Myth No. 4 about International Adoption

In my ongoing look at myths about international adoption, today I’ll look at what I feel is No. 4 in the top five.

4. You son’s so lucky; he’ll have a much better life here in America. This is one that many adoptive parents hear over and over. And there’s so much wrong with attitude.

Honestly, in any transnational adoption who has the right to say that living in America with white parents is better than growing up in your birth culture, with your birth language, and people who look like you. While internationally-adopted kids may have more material things here and maybe more educational opportunities, there is a lot of baggage that can come with separating from families, losing your first culture, language, and becoming an ethnic minority in America.

I feel this attitude also shows an ignorance on the part of Americans about the world outside their own borders. For example, South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world. Being in Seoul is like being in New York City. It isn’t national poverty that brings Korean children to live with families in America; it’s the culture of paternal blood lines. But some Americans still feel that we’ve rescued this child from this foreign country.

No one can say for sure what kind of lives our kids would have had in their birth countries. We can explain attitudes and living conditions to them, but really have no right to assume there their lives are better here. For some it’s true; for some maybe not.

I think it depends largely on the child and his or her needs that determine whether life in America is better. When our children are grown, some may feel that it would have been better to grow up in their native countries surrounded by people who look like them even if that meant living in an orphange.

While they’ll have every right to feel that way, none of us really knows what that parallel life might have been like. We can speculate but that’s all because, as noted in a previous posts, our adopting them has changed them.

International adoption is complicated, especially for our children. It’s important not to simplify things too much or try to see it only through rose-colored glasses. We must remember that America isn’t superior to our children’s birth country. It’s just different.

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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

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