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January 11, 2005

Comments

Soper

No, dear Patricia, you are not alone. I spoke with a woman who escaped Russia with her parents a few years ago (she's Jewish, so there was an added incentive to leave) and she kept saying "You are doing SUCH a good thing adopting a kid from Kazakhstan. You don't understand what a good thing it is you are doing." On and on and on... and it really bothered me. You hit it on the nail -- it's how it will be perceived by my child that gets me, not the "praise" for me. I want this child; the fact that the kid won't grow up in an orphanage is an added bonus for all of us, not my motivation.

Orodemniades

No, you're not crazy. Who are these people???

Joanne

I completely agree with you. Adoption is not about charity; adoption is about building a family.

How would Bob feel if you praised him for being so great and charitable, to raise and feed HIS children? After all, they can't feed themselves. How is that different from saying the same thing to parents who find their children through adoption?

alex

I totally agree with you....

I have had a few people comment to me that I was doing a good deed...deed? Um no it is somewhat selfish on my part. I just want to be a mommmy.

I do not believe in some pollyanna view of adoption that the child would have been homeless, or poverty stricken, or in a bad situation if I did not come to the "rescue". This thought really annoys me. With international adoption (which is where we are headed) it seems to get this stereotype even more. "poor poor children of another country...all countries other than th US are so in need of our support." This gets my goat so much. Our standard of living is often matched if not exceeded in other countries. Americans tend to get this high and mighty attitude when it comes to these matters.

I imagine that the child that will come home to me will have been meant for me. Some sort of special connection god makes for us...but in no way do I feel like I am rescuing that child. If anything that child will be rescuing me from a lifetime of not having any little ones to love.

Good deed my ass....

Menita

Seconding what everyone has said here. Especially the "who ARE these people?"
It goes beyond ignorance - it's just plain shallowness and having no understanding of what human relationships are about.
Alex's "If anything that child will be rescuing me from a lifetime of not having any little ones to love" hits it squarely on the head (you made me tear up, blast you).

Jen P

I agree 100% with Alex.

All the couples in our adoption group were into adoption for the being parents/having a family primary motivation. And yet they all spoke of how their families thought they were being such good upstanding citizens for adopting children and being these superhero people.

One girl admitted it made her feel guilty, because she wasn't all that concerned about making sure this child was going to have a really grand or posh life, she just wanted someone who needed a mother because she needed a child.

It makes me sad to think that people would adopt to feel good about giving someone something better. Donate money or time or clothes then to feel better. That's doing something good.

Jo

That one drives me nuts too.

The perpetrators are remarkably resistant to my patient explanations as to why THEY SUCK SO BAD, I've noticed.

Julianna

I am going to comment before I read what anyone else has written........I don't want their comments to interrupt my train of thought.......

You were right on to think what you thought INITIALLY........your gut check told you something didn't seem right.

It doesn't matter if no one else in the world thinks that what he said is inappropriate, you felt it was.........so IT IS!!!!!

Trust your gut my dear.

He was merely putting a mirror to his face and letting you know more about HIM.......it doesn't mean it is true or real........or that is has anything to do with your adopting a child.......he was showing you himself.

YOU ARE ALWAYS RIGHT WITH HOW YOU FEEL!

I love you.

Take care.

akeeyu

Uh, I think you need to upgrade to Friend 2.0: Now with clues!

It's not you. It's them.

Emily

Patricia,

I second Akeeyu's comment (funny stuff!) and agree, it's not you, but them! Of course it always come from someone who never has to know how they would actually feel about something seriously because they are never put in that situation...but of course.

xxoo,

marion

What I think your friends are missing is that people do not want to be seen as objects, or projects, or things. They want to be seen as individuals and loved for themselves, not for what they represent or how "needy" they are. I think most people get why objectifying is bad, to some degree. There's a reason we generally see a mobile man finding true love with a disabled woman (mix and match the sexes here as you wish) as a somewhat touching love story while we see a mobile man who is only sexually attracted to disabled women to be skeezy. Viewing people as things or symbols rather than as individuals is an attitude displayed by serial killers and terrorists. Traditionally, de-individualizing someone has been the first step toward de-humanizing them.

Now, the tsunami victims really don't care that Westerners are giving money to help them because we see them as members of a suffering group...but that's a discrete matter. Imagine feeling as though your PARENTS saw you primarily as a project rather than as an individual, and claimed to be acting out of selflessness in doing so. That sounds pretty horrific to me. I don't think your friends are deliberately saying that they see adopted children as objects, but that's the ultimate conclusion from what they're saying.

However: if they don't get it now, they're unlikely to in the future, unless they themselves feel the pull to adopt; and also, I think anyone who decides to adopt solely or overwhelmingly out of "save the world" motives will give up halfway through the paperwork process and just send the money to a charity instead. I don't think any child will be directly harmed by their attitude. But it's creepy nonetheless. You might want to buy a copy of Dan Savage's book about adoption and offer to loan it to them, with the pages in the section about Dan and his partner reading about why to adopt and why NOT to adopt ("to help the world" is in the latter category) dogeared. (They're preparing for their homestudy, IIRC, and that's included along with "saving your relationship" as one of the top BAD reasons for adopting.)

