Questioning Your Adoption Choices

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Did you know that every decision you make when you decide to adopt you may need to defend? People will have opinions about every choice you make, large or small. For example, recently I worked at a women’s convention for Infertility and Adoption Support Inc. and I heard two very different comments about adoption. One women came to our booth and said she wanted to adopt domestically because she wanted to “support America.” Then hours later another woman came and said she would only consider international adoption to help all the poor orphans overseas. These two women had very different opinions on adoption. I spoke with both of them and it was obvious that they were sure their path to adoption was the “correct” one. Based on how strongly the both felt, I think they felt their opinion of the “correct” path, was fact.

In my monthly Adoption Support Group this is a common topic that often comes up amongst the attendees. People are surprised at how they meet a lot of backlash when they announce decisions that they have made along their adoption journey. A lot of these attendees had kept their struggles of infertility private so this is the first time they have gotten loved one’s opinions about their family building options. It’s surprising to them how many different opinions there are on the different topics.

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Recent Russian Adoption Not the Norm

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There are adoptions every day without reporters and news cameras present. These are the adoptions which are routine and have happy circumstances. When the media is present around an adoption case, it usually means there is something negative about it and therefore news for the public. This is a sad fact about adoption. When someone hears “that story about adoption on the news” it means there is a story out there which will skew the public’s mind. Instead of seeing how wonderful and simple adoptions can be, they only see the stories which are out of the norm.

The most recent adoption case in the news concerns a 7 year-old boy who was sent alone on an airplane back to Russia with a note from his American adoptive mother. She was “returning” him, as she felt she was lied to by Russian officials concerning the boy’s emotional state. She felt as if the boy was a threat to her and her family and wished to no longer be his parent.

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Thanking Those Who Helped Me to Adopt

grateful-26147 The journey to adopt a child is not easy. There are many hoops to jump through and emotions raised which one cannot always prepare for. It is so easy to get annoyed with the adoption process when your fingerprints need to be redone, a form is lost in the mail, your social worker is sick and cancels an appointment, your profile is not being viewed by potential birth parents as often as you expected or your parents are calling daily asking, “Why haven’t you heard anything yet?” Everyone I meet who has adopted has at minimum one story of when they were ready to pull out their hair due to frustration with their adoption journey.

I am usually a positive, optimistic person but that didn’t stop me from flipping my lid a few times while working toward adopting my children. At those times, I should have made myself reflect on the things that I should be grateful for in the adoption process. When you are feeling down that is the best time to take a step back in order to appreciate what is going right. No matter where you are in your adoption journey, there is plenty for you to be grateful for. You live in a time and place where you have the option to adopt, you may have support from friends and family, you have adoption professionals who are devoted to adding a child to your family, you have an adoption community who is there to support your efforts to adopt and of course, you have birth parents who are willing to place their child with you to raise.

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Adoptive Parents Can Still be Jealous of “Normal” Parents

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As a parent I am always trying to teach my children how to be grateful for all that they have. It’s a challenging thing to do in our society when we are always bombarded with “more,” “bigger” and “better.” We can easily get the impression that we don’t have enough and therefore can’t be happy. Gratefulness is a trait that I am constantly working on for myself which adds to the difficulty of teaching it to my children.

One aspect of feeling grateful is not to be jealous toward those who have something which you desire. I obviously went through this when I struggled with years of infertility whenever I saw a pregnant woman or parents with a little child. My jealously of their parenthood overwhelmed me. Now I am blessed to be one of those parents with three adorable children in my home thanks to the miracle of adoption.

So what should I feel jealous about? There are a few things that come to mind. None of them are things that I am proud about yet I will still own up to them. I hope that by owning and sharing these thoughts that other adoptive parents may be able to relate, and see that they are not alone.

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The Right Way to Talk to an Adoptive Mother

1055986_clouds_and_shadowsA few months ago I found myself boarding an airplane with my three children. It was the end of a very, very long day of travel to get home after a vacation. My children were antsy and I was ready to sleep in my own bed.

We found our seats and the flight attendant, who I noticed was Hispanic, came over with a big smile and said “Hi” to my children. He asked me if my children were adopted. I gave my usual answer of “Yes, I’m an adoptive mother.” I’m used to this question as my Hispanic children don’t match my fair complexion and blonde hair.

