Monday, November 19, 2012

Orphan Sunday

Adoption is Powerful!! I had the great privilege yesterday of tag-team preaching with one of our pastor's at Meadowbrook Community Church for Orphan Sunday. It was such a great experience! If you are interested in listening in, here is a link to the sermon:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

10 Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents

I know it's hard to read... but interesting article!!

Author Tracy Hahn-Burkett has a five-year-old daughter adopted from Koreaand an eight-year-old biological son. Whether well-intentioned, curious or inappropriate, Hahn-Burkett has had many a question lobbied in her direction regarding her daughter and their family make-up. Hahn-Burkett offers you, the curious, some advice before you speak. Along with ten questions one should not ask an adoptive parent, she gives her blunt responses. 

1. "Is it difficult to love a child who isn't your own?" My children are my own - both of them. Yes, I know what you mean. And I repeat: Both of my children are "my own." 

2. "I could never love someone who doesn't share my biology." I'm sorry your heart is so limited. And presumably your spouse doesn't share your biology, so I'm sorry for him or her, too. 

3. "She/He's so lucky." If there are adoptive parents who haven't heard this one, I don't know them. Yes, my adopted child is lucky, just like her brother who was born to me - just like any kid blessed with a good family. Moreover, my husband and I are lucky to have her as a daughter. My daughter is not lucky, however, by virtue of having been adopted or because she's been adopted by an American family. Her life story will always be one that begins with wrenching loss of family, country, language, culture, and all things related to the place and people from whence she came. She will have to figure out how to incorporate all of this into her identity at some point, no matter how much we love her. 

4. "That's great; it's so much easier than having the child yourself." Clearly, you have never adopted a child. What, exactly, is easy about it? Is it the hundreds of questions prospective adoptive parents have to answer along the path to adoption, questions that go to the heart of what kind of people they are and dissect every aspect of their lives? Is it committing to a lifetime of knowing that at anytime from toddlerhood through adulthood, your child may come to you with wrenching questions about his or her origins and your answers may be unsatisfactory? Is it knowing that the very fact that your child is yours means that somewhere a woman will probably grieve every day of her life for the child she could not raise? Is it missing the early months, sometimes years, of your child's life? Is it telling your child when he or she asks to see baby pictures, "Sorry, I don't have any"? I could go on, but you get the point. 

5. "She's just like a little China doll!" Yes, thank you, I think she's cute, too. But she is not Chinese and she's a human being, so please don't characterize her as an inanimate stereotype. And if you're going to gush and coo over her, please consider that blond-haired, blue-eyed boy standing right next to her. He's my kid, too. He's pretty cute, too. And he can hear you. 

6. "Her 'real' mother was probably a prostitute." I'm her "real" mother, and so far as I can recall, I have never been a prostitute. 

7. "What kind of a person would give up such a beautiful, sweet child?" This comment is often accompanied by a clucking of the tongue. In general, the kind of person whose options are limited in ways you have never even had to imagine. Birthmothers are not bad, immoral people. Very few, if any, birthmothers who relinquish their children do so lightly. For most, it is a searing, heartbreaking decision that will haunt them forever. Also, please understand that when you say things about my child's birthmother, you are commenting about the woman who gave my daughter life and whose genes remain an inseparable part of her - forever. 

8. "People who adopt children from other countries just want an 'exotic' child." Alternatives: "People who adopt children from other countries just don't want black babies" or "People who adopt children from other countries are shirking their responsibility to adopt at home." Very few parents who choose international adoption do so because they don't like "dark" kids or because they want an "exotic" child. The systems of international and domestic adoption differ in fundamental ways, and most parents who choose to adopt educate themselves thoroughly and then pick the program that is best for them. 

9. Anything in Chinese - addressed to the Asian adopted child This happened to me when my daughter was a year old. A woman in an elevator said something to my daughter in Chinese, and by the time I figured out what had just taken place, the woman was gone (thereby robbing me of my opportunity to deliver any sort of snarky reply). My daughter is American, has lived in this country since infancy, and the language she understands is English. Why would you assume anything else? 

10. "How much did she cost?" Another one we've all heard, generally more than once. But my child is not a melon; I did not pick her up at the store. She cost me nothing. I did, however, spend quite a bit on adoption fees to support the process and travel costs, just as I spent quite a bit on medical care, etc., in conjunction with the conception and birth of my biological son. If you truly want to learn more about the financial aspect of either process, I will be happy to discuss that with you. If you're only interested in knowing in order to pass judgment, it's none of your business. 

- By Tracy Hahn-Burkett 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Adoption Changing The World

Having been adopted, I really have a strong sense- a necessity almost- for stability, a foundation where my family is concerned. [Success] would be meaningless without anyone to share it with.” –Faith Hill
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Every year, thousands of children are adopted in the United States, but there are still so many more millions of children around our world without a family. It would probably surprise you to realize how many people were adopted.
Here are some people that I’m sure you are familiar with who were adopted. They were given opportunity by their adoptive parents, and have literally changed the world!
  • Faith Hill
  • Daunte Culpepper
  • Bill Clinton
  • Dave Thomas
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Maya Angelou
  • Michael Bay
  • Richard Burton
  • Agustus Ceasar
  • Kristin Chenoweth
  • Eric Clapton
  • Nat King Cole
  • Ten Danson
  • Gerald Ford
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Nicole Richie
  • Nancy Reagan
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Jim Palmer
  • Michael Oher
  • Alonzo Mourning
  • Mother Teresa
  • Moses
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Tom Monaghan
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Tim McGraw
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Malcolm X
  • Ray Liotta
  • John Lennon
  • Steve Jobs