Sunday, September 16, 2007

FAQs: Questions NOT To Ask An Adoptive Parent

I promise you we have been asked each and every one of these; some more often than others. Most of the time we answer politely, then have a good laugh. But sometimes... Well, some of these make us want to SCREAM!

Are you guys trying to be like Angelina?
Excuse me; I just vomited in my mouth a little. International adoption may be the latest trend in Hollywood, but we are not caught up in being trendy (unless we’re talking about shoes. I do enjoy my shoes).

Why don’t you adopt kids right here in the U.S.?
This is the “we should take care of our own first” argument, and yes, there are many children here, as well as throughout the world, in need of loving homes and "forever families." God has led our hearts to adopt internationally. If He’s given you a passion for children here in the States, I would encourage you to act on those feelings. Look into foster parenting and/or domestic adoption. I think that’s great and wish you the best. This question is very similar to the popular, "How come you didn't want to get an American kid?" My only response to this is that each of my children are U.S. citizens, which makes them Americans.

How much did your adoption cost?
Unless you are a very close friend or family member, please don't ask this. And if you are, we'll probably offer the information anyway. Personal financial questions of any sort are rarely appropriate and often make people uncomfortable. How much do you make a year? How much was your car? What kind of house payment can you afford? Most people who know not to ask those questions, still think nothing of asking about our adoption expenses. Let's just say parenting is expensive- whether by giving birth or through adoption- and be content to leave it at that. Adoptive families are usually not wealthy people and often struggle to afford it.

Aren't you too OLD to consider having a (another) child?
Youth is no guarantee of long life and the numbers 40, 50, or above, are not tantamount to imminent death. People die unexpectedly every day, young and old alike, and everyone should have a plan in place for the care of their children, regardless of age. If you’re able to love and care for a child, you can be a parent. If someone asks you this, you can always respond with, "Aren't you too old to be asking such personal questions?" ;D

Shouldn’t you just be happy with having your “OWN” kids?
Each child is our own. There is no difference between biological and adopted. This question implies that the only reason to adopt is if a couple is infertile. It also suggests that people who have been blessed with biological children should not also have a right to adopt, as if the adopted kids should be “set aside” for infertile couples only. Finally, it implies that a parent’s love either is or should be stronger for a biological child. This is insulting to both the parent and the child. For more on this topic, see this post.

Does your child notice that she’s (he’s) different?
There’s no such thing as a stupid question, right? Ummm…. Wrong. I’m sorry, but this question is just plain dopey. I don't even understand where this comes from. OF COURSE my child notices our differences. She knows she’s Chinese, and we are not. And yes, she notices other Asian people and can recognize the similarities. She also notices the constant staring, pointing, and whispering when we are out in public. And incidentally, my other children notice it, too. They notice every time someone fawns and fusses over their sister and goes on and on about how “cute” and “adorable” she is. My other kids are cute and adorable, too.

Don’t you think you’ve had enough kids?
Obviously not, since we’re having another. What this question is really saying is, “*I* think you’ve had enough/too many kids.” If seven children are too many for you, don’t have seven children ;). Our kids are all healthy, happy people, and their needs are being met. We do not rely on government assistance, nor do we ask for handouts from family and friends. Each one of my children is a unique treasure from God, and I cannot imagine what my life would have been without any one of them.

Are you doing this to “save” a child?
I cannot save souls; that’s God’s job. We have no other agenda than to love a child. And if we can provide a home and family to a child who would otherwise not have one, great. International adoption does not necessarily “rescue” a child from a horrible life. It solves some problems, but can also create others.

How will you afford ANOTHER kid?
We won’t. God will. God is our provider. Always has been, always will be, and He’s done a pretty good job so far. If you are asking out of love and concern for us- we appreciate it, but there’s no need to worry; we’ll be fine. If you’re not asking out of love and concern, then I have a question for you. If we aren’t asking you personally for money, why should this be your problem?

Does your kid speak Chinese?
Hee hee... Does yours? : ) Sorry, I don't mean to be nasty. This one is just kind of funny to me. She's been here most of her life and speaks just like the rest of us- she even has a little hick accent goin' on. Language is learned. Period. It is not encoded into one's DNA, like eye color, or a love for chocolate (Do not attempt to argue with me on this. I happen to know for a fact that chocolate addiction is a genetic trait. It has to be.) She speaks a few words and phrases she's learned from the Chinese DVDs we buy her. I would love it if she becomes fluent one day. I would like to become fluent myself, but Chinese is a difficult language to learn.

Do you think she will ever want to find her real parents?/Do you know anything about her real parents?
These are not stupid questions at all, but they are poorly worded and deeply personal- too personal for casual conversation. My daughter lives with her real parents- Darrell and I! I promise we are both REAL people. She also has real birth parents. If it is ever an option for her to search for and/or meet them, we will support whatever choice she makes and help her in every way we can. Everyone has a right to know where they come from. But that will be her choice AND her business.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Looks like we're "reading" each other tonight. I love this post. We've been asked most of these too. My boss, who I consider to be a relatively intelligent person, just asked me how Zoe is "doing with her English." Well, I'd have to say that her English is a little better than her Vietnamese now since she says three whole words! I guess it's *possible* that she is speaking Vietnamese and I just don't understand, but not probable since she's not even a year old yet.

I needed your humor tonight. My thoughts on adoption have been pretty deep lately. Thanks for this.