Just to help provide some insight into the adoption process and to foster understanding before my little girl’s ears are here and listening. I am learning that when you are adopting people have lots of questions for you. That’s not a bad thing! In fact many times it’s a wonderful thing because perhaps someone else may then see that it is very possible once they are comforted with some facts about it and pursue a child of their own. I know my husband and I did this. I think we have asked questions of our uncle and aunt for nearly 10 years trying to figure out what we needed to do and when we could do it, etc. Then we held that dream until God gave us permission and actual command to go get her. I hope by answering questions for others I too can provide that comforting insight to another family hoping to have a child to love. Sometimes though questions can get sticky and sometimes don’t always come from a genuine desire to learn. We have been reading and reading, watching videos, training seminars, and getting professional advice on how to handle those questions, especially when little impressionable ears are listening in. So, to answer some common questions for our friends and family before she is with us here you go.
The million dollar question:
Often one thing that keeps people from pursuing adoption of a child internationally is the costs that are associated with it. Obviously this is a sensitive topic in itself because it is financial and our culture squelches that discussion topic anyway. If you want to learn more about answers to this question you can look up the criteria to adopt from the location you are considering and you can easily find out what is needed. And yes it is expensive. So is giving birth and so is infertility treatments. One thing I want to make clear is you do NOT pay for a child. Children are not commodities and yes it is offensive if you suggest that, just don’t. Costs involved with adoption include agency fees, orphanage donation fees for caring for our child, travel costs, and legal fees associated with the different organizations for paper work. I read an article on an adoption site from another mom who made such a perfect comparison that I want to share with you all. She said that yes, there is a financial aspect to adoption just like there is one for giving birth. Hello- do you think that hospital stay was free? the pediatrician costs? the obstetrician appointments? She indicates as adoptive parents we pay for a social worker and nonprofit adoption agency to help bring our children into the world instead of hospitals and physicians. There just isn’t health insurance to cover it all. Take that insurance aspect out and the costs would be very similar. She goes on to discuss paying for food, clothing, medical care for the first 22 months of your child’s life. Those things are expensive. I am paying the orphanage for having done all of that for us for our child. Furthermore there were filing fees for social security, the birth certificate and more with the birth of my other four. I am paying government filing fees as well just different ones. The bottom line is children are expensive regardless of how they come to be yours, whether they grew in your uterus or your heart. I don’t mind discussing the various fees but many you can find out yourself by just googling adoption agency fees and the country you have in mind. Perhaps avoid this question if I have my sweet angel with me though and she will not be old enough to understand what you are asking, especially if it comes out wrong.
Another common one is why did we choose to adopt internationally. I will not go into detail here to answer that one. I love many of you dearly but this is a personal question and if you know us well we will engage in that discussion because it is a beautiful and clearly God directed answer. However, what we are finding is this question comes not so much from genuine wanting to learn or from a desire to perhaps adopt yourself. Actually, this question may indicate some personal prejudice or judgement of our decision. Perhaps avoid this question all together and use some sensitivity. Simply put our daughter is in China so we are going to get her. Thanks.
Many other questions that are common for adoptive parents include asking if our kids are really ours or if they are really siblings. This blog is not intended for strangers so those are not relevant to this post. The answer of course to those are easy anyway. YES. ;) Additionally, there is the racial and cultural comments. Again, I would hope our family and friends would not show such ignorance. If you do, be prepared to no longer be our friends and family haha! For strangers, we will deal with them at the time. I believe everyone answers to these moments when they get to the pearly gates ;)
One more thing while I am thinking about it. When she is here and you find yourself introducing us or talking about our family to others. Please do not refer to our sweet baby girl as our “adopted daughter” or an “orphan” or anything other than OUR DAUGHTER. She is simply our baby girl just like Taylor and Lilly. She doesn’t need another title to indicate she is different somehow. Would you introduce one of your children as the vaginally birthed Sally and cesarian delivered Sammy? No? Why? Well of course, it sounds a bit ridiculous to define someone by how they came into your family. If she hears this what will she think? Will she pick up on that fact you gave her a conditioning title before saying her name in the list of family members? Will that make her feel less than? Will it hurt her little feelings and make her feel disconnected? of course she is adopted! We all know that! You don’t need to define her as such. It is a fact about how she came to be ours simple as that. Trust me we will have challenges enough from strangers pointing out the obvious differences between our family members. We are prepared for that as much as we can be and are smart enough to realize it will happen at some point. It would be great if our family and friends would do the opposite and focus on the love we share that IS the common string that connects families instead of the insignificant differences.
Thanks for supporting us, loving us, and praying for us. We are getting extremely close to travel and are desperately trying to prepare fully for her to be here and ease the transition as much as possible. We are hoping these questions help each person in our support network understand and support her.