What Adoption Really Is About
Adoption. It has always sounded as a very nice word to me. A word that says that a couple is giving love, comfort, and safety to a child who might otherwise have none of those. Or, in the words of an adoption agency,
Adoption is where you find a family for a child, not a child for a family.
The Wrong Mindset
I am aware of those who have wrong mindsets. They treat adopted children as plugs – stuff to fill their personal gaps or desires with. But it never really hit me how hurtful those mindsets are until I recently faced the situation myself. I had a conversation with two parents. The two parents rejected adopting children of other races cos they were seen as “useless” races. One of them even rejected girls because girls were “useless” in carrying on the family name. I felt hurt for these children.
Not accepting another race for practical reasons (e.g. not knowing how to help child overcome the obvious difference in skin colour) may still be a reasonable concern. But not accepting another race because other races were “useless” was appalling to me!!! Not accepting girls because you already have many daughters and want sons to play rough with may still be acceptable but calling a girl “useless” was really painful because it was precisely because of this mindset that there are so many unwanted girls out there. Me, being a girl myself, instantly felt rejected too.
And then there is a host of other various wrong reasons or unkind words people with wrong mindsets have:
- all adopted children are unwanted children (meaning the child is unlovable)
- “you are not your mother’s child” (meaning “you do not belong”)
- having children means they can look after you when you are old (meaning that children are utilities, resources, objects to be used)
- a married couple must have children to have a complete family (I think life is lot easier without kids! haha!)
- “your adoptive parents don’t really love you” (actually, adoptive parents still must provide discipline. It’s part of the package called love.)
- “you don’t look like your parents” (the person who said this is just plain insensitive regardless whether the child is the adopted or biological child)
- eee… why you different colour?… your mother slept with another man? (the person who said this is uneducated and ignorant)
- Not having a son (or own children in general) means you are not filial to your parents (one of the unnecessary burdens put on by Confucius… makes some people die feeling guilty or unfulfilled)
- “Asked you to bring your mum, not your maid” (an actual comment made by actual Sch Principal to actual Indian child with Chinese mother)
and the list goes on.
Being Practical with Our Own Adoption
My husband and I are adopting… an affair that could possibly be quite simple if there were only 2 of us in our family world. We are open to any race and any gender. But coming from large and complex extended families from both sides with some relatives who still carry stingingly wrong mindsets, we had to think really carefully.
We are not bothered by what the world thinks of or treats our adopted child. Because there is nothing we can do about that. What is within our control is the love and assurance we give our child. The next most important thing is what our immediate families think of him/her. Other than us, his/her parents, our immediate families will be his/her next level of safe haven she should be able to turn to when hurt by the outside world.
And for such practical reasons, we decided to stick with chinese-looking children… for now. However, we are not going to insist on boys-only adoption. That’s going a bit too far.