Miss Gioia

Sunday, June 3, 2007

My Story - Part II

Last year, I was at a wedding in Shanghai. My colleague (and fellow US expat friend) and I were talking about our upcoming adoption. Another colleague of mine (Chinese) overheard, and she seemed quite shocked that we were adopting. She blinked for a second and then said "Well, in China people think that if you adopt, you must be sick." I think she meant sick as in "infertile," but it sounded pretty harsh nonetheless. Now I really love this particular colleague, so I know that she in no way meant to be mean or rude. She is Chinese, however, and that is a normal response here to the idea of adoption.

For the record, Chris and I are not infertile (that we know of anyway). If we are, then we have spent a lot of wasted time and effort on avoiding pregnancy to date. For us, adoption is a choice, one that I have felt sure of for many years - since I was a teenager at least. There are so many kids in the world needing families. We have a warm home, loving family and enough resources to feed and educate. It seems - to me anyway - an obvious choice.

Now that I am older, I know that it is not nearly as simple as that. I have read books on the difficulties inherent in trans-racial adoption. I listen to people raising children in China and in the United States, and I hear of their struggles with racism and insensitivity in their community. Life is not easy. But even after knowing more about the potential challenges to come, I still feel that this is the right path for our family at this time.

What has surprised me most about this process is the vast numbers of people - American, Chinese, others - who seem genuinely disturbed by our choice. I cannot tell you how many times we have been at a dinner where the subject has turned to adoption and the person across the table has leaned in and said - "but you know, you really should have one of your 'own' too." Chris will tell you that there is just about nothing else in this world that will get me more incensed than that comment. Because I do not believe that our child will be any less our "own" than one that happened to pop out of my uterus. Because I believe that nurture and environment can work wonders in the life of a child. Because our child will be fabulous, not in any way deficient because she doesn't have my eyes.

We may decide to have a genetic child too. We may not. But our soon to be adopted child - who is in this world somewhere as we speak - is our daughter. And she has been wanted and loved for an incredibly long time. May God keep her safe as we wait for each other.



Anonymous Catherine said...

I just happened upon your blog as I was googling something else on adoption and noticed this comment. It is very hard when people assume that you adopt just because you can't have a child of your own. I have a biological child, I adore her. But I chose to adopt a second daughter and my son mostly due to the fact that I had a sever postpartum depression after the birth of my daughter that I believe was totally hormonally based. Try explaining that to anyone! They look at you like you are insane. After adopting my son as an infant we realized that he, 5 years later, has turned out so wonderfully that we wanted to adopt again. So we just adopted an older girl from China. The people who disappoint me the most are my fellow Catholics who expound about pro-life choices but rarely speak about adoption as an alternative for aggressive fertility treatments. The focus nowadays is on everyone wanting "their own" child. It's sad because there are so many kids out there waiting to make some family "their own". My site is letsbringherhome.blogspot.com

July 21, 2008 9:48 PM  

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