.S of A.. A child is a child, no matter the place of birth, in my opinion. All children deserve an opportunity to experience family love. I'm getting the feeling though that many people have given up hope on our homegrown kids for some reason. Actually to the point of where some people are wearing the foreign adoption thing like some sort of elite badge of honor. Not all of them of course, but enough that I would notice it as a trend. I spoke with one guy and he stated, several times that he has adopted a couple "Chinese kids." Another couple mentioned, with emphasis that they had adopted, "Russian kids." And another couple adopted an "African child." I don't ever recall telling anyone I adopted anything other than a "child." I find it rather confusing. Obviously, there is something about this foreign adoption situation that I don't understand and I am not doing any judging of motives here, but as an adoptive parent myself I feel I do have the right to wonder about the reasons or need behind it. Are foreign kids smarter? Are foreign kids healthier? Are foreign kids supposed to be something different that I am missing? On the other hand: Are American kids not worthy of adoption for some reason? Are we, as Americans not responsible for our own orphans? Why not? Is it easier for some reason to explain a difference in the appearance of an adopted child if we say they came from a particular country of origin. More "pure" a strain perhaps? Does that make us better because we adopted from another country. Are we making up in some way for things we feel our own country has done wrong by ignoring those kids already here in need by bringing in replacement kids because ours are defective simply by being born here?

Like I said, no judgement here. Simply some questions that I do not understand the answers to. When I ask those who have or will be adopting foreign kids they seem to get a little defensive and huffy because, "If I understood I wouldn't have to ask questions about it." Like one parent said, "Adopting a domestic child is very selfish when there are so many others around the world who need parents more." I am all the more confused by that statement. My confusion will not change anything. Nor will it change the fact that even kids born here are important enough to receive love and consideration. Yeah, they really are.

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