In case you haven’t noticed by the header or by pictures I’ve posted, Abby and I don’t look a thing alike. She doesn’t favor Hubs either so when we are seen out as a family, its pretty obvious that we adopted.
We get the typical
intrusive adoption questions like: “Where did you get her?” “How much did you pay for her?” and my favorite, “Did you see that movie on Lifetime where the birthmom murdered the adoptive parents and stole her baby back?” I’ve also had people ask why we didn’t choose to adopt a child that looked more like us so it wouldn’t be so obvious that she was adopted (as if it was something to be ashamed of but that is for another post).
(I’m not sure what it is about adoption where it somewhere becomes ok to be intrusive (and sometimes flat out rude). Maybe that why I get such a kick out of this video.)
Long before we crossed the infertility hurdle – even before we were married – we knew that we wanted to adopt. So when we were told IVF was our only option and even then it would be unlikely that I could carry full-term, we started our adoption journey. Early on, we just felt called to be a diverse family. We weren’t sure whether that meant international adoption or domestic so we pursued all our options. We looked into Korea and Ethiopia but our health conditions kept us from applying and we were too young for many of the other countries (minimum age is 30). So when we chose the domestic adoption route, we still felt that pull so we were open to a child of any race.
We let our family know of our desires upfront and were prepared to be faced with questions. The book Cross Cultural Adoption: How to Answer Questions from Family, Friends, & Community was extremely helpful in helping us form answers to some of the questions we would be asked before hand (I kept me from poking someone in the eye a time or two). We also took a class through Adoption Learning Partners and attended several workshops through our agency that were also extremely helpful. We knew that it was important to be prepared not only for questions from others but questions from Abby as well as she got older so we not only consulted our agency and workshops, but others within our community. We didn’t want our child to lose his or her ethnicity by growing up with white parents so education was very important for us.
We knew going into our adoption that we would face a lifetime of questions. Some polite and others not so much. We knew that living in the south would probably raise the number of questions and eye-brow raises. But we also knew that this is where God was leading us and we knew that He would equip us and He has.
We have a wonderful church and daycare where Abby is one of several biracial children in her class so she never has to feel like she doesn’t fit because of the color of her skin. Through the magic of the interwebs and social media, I have a group of other adoptive moms of diverse families where I can find information on caring for ethnic hair and finding a sunscreen that won’t turn Abby into the purple monster. I am so incredibly thankful for the community that I have found through facebook, twitter, and other forums that help me become a better mom for Abby.
So can being a diverse family be trying at times? Absolutely. Would I trade it for the world? Not a chance!