Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Happiness is a choice, right?

So, there are a ton of Facebook groups out there for adoption support, info, etc...  They are actually really great.  Honestly, without them, I would feel like we know so little.  They are good to give you estimates on timelines, to understand the process, etc...  Also, there are groups that are there for the special need your child might have - like cleft lip/palate...  ...And then there are the ones about having a child of a different race in your family...

A big trend on all of these groups is to recognize that adoption starts as a tragedy.  And that is true.  For some reason a birth mother did not feel like she could keep her child and felt like she had to abandon or place her child with another mother.  In China, a reason many mothers do that with a child with special needs is because they simply cannot afford the healthcare costs associated with caring for the child.  Chinese hospitals and doctors require payment up front and there is no national healthcare from my understanding.  Many times to get the child the healthcare he or she needs, they have to abandon the child as children in orphanages do get healthcare.  Fortunately, charities have sprung up that help to provide healthcare to these children and parents.  No one would want a wanted child to be given up just so they can get the healthcare he or she needs.  Then factor in the one child policy...  My heart breaks to think that might be what happened to our little girl's mother and father.

So, yes, that is a tragedy.  But there seems to be this movement to focus on that tragedy and not the redemptive part of adoption, where a child does find a family who loves and cares for him or her.  It is almost like people want that one event over which the child has absolutely no control to define them and their entire life.  For instance, it is not politically correct to say an adopted child is lucky to be adopted.  The politically correct answer is that they are not lucky, they were abandoned at birth, don't know their birth parents and in our child's case she will have lived her first three formative years in an institution.  But to me that seems so negative and ungrateful.  Yes, I think our daughter will be lucky.  I think our biological children are lucky too.  They will have a home in the greatest country in the world; to parents who love, adore them and strive to put them first; in a home where they will never hunger or thirst; where they will never not have shelter; they will receive one of the best educations in the world; and opportunity will abound for them....  To me, that is lucky.  The fact that you have something bad happen to you, does not mean you are unlucky or somehow permanently damaged goods.   Yes, that experience will define and shape you.  But that is not all you are.  In fact, if the trials and tribulations in my life have taught me anything, they will make you better and we pray this is true for our daughter.

What is even more perplexing to me is that people of faith are many of the ones pushing this narrative.  Do they not believe in redemption?  Do they not believe in giving thanks for our many blessings?  I really do not understand.  And, also, do they not understand that this narrative also discourages people from adopting - when so many children need families and homes?

Now, I do think in the past, adoptees have been told they are lucky, and sometimes adoptees have not felt like they could talk to their parents about the feelings and hurt they have surrounding being adopted.  So, maybe that is why there is this narrative?  And, of course, we will listen and talk to our daughter about any hurt she will have as a part of her story.  We are not in the trenches yet, so maybe we do not fully understand...  But in general, there seems to be this trend in our society to focus on the times in our lives we have been wronged and dwell on them and let them define us.  I do not understand that.  I just don't understand how it is helpful.  It leads to sadness and self-centeredness, no?  Any child adopted or born to parents, is lucky when there are children out there in orphanages who will never be placed with parents.  Who will age out of the orphanage at age 14 and will likely end up as sex workers to survive.  We are all SO lucky.  Why do we all focus on what we don't have and not what we do.  I do it too.  I am not saying I don't - but I recognize it as sin and me being self absorbed.  And I won't encourage my children to do that.  Isn't there a fine balance between not dismissing your child's pain and being open to hearing their concerns, fears and sadness - and between letting them dwell on those things and let them define their future?

Along the same lines, there is the transracial adoption crowd who seems to push the narrative that our daughter will experience racism on a grand scale because she is Asian and that because we are white we can have no idea what that is like.  Yes, I am sure our daughter will experience racism.  But these people seem to seek out and see racism where it doesn't exist.  Now, maybe that is because they have experienced so much, that is their default.  But they have called me racist for espousing a different view from them, so, honestly, it is hard for me to take them seriously.  Does racism exist?  Yes.  Do I expect to have our daughter come to us in tears from an unkind interaction?  Yes.  But do I think she should give power to others who are ignorant and cruel to make her feel sad?  No.

It seems like people don't realize that most children are picked on and I do think that if you are a minority race, that is probably the easy thing to pick on for that child.  But I had mean things said to me b/c I was chubby and wore coke-bottle glasses as a young child.  I was picked on because of my religion growing up.  I kinda think this is part of life - that some people can be cruel and it is up to us to equip our children to handle that with grace.

And as part of that equipping, I also believe in teaching our children to willfully misinterpret people's intentions towards them.  What does that mean?  It means assuming the best about someone's intentions even when they may not be the best.  This seems a lost art nowadays as being offended is definitely in vogue.  And, those offended may even have legitimate reason to be offended.  But here is the thing...  Being offended and angry does not hurt the offender.  It hurts and consumes the offended!  Why are we choosing to let others hurt us and make us sad?  It does nothing to them.  And who wants to give that kind of power to another?  So, yes, we will teach our children to see the best in people even when maybe the best isn't there and to shrug it off as much as possible when someone is mean.  I mean if someone is being cruel, they are the ones I pity, not our child.  And these other parents seem to be teaching their children that the world is a horrible place with all these people who don't like you because of your race.  How does that help their child?  Am I missing something?  I do not get it.

So, anyways, it makes me sad that this is the narrative that we are seeing by adopting parents.  It seems all doom and gloom and that are children have such a horrible road ahead, etc...  I guess we don't see it that way.  I suppose only time and experience will tell.

1 comment:

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