My friend Katharine and I grew up together. We attended school together from late elementary school through high school. You might be surprised to learn, with everything I post, that Katherine is my friend and is an adoptive mom. The truth is I find many adoptive parents to be great and loving people. It’s the system that is the problem, not most of the adoptive parents.
I feel this article is necessary to write because I see within adoptee only groups on Facebook a lot of hatred for all adoptive parents, every single one. This simply cannot be justified nor is it acceptable.
Yes, there are horrible, terrible, simply monstrous adopters out there. I use the term adoptive parents for those I think of positively, and adopters for those I view negatively. I have friends who are first mothers through being victimised. Their children being raised by emotional abusers and they can’t do anything about it. There are nasty adopters out there who resell their adopted child because “he has MS” or “he gets in the way of our careers”, and even those who adopt children with severe behavioural problems still are not justified in reselling these adopted children because you wouldn’t give away your own biological child if they were severely disturbed. You would have them see a child psychiatrist, even if that means having them be in-patient. There are adopters out there who lie about keeping an adoption open, and then close it soon after.
So, why consider my friend Katharine to be the same? I hope adoptees can listen to my story about my friend Katharine and become more open-minded to not thinking of all adoptive parents badly. Yes, I would love for there to be adoptions that don’t seal the original birth certificates, for all adoptions to preserve and teach the cultural traditions of the child being adopted, and for the adoptive parents and adoptee to get all biological family medical information and updated information. I would love for twins to never be separated for profit like we have seen with many American (many Jewish) and Asian born adoptees. Yes, I want things to be different, to be better, but you know what? So do some adoptive parents.
Okay, so without further ado, Katharine’s story she’s been so nice to let me write. Katharine and her husband have two beautiful little girls. To me, it still feels like it was only last year when their second daughter was born. Katharine and her husband became pregnant with their two daughters. They are a devout Christian family. My friend felt she needed to adopt an orphan child who didn’t have a family or had been rejected from their family. You see, while most orphans are not actually orphans, the truth of the matter is some children in this world are abandoned because of: alcoholism in the family, addiction in the family, being albino, having special needs, being mentally ill, being conceived in rape, or being a girl. Yes, I definitely would like to see countries change their behaviours towards these innocent children who have done nothing wrong. I would much prefer to see grassroot efforts done to change how these children are perceived than to do international adoptions. However, in the here and now, these children are going to need homes, which means they are going to need loving adoptive parents, like my friend.
Setting off to China to adopt, Katharine brought home her beloved boy. I have no doubt that my friend would love to see all children in China have a huzou, so that all children get access to an education and health care. If every Chinese child got a huzou adoption rates would drastically decrease. You see, though, I, Katharine, and many others are aware that whilst implementing the huzou in China would be best, there are children who need to be adopted now from China. There are children now who need to be adopted now from Bulgaria, and other countries, because they are left abandoned because they have special needs. We cannot allow these children to linger in orphanages as we wait for their societies to become progressive like Finland and Germany.
Yes, you can spend $40,000 towards helping an entire village in an impoverished country such as installing sanitation, and yes it’s going to help thousands of children instead of adopting one child at that cost, but at the same time, the children in the orphanage will remain in the orphanage. The thing is, Katharine prayed about it. She knew both options. You need to decide what God calls you to do between the two choices. My friend Katharine didn’t put herself first. This wasn’t about her praying to prey on some teenage pregnant girl, tell her she’ll do an open adoption and then close it. This is simply a love story between a mum and her boy from China who Katharine and her husband felt they needed to bring him into their family and make him their son instead of having to grow up in an orphanage without a family for whatever reason their son was put in that orphanage to begin with.
Does this make me pro adoption? No, this makes me pro finding families for children who absolutely need new families. I’ll become pro adoption when we start unsealing original birth certificates, abolishing closed adoptions, legally enforcing open adoptions, giving certificates of adoption instead of sealing original birth certificates, and more. However, until that wonderful, wonderful day comes I am still going to view the adoptive parents, like my friend, who do adopt orphans, abused children, and babies and children born to drug addicted families as loving people because they adopted out of love. I hope I have made the difference understandable because it’s hard for me to explain. I also view favourably upon some adoptive parents who adopted through an infant closed adoption if and only if they were, like my own adoptive parents, completely unaware of the discrimination their child would endure and were told lies such as “the birthmother will get over it.”
I sincerely hope now more adoptees can start to not view all adoptive parents as some loathesome creatures. I hope now more adoptive parents can start to advocate for improved adoption systems such as no longer sealing the original birth certificate and advocate for countries, including here in the US, to change how some children are looked upon. I hope more adoptees and first mothers understand there are adoptive parents out there advocating for improvement and those who, like Katharine, adopted not out of selfishness but out of love.
Photo of the Manlius Swan Pond.