Scenario: At work. A woman who works at the University came in to pick up some letterhead for her new boss. This was the first time we had met, but she was with someone who knows that K is from Ethiopia and asked about him. What should have been a “he’s great! Thanks for asking!” kind of conversation, turned into 35 minutes of me listening to the woman I had never met talk about the intricacies of adoption, from her point of view. Since she has never adopted but all her “facts” came from books and documentaries about adoption… I had no choice but to correct her and tell her that she was flat out lying and falsifying information! This is my letter to her and people like her!
Dear Adoption Know it all,
Thank you for your kind words about my adoption. And I agree, he is pretty amazing. But here are some things that I would like to help you with—you, have NEVER been in my shoes. You have NEVER adopted, so please, when another person asks about the process, shut it! I have spent the last decade doing HARD CORE research into the orphan crisis worldwide as well as right here. Here’s the other thing, since you haven’t ever gone to an orphanage, worked at an orphanage, even LOOKED at an orphanage, don’t suppose you know what’s going on!
Here are a few things that you completely falsified:
There are indeed “orphans” in this country.
International adoption isn’t 3 or 4 times more expensive than domestic—there is usually a range, as far as how much it costs, but domestic adoption can be just as costly—as if the cost really matters… but…
I actually know a lot of families who have amazing relationships with the birth mom and their open adoption is a great fit for them!!! It’s isn’t a “hassle” or a “nightmare” situation at all.
Not all kids from Russia have emotional problems and aren’t “doped” up.
Foster care/Foster adoption isn’t free and I don’t know that I would preface the sentence about fost/adopt with “you can really make good money doing that!” Just sayin’!
Surrogacy is a little different than a birth mother choosing you to parent the child. You might want to look up what a surrogate does.
Birth moms can change their mind and choose to parent their child.
Just so you know, India is in Asia, so yes, one Asian country does allow single women to adopt.
There are a lot of people, like myself who advocate for families to stay together. While I am blessed through adoption, I want to see families be healthy, secure and stay intact!
There is corruption everywhere—at your job, in banks, in the government, in your family—so it isn’t just shady people in adoption circles. And by the way, there are a lot of amazing people who are a part of this culture and life—don’t blanket statement everyone.
Not all babies from the continent of Africa are AIDS babies—you might not want to make absolute statements like that.
There is a big difference between a refugee and an orphan.
Actually, Africa IS A CONTINENT! Ethiopia is country in that continent. Just like the US is a country within the continent of North America.
No, there aren’t thousands of orphans worldwide; there are (approximately) 210 MILLION orphans worldwide.
When talking about adoption, just know that I am his “real” parent.
Not all kids are broken, scarred or “beyond repair” because they used to be orphans.
Please choose your words carefully when talking to people about the race of their kids.
Please choose your words carefully when speaking about someone’s birth parents—you don’t know the first thing about them and assuming you do, just makes you look like an evil wench!
Please don’t presume that all kids in the foster care system are from “junkies and criminals.”
Please don’t assume you know that a person relinquished her child for adoption because she is a teenager.
And finally, just as a reminder, it might now be the best practice to assume that I can’t “have” any kids of my “own”. Don’t assume you know someone’s story before they have told it.
Thanks for listening and sadly, since I schooled you about all this in front of your co-worker, I am sure you won’t ever be talking to me again—and I am ok with that. Just please remember, we all have a different journey to parenthood. Please don’t assume each case is the same. Please don’t generalize. And please don’t assume you know about adoption until you have done some research OR adopted yourself. Even though I have built my family through adoption, I don’t know the first thing about the journey some of my friends have gone through!
Until next time!