Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Ten Things Adoptive Parents Wish You Knew...but would never tell you"

This is borrowed from a friend's blog. She and I knew each other several years ago and she has a couple of kiddos adopted from Russia as well as a bio baby.

1. We hate the word "real" when referring to biology. We are REAL parents, with REAL children, who have REAL emotions. Our children are REAL siblings, even if they do not share DNA. As parents, we have our fair share of dirty diapers, late night ER visits, and worries. We've been pooped on and puked on, often times in a foreign country with no hot water. There have been tears of sadness and tears of joy, all an amazing part of being a parent! So, when referring to our children's biological parents, we like the term "birth parents." Our children's birth parents are very real, but so are their adoptive parents and siblings!

2. Please do not ask personal questions about our children's birth parents. We will share all of the information we have with our children when it is deemed appropriate. However, that information is for their eyes and ears only. It's not something we share with everyone. Our children have a history that solely belongs to them. - Edited to add: for children adopted from China, we know NOTHING about birthparents, it is illegal to abandon babies and the birthparents would go to jail

3. Adoption can be expensive, but please do not ask questions about the cost (especially in front of my children). I really, really don't mean to offend with this statement. People are curious, but it is just not appropriate. No one works for free. Social workers, judges, caregivers, and health care workers who participate in adoption must get paid. The same is true for all of these people in foreign countries. The main expense in international adoption is the travel cost. It's not cheap to fly to (sometimes more than once) and live in a country halfway around the world. Honestly, it's worth every penny. Being a parent to my kids is priceless!

4. Please don't tell me that I got my kids the "easy" way. Adoption is far from easy. When I had my baby, they sent me out the door with her with a wave and a smile (no questions asked). Here is just a small part of the adoption process:
*compiling hundreds of documents, with exactly the right signature, certification, and appostile
*multiple visits from a social worker in order to deem your home and parenting skills appropriate
*health histories, medical exams and fun tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
*having every aspect of your finances analyzed
*being fingerprinted for the state and federal bureau of investigations for a background check-
For our second adoption, this involved being fingerprinted on the bottom floor of the jail with the common criminals. A guy in an orange jumpsuit asked to borrow my pen. Nice, huh?
*waiting for months and months wondering about the conditions of your child
*traveling to and living in a foreign country for weeks at a time
*And finally (at least for Russia), being in a foreign court room (guards with machine guns included) for hours explaining why you are meant to be the parent of this amazing, beautiful, wonderful child!

Sure, piece of cake!

Now, I'm not saying that pregnancy and delivery are easy...but neither is adoption!

5. Please don't make me out to be a saint. People love to tell adoptive parents how wonderful, amazing, blah, blah, blah they are for adopting. The truth is, we did it for ourselves! We wanted a child, so we adopted. There's nothing noble about it. To say otherwise, implies that our children were somehow undeserving of what they were given. I mean, have you met my kids??? We adoptive parents are the lucky ones!!!

6. All adoptive children do not have problems. Let's face it, we all, whether adopted or not, have problems! Just ask Oprah and Dr. Phil. Adopted children have no more problems than the general population. Often times, they've overcome more than most, but they typically go on to lead normal, healthy lives. I am sure that my children will need therapy one day, but not because they are adopted. After all, it's always the mother's fault, right???

7. Adoption does not cure infertility. Okay, I realize that my own family is contributing to this myth. The truth is that couples who adopt after infertility, typically do not get pregnant. The rate is less than 10%. We happened to be one of those couples who were told we might get pregnant on our own (and more quickly with treatment), but we really wanted to adopt anyway. I've had many friends with no tubes, husbands with no sperm, hysterectomies, and sterility from cancer be told they will get pregnant now that they've adopted. You never know what someone's situation might be, and this comment can be very hurtful. The goal for adoptive parents is not to get pregnant. It's just to be parents, and adoption leads them to that goal!

8. Please don't ask if I have children of "my own." All of my children are "my own." Both the one I pushed out, and the ones delivered by Delta. Don't get me wrong, there are days that I'd love to blame their antics on the innocent bystander in Kroger, but my kiddos and their obnoxious behaviors (along with all the good ones) belong to me.

9. We adoptive parents are really just like all parents! We love our kids more than anything in the world! We celebrate their triumphs and dry their tears. We would go to battle any day for them, and we love them with every once of our beings...just like you!

10. If you are interested in adoption, ignore statements 1-9, and ask me anything and everything your heart desires. My life is an open book to anyone wishing to adopt. I will answer all questions completely and honestly and share anything that might help you to make the decision to become an adoptive parent! I'm sure this is true for most of my adoptive friends, and I KNOW it is true for me. So, if you are lurking out there, and you are interested in adopting...PLEASE leave your e-mail and info. I'd be happy to talk with you about the greatest decision you'll ever make!!!

Thanks Kerry for letting me borrow this!


Manini said...

Your tips are quite interesting and informative. I really loved it...
Thanks for sharing this information and hope to read more from you. :)