Something to Celebrate?

November is National Adoption Month. For some it’s a month to celebrate. I wish it were more a month of adoption awareness. My feelings on adoption are very conflicted at times. I love my son dearly, and without adoption he wouldn’t be part of my life. Yet, now I know so much about adoption that it’s hard to be “in love” with the idea like I used to be.

And really I think the views of society on adoption are just as conflicted. For the most part, America seems accepting of adoption but not yet wholly accepting. If adoption were wholly accepted as a way to build a family, adoptees wouldn’t be asked about their “real” parents and adoptive parents wouldn’t be seen as “saints.” It would just be a way to build a family–not so different from the old-fashioned way or using fertility treatments to assist.

If adoption were wholly accepted, families built by adoption wouldn’t be seen as different. The children wouldn’t be seen as “unwanted” and the parents as “less of a mother or father” because the child isn’t biologically theirs. There wouldn’t be questions like, “Can’t you have children of your own?” or “Why didn’t you get an American baby?” People wouldn’t look at mothers and fathers who adopt with pity and sadness because they can’t have “their own” kids.

If adoption were wholly accepted, birth mothers who decide to make adoption plans wouldn’t be looked down on for placing their children. Phrases like, “How could anyone give up such a cute baby?” would never be uttered. Instead people would understand that placement is not an easy decision, and know that birth mothers are only trying to do what is best.

If adoption were wholly accepted, people would understand the loss that comes with adoption. They wouldn’t pass off babies as “resilient” and trivialize the trauma that comes with the early losses that our kids have experienced.

If adoption were wholly accepted in America, there would be a better understanding of corruption and unethical practices that still occur from time to time in adoptions. There would be a better understanding of the circumstances abroad that lead some birth mothers to feel they have no choice but to place their children for adoption. And with that knowledge, churches, organizations, and ministries would be working with those countries to help promote change. (I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. I don’t think white Americans should charge into other countries and tell them what do or not do. But I do feel that instead of advocating for people to adopt, these groups should be finding programs that already exist in these countries and supporting them as a way of taking care of the orphans.) This article, written by Jane Jeong Trenka, perfectly expresses the anguish and helplessness some birth mothers feel.

Adoption has been around for centuries. And I truly believe that no matter what we do, there will always be children who are placed for adoption. That fact is some women who become pregnant aren’t ready to become  mothers. But I wish we could come to a place where every adoption plan that’s made is because the birth mother believes it’s the best interest of the child. Not because she’s too poor to feed her child or because her society doesn’t support single mothers. Not because she feels she had no other recourse.

That’s what I wish National Adoption Month was about. Not simply celebrating it as a good thing to do, but talking openly about the sensitive issues of adoption, making people more aware of everything that adoption entails. Maybe then we could get to a place of true understanding and sensitivity about adoption.

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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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