La La How The Life Goes On

In Honor Of National Adoption Month…

Posted on: November 24, 2011

…I will offer a review of How To Not Be A Clueless Jerk, However Well-Meaning.

I say the following things with love, darlings. Not because I am an advocate for adoption (it is a personal decision that I don’t feel is at all appropriate to convince you of), but because I am an advocate for my kids, who happen to have joined our family via adoption but who are NOT DEAF.

My kids hear you ask how much they “cost.” I’ll tell you as soon as you tell me what yours cost. If your answer is anything but, “priceless” I don’t want to know you.

My kids hear you offer your anecdotal story of your cousin’s neighbor’s uncle who adopted a kid and boy, was he nothing but trouble. Thank you very little for making no differentiation between children adopted as infants and children adopted at older ages and from challenging circumstances. Thank you very little for assuming that every issue every adopted child has all comes down to the adoption, as if they are not just regular people like you and I, with personalities, fears, hopes and dreams that have little or nothing to do with the circumstances of their birth.

My kids hear you asking me why we didn’t adopt “a needy kid from right here in America.” My kids can hear you calling them charity cases. So dont ask me that question until you have asked yourself why YOU have not adopted a needy kid from right here in America. That question assumes that the purpose of adoption is altruism rather than selfishness. Perhaps it is for some, but honestly, the BabyDaddy and I wanted to have a family, and this was how we did it. Nothing more, nothing less. We went to China because that is where our daughters were. Please also consider that the question assumes that our family planning decisions are open to debate by strangers rather than, as they are for all couples, deeply personal.

My kids hear you saying those girls are so lucky. If you mean that we are all lucky to have each other, just as are other families who love each other, then thank you. If you mean that somehow they should be grateful, then you need to shut up, because my kids can hear you saying that they owe me something for being their mom, and that is never a message I want to send.

My kids can hear you lamenting “what a shame it is how they treat baby girls over there.” Now, is this insight gained from extensive travel to China, coupled with many years of studying the language, culture and customs of this vast and surprisingly heterogeneous nation–or did you see something on TLC or in the Readers Digest that made you such an expert on Chinese reproductive policies from 1990-2011–and such a poor judge of appropriate topics for childrens ears? Even if every terrible thing you said were true, WHY would you say it in front of children?

Finally, and most importantly, my kids can hearing you asking, “What is she?” Really? Really? What is she? Well, she is a human child, whose “real” mom, for the record, is typing this. Although she does have a birth mother to whom we are eternally grateful, but about whom you, as a random stranger, are entitled to zero information, however politely you ask.

So when I answer (or politely deflect or refuse to answer) your rude, although well-intentioned questions, please don’t take offense. Don’t think I’m sensitive. Don’t think I’m ashamed of my daughters’ histories. Please just look at my girls, look at me, and see a family that you don’t need to dissect or intrude upon in order to support.

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