Lola

Unfortunately, I've run into many people throughout my life who seemed to think that adoption is an altruistic and selfless act of rescuing the child from what would have been a terrible existence if they had never been adopted. I first heard this kind of stuff growing up because my sister is adopted, and I can't even tell you how many people would go on and on about how wonderful my parents were for adopting my sister. (Of course my parents are wonderful people, but they adopted my sister because they had struggled with infertility for five years and wanted to be parents, not heroes.)

Since I started IVF, I've been shocked by how many people have come down on me about how selfish I was being when there were so many children in the world who were waiting to be adopted. I actually left a discussion board I used to frequent because a group of women insisted that if they were in my shoes they would adopt because it was the selfless, noble and right thing to do, and that I should channel all of my reproductive efforts into adopting instead of pursuing IVF.

So unfortunately I think the answer to the question who are these people is that they are everywhere because their opinion is the prevailing one in our culture.

Lola

Unfortunately, I've run into many people throughout my life who seemed to think that adoption is an altruistic and selfless act of rescuing the child from what would have been a terrible existence if they had never been adopted. I first heard this kind of stuff growing up because my sister is adopted, and I can't even tell you how many people would go on and on about how wonderful my parents were for adopting my sister. (Of course my parents are wonderful people, but they adopted my sister because they had struggled with infertility for five years and wanted to be parents, not heroes.)

Since I started IVF, I've been shocked by how many people have come down on me about how selfish I was being when there were so many children in the world who were waiting to be adopted. I actually left a discussion board I used to frequent because a group of women insisted that if they were in my shoes they would adopt because it was the selfless, noble and right thing to do, and that I should channel all of my reproductive efforts into adopting instead of pursuing IVF.

So unfortunately I think the answer to the question who are these people is that they are everywhere, because their opinion is the prevailing one in our culture.

Tiffanni

I have to admit, the comments don't surprise me. Some of the crap that those 'fertiles' come up with...gessh!

Jen

I totally get it. My husband and I want to adopt. We want to adopt so we can have a child. My mom and I were talking the other day about the comment that Angeline Jolie said about the Tsunami disaster and how riled up I was because of it. If you didn't see her she basically said she would love to adopt from one of the countries hit by the tsunami, like it's a fucking act of kindness. I got so pissed off! But then again, I guess she wouldn't say "I want to adopt from one of the countries because I want another child and this is a good way for it to happen" I'm glad my mom understood and didn't give me the blank look. Sigh. But, you are definitely not alone.

The Barrenness

That guy was obviously speaking from his sphincter. I encountered a sphincter speaker earlier this week. I think it boils down to them being naive, ignorant, and insensitive. They can't help it.

P.S. I feel the same as you.

Blue

I was so glad to see this post, I can't even tell you.
I have been thinking about adoption for quite some time now even though we have many stages of ART we have not tried yet. I was beginning to question how ready I was to adopt because I kept hearing people say how it should be all about the children, giving them a good home, giving them a life they wouldn't have had otherwise, etc. For me it was more about being a parent. It was ME getting a child to love, to nurture, to teach.
Why can't it be a symbiotic relationship where all parties give something and all receive something in return? Isn't that what family is in the first place?

Lise

I am just beginning the adoption process after a bad prognosis on our infertility and I am just blown away by how difficult this is. All policies favor the birth mother and the baby, leaving the adoptive parents shivering out in the wind hoping pathetically to be allowed to be parents. There are 25-40 couples for every (white) baby available to be adopted in the US and the wait can be 3 years or more. It just isn't a reality that there are so many babies waiting to be adopted, unless you are prepared to have a multi-cultural, multi-racial family which is not necessarily the best thing for the baby, and a decision to be made only after careful thought. Most people who have never seriously considered adoption also don't realize how expensive it is, it can range from 10 - 50K, comparable to several rounds of InVitro, depending. The process you have to undergo to be approved by agencies and the world is demoralizing, you are subject to scrutiny that no birth mother has ever had to endure to be allowed to parent. People who are driven to adopt today have to be excessively motivated. It's not like you can go to the "baby pound" and pick out a cute one. My point is, altruism can be a nice benefit, but those who actually do adopt, as opposed to taking credit for a good intention that will never have to be realized, are definitely driven by some greater need.

Suz

Your friend Bob sounds like a nice guy, but one who takes fertility for granted. Nobody who has desperately wanted a child could think that anything other than longing for that child could be the reason behind adoption.

Marla

The number one comment I get is: how nice of you to rescue/save a child.

The number one comment adoptees get is: you're so lucky.

Very few see or understand the bigger picture.

lori

Hi,
My husband and I want a child so bad. We have so much love to give and we have been together for 10 years. I really believe that the adoption agencies are selling children instead of providing them with a loving home and a better future. Isn't that the purpose of adopting a child? However, they compete with the infertility programs which are almost the same price as the adopting agencies. What's wrong with this picture? Why would people have to pay so much? Don't the adoption agencies realize how many children in our country are suffering due to money that many couples that could give a beatiful loving home and how much this adopted child is going to cost to these parents? Remember, parents are adopting this child for a lifetime so why charge so much to give them a better living?

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