It seemed more like a comment that would be made by a pusher on an inner city street corner, rather than by an acquaintance at the surburban bridal shower of a mutual friend. The comments of this woman, who was trying for child number three through fertility methods herself, were shocking to me at the time, especially as I was sitting there sweating it out through my own Clomid-induced hot flashes. But I’ve come to learn that attitudes like these are just part of a large ‘Better-Bio-Than-Adopted’ contingent that’s out there.
This incident came to mind after a session on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now last week that represented a related group that feels it also has a right to weigh in on personal family-making decisions — the ‘How-Dare-You-Adopt-A-Child-From-Another-Country-When-There-Are-Children-In-America-Who-Need-Homes?’ club.
CNN and Zahn are doing a great job of perpetuating the theory that American parents, if they want to adopt, ought to be adopting children from the U.S. and nowhere else. Can’t find an American birthmother willing to place an infant with you? Then, according to Zahn’s guests, hopeful parents should adopt from our foster care system, instead, and shame on you if you don’t and you adopt internationally.
One guest even went so far as to suggest that the reason American families, like mine, who choose to adopt children from China, and don’t adopt African-American children from the foster care system, just want to get a really smart, polite “porcelain doll” as a child.
My questions to him are, “And exactly how many children have you adopted and from where? And could you please share with us the details of how you made your private and personal decisions to form a family, since you’re so interested in mine?”
When D. and I chose China as the country from which we wanted to adopt a child, it was after a long process of analyzing what was going to be the best for all of as a family.
What did we have to offer a child? How would we be able to support a child of a different race or culture? What were the chances of adopting a healthy child? It was a difficult task to face one’s inner demons and be honest about what we could provide in light of all the other factors in our lives — jobs, varying religions, stepchildren, community, family receptivity (or lack thereof).
I can guarantee Paula Zahn’s guests that if I had wanted a porcelain doll, that’s what I would have purchased from a toy store. To suggest that any parents chose a particular child to adopt or country to adopt from with the thought that, ‘Hey, I bet I can get a smart one!,’ is not only insensitive, but ignorant, in the true sense of the word.