Most people consider adoption as something incredible, selfless, magical. An amazing act of love.
The thing is – it’s some of that. Sure. But it bothers me in a real way to be told we’re “saving a poor child.” I don’t know why – I think it’s the concept of first world people running off to be the saviors of the third world children that maybe bugs me. Because that isn’t our primary motive in all of this. We want to adopt because we want to expand our family, because I’ve always longed to adopt, and because we want the experience of adding different cultures to our own lives. We don’t have a purely altruistic motive in this – we’d like more children.
Rescuing a child? If that happens because of this, that is wonderful. There is nothing more I’d love to do than know a child that become ours is destined for a better life, but there is another side to adopting no one really talks about.
We are taking away a child from his or her homeland. From a culture they’ll never know as deeply and intimately as a child who grew up there. We’ll do our very best to incorporate that into our lives while sharing our own, but it won’t be the same.
Our child will always grow up knowing they’re different. They may struggle with that their entire lives. They may never know who gave life to them and/or why that same person isn’t the one tucking them into bed at night. Our child may never look at a sibling and think, “Hey! We have the same hair/eyes/skin.” They will never look at Sam or I and think, “I look just like…” And while what they look like doesn’t matter to us – it may to them. It did to me growing up. Even now. This pains my heart for my to-be child in a way I don’t quite understand yet.
Each adoptive child and family must experience at least part of this all at some point. Or any family who chooses or is put in a position to have children in a unique way. But what do you do with it? I’m sure domestic adoption might lessen some of this – but in a way it would be the same just closer to home.
So why adopt at all – that’s what someone must be thinking, right? Why indeed. Because it’s another way to grow our family, and we chose an agency and a process that eliminates the risk of children being “sold” or exploited or simply pawns in a business. We are adopting a child that truly needs a home, and we’ll do our best to give them the life that minimizes the loss. We’ll do the best we can do be the type of family and love they need – any child needs.
Adoption can be a wonderful thing on both sides. But there is always a loss with it. Always. There can’t be adoption without the loss, the grief, the separation.
Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and their families’ Korean adoption in progress on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances.
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