17
Aug
09

Only Shades of Gray

I’ve recently returned to reading blogs of adult Korean adoptees. I’d laid off for awhile because so often the thoughts depressed me and made me question whether adopting our son was the right thing for him. Some recents posts have me a funk again, which is part of the reason my posts have been sporadic lately. Maybe it’s time for another hiatus.

Why do I torture myself, you ask? Because I feel it’s important to acknowledge and understand (to the best of my ability) the feelings of all transracial adoptees. It’s easy to stick with the ones who say they’re fine with their adoption, that race hasn’t been an issue for them, and that assimiliation worked out just fine (since most adult adoptees were raised under the advice to assimilate them and make them American). It’s much harder to listen to the adoptees who are no longer speaking to their adoptive parents, who are outspoken about the injustices of transracial and intercountry adoption, and who would prefer the practice of international adoption to end.

Of course, both prespectives are valid because we’re all unique individuals. Two people can go through the exact same experience and come away from it with vastly different opinions. Our prespectives are colored by everything that has gone on in our lives up to that point. And no two people have exactly the same experiences.

And, of course, each person is looking at the bigger picture through the filter that is their experience. That’s why I think many of the issues I’m reading about aren’t black and white, but really shades of gray.

Many adult adoptees feel that if there were more of a social system to support single mothers (especially in Korea) that more first moms would choose to parent their children. Is that true? Probably for some; but I doubt it would be true for all. Because it were true for all, the U.S. shouldn’t have any children placed for adoption at birth. We have the social system in place to support them, and the social stigma of being a single mom doesn’t really come into play anymore (generally speaking). Yet the U.S. still has first moms choosing adoption.

The next shade of gray comes when the social system is in place and young mothers do choose to parent their children. Is that always the best option? I know that adoption comes with issues. But so does being raised in poverty. One statistics I found stated that 80 percent of teenage mothers end up in poverty and reliant on welfare. (Maynard, Kids Having Kids).

So the U.S. system–while providing support and lack of social stigma–has it’s issues too. And with so many kids ending up in foster care in the U.S., I wonder if earlier adoption wouldn’t have been a better option. Maybe it would have been better if those children had been adopted at birth instead bounced from foster home to foster home?

I agree that international adoption has it’s problems, ranging from adoptee issues to corruption. It’s not an ideal solution. In a perfect world, every child would be born into a family who could love and support him in every emotional and financial way needed. In a slightly-less-than-perfect world, every child would be raised in the country where she was born by loving adoptive families who are able to provide for her needs.

But in this far from perfect world, I still think being adopted internationally by a family who loves and cherishes you is better than being raised in an orphanage. Yes, I realize that not everyone gets a loving family. And it pains me to think of the adoptees who end up with parents who abuse them. I admitted already that the system is flawed.

So it all comes down to prespective. And if we’re all honest with ourselves, there probably isnt’ much cut-and-dry about the issues of international adoption. It’s all shades of gray.


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