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“Just Go Adopt an Orphan from Haiti”

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At this month’s Adoption Support Group meeting I heard something from some of the attendees which I unfortunately expected. Many of them had been asked by co-workers or loved ones, “So why don’t you just adopt an orphan from Haiti?” When I had heard about the tragic January 12th earthquake in Haiti and how many children lost their families, a small voice in my head wondered if this was going to be a new topic in the adoption world.

This topic makes sense when on the news we are shown pictures of children without their families. It breaks my heart to see this. Of course I to want to help. What decent person wouldn’t want to? You could donate money or even supplies to Haiti. These are logical actions. As someone in the adoption world I know there isn’t much logic to the thought “Gee, I know someone who wants to adopt. I should tell them to do this so they can get a child quick and easy.”

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A Conversation to Remember, Helping to Educate Those not in The Adoption Community

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Sometimes I feel like in my adoption articles I portray the more negative view of adoption. People may think you aren’t a “real” parent! Children may tease your daughter for looking different than you! Television shows portray adoptees as having severe emotional issues! I write about these things to prepare adoptive parents for any situation that may arise. My first adoption happened so quickly that I don’t feel like I got enough information beforehand to prepare me for awkward questions, conversations, looks and inaccurate assumptions about my children. I would hate for any other adoptive parent to feel the same way with their first child.

Recently, I have been telling myself to focus more on the positive aspects of adoption. Obviously I’m thrilled to be a parent through adoption and love my life with my children. Why do I need to prep prospective adoptive parents for insensitive situations? People are more welcoming of adoption than in the past. Transracial familial relationships are not uncommon anymore. Families are formed in all different ways and aren’t being hidden from the public eye.

Yet all it takes is one conversation with a stranger to remind me that I must always be ready to talk about adoption.

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Are You Competing for a Baby With Other Potential Adoptive Parents?

1208847_girl_with_a_sour_faceWhen you are in the process of adopting with a domestic agency you may meet someone else who is also a client of the same agency. Finding out this information can bring up some very different emotions. First, you may feel happiness and relief to talk to someone else in the process who truly “gets it.” You could discuss who in the agency has been helpful thus far, what roadblocks you may have faced or any other inside scoop on the agency you’re both using. Eventually though you may feel that you have just talked to your competition.

Both of your profiles may be viewed by the same potential birthparents. You may start to compare the two of you in your mind. “Well they are both planning on being working parents but I’ll stay home with our baby. So we should get picked first.” Or “They may get picked first because their family is local and ours is not. I bet potential birthparents would like their baby to have family around.” These emotions may sound petty but it’s hard to know if you’ll have them until you’ve been in the situation.

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Grandparents’ Perspective on Adoption

1083730___lenses__Not long ago, I asked my parents to write an article for this website. Having different points of view on adoption would be valuable for my readers. After reading their article below you’ll agree that I am very blessed to have parents who fully supported our adoptions without hesitation. I hope you have someone in your life as supportive as them during your journey. If you don’t yet, that doesn’t mean that you never will. Sometimes all it takes is some of your time to educate your loved ones about adoption. So be patient with them until they hopefully realize, like my parents did right away, that it is extremely easy and very rewarding to accept and love a child though adoption.

A Grandparents’ View

Our grandchildren are the cutest, smartest and most interesting children we’ve ever had the pleasure to love. Just ask and we’ll show you their photos in our wallets and on our cell phones. Got a minute and we’ll tell you the latest new words our youngest has mastered and what science project our oldest grandson is involved with. Are we any different from any other proud grandparents? We don’t think so. Does it matter that three of our grandchildren have been adopted? “Not at all” we’ll answer.

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My Adoption, My Decisions

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In the dating world, people have to make many choices. Who do I find attractive? How old can they be? Do they have to have a college degree? Must they like sports? Should they live in town? And the questions go on and on. People don’t usually sit down and list out all their requirements but just “know” in their gut what their answers are. Their best friend may vehemently disagree with their answers but that can be just fine. You are the best judge for what you should look for in a relationship. Yes, there are dating matching programs but ultimately the person follows their instincts to decide whether or not to take the relationship further.

Those pursing adoption also have to make a lot of choices based on many factors. These choices can be minor ones (like whether to fly or drive to pick up your child) or major ones (like whether or not to adopt from foster care). While you go through the process it will seem like everyone, including those not educated about adoption, will have opinions on your choices. It’s difficult to explain that your decisions are ones you have educated yourself about, followed your instincts on and that you did not decide lightly.

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