Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Adopted"

I have become more aware and curious lately about the tendency in adoption culture to criticize the term “adopted.” Over and over again I’ve come across bloggers bemoaning the fact that outsiders openly identify their children as such. They feel slighted by any reference other than simply “daughter,” “son,” or “parent.” I’m sure I’ve offended more than such parent with my simple profile to the right. The fact I’ve labeled Reagan as our “first adopted daughter” has probably led many to believe that I am in some way ignorant or insensitive about the new reality that is our family. I would naturally like to believe that such is not the case at all. I am simply stating a very obvious fact. We are multicultural, and it is clear from the first glance that Reagan does not match the rest of us (at least on the outside!). I think it’s only natural for people to be curious about her, about us, and the adoption process. It’s strange to me that the same parents who cherish and have embraced the institution of adoption are so quick to shy away from any reference to it. From what I’ve gathered, it seems that many adoptive parents believe such labels can be derogatory – as if their status as parents, or their children’s status as legitimate members of the family, are somehow threatened by the term “adopted.” Their motivation, I believe, is honorable. They want to protect their family from scrutiny, or any sense of feeling “less than.” However, here is where I feel they are doing their children a disservice: By so quickly dismissing the term, they are actually reinforcing the notion that being adopted is less acceptable than being born into a family. I contend that adoption is even more precious than birth! While I would never deny that Alyssa and Parker are priceless treasures, and that the time I enjoyed with them in my womb was special, we prepared for Reagan in even more dramatic ways. We hoped, prayed and sacrificed for her years before we knew she existed. When people try to insinuate that adoption is an easier way to parenthood, I am the first one to insist that pregnancy and childbirth (even 3 hours of pushing!) is far less painful – both emotionally and physically. While most adoptive parents seem to worry about whether their adoptive child(ren) might feel slighted compared to the homegrown variety, I worry that the opposite might be true. I’ve considered that perhaps one day Alyssa and Parker might be insecure in the fact that they weren’t chosen in the same way that Reagan was. Though I’m sure there will be some challenges in parenting her as a result of her past, I pray that she will grow to be proud of the fact that she became our daughter in a very unique way. “Adopted” is a term that I hope Reagan will come to love, and view not as a curse but as concrete evidence of our love and sacrifice for her.

5 comments:

LaLa said...

Good post...I think the problem may be the fact that you don't label Alyssa and Parker as first bio daughter and son. I admit I have noticed it on your blog and wondered wy Reagan needed the label. Like you said, it is obvious she doesn't look like you and hubby so why the need to call her anything other than just your daughter? I have always liked to say when asked if Annslee IS adopted that yes, she WAS adopted..it is an event that happened and we are so happy about it..but it does in no way define her relationship to us. Now she is simply our daughter.

BTW..I loved following your journey and your family is beautiful!

City Girl Goes Country said...

Hey Laura,
We are home...I have pics to show you but I don't have your email address. Will you send it to me and also your sister's?
My email is starbucksjenny@hotmail.com!

Margie said...

Amen, Laura! We, of course, were so proud to tell everyone about all our grandchildren, but to see the look on people's face when we speak of Reagan's adoption, is worth every bit of sacriftice you went to for her. Talking of adoption opens the idea to others who might never have considered it before. Because we have been "adopted" into God's eternal kingdom, we revere the word and join with you introducing precious Reagan as such.

We miss you all VERY much. Hug our babies for us and, Danny, continue to show them that life-sized picture you have of me so they won't forget me!!!!

Love, Mom

rachel said...

Adoption is indeed something to celebrate! We never hesitate to joyfully discuss adoption with our girls and they know every detail of our journey to them. (just as I grew up joyfully hearing about how I was almost born in a McD's drive through...because my dad was hungry. lol) We are a bit private with others as far as specifics go, but I always shed a positive light on adoption when in the company of others.

But I do agree with what Lala said, that if you "label" Reagan as adopted why not "label" Alyssa and Parker as bio? (Obviously, you don't "label" your kids, but I couldn't quit find the right word)

Just my .02!

You know I love your family! :)

Heather said...

My Mom has often wondered why we celebrate "Gotcha Day" with our boys. It's kind of like their birthday for me...the first day they became a part of our family, like a bio child's birth. It's important to us in ways our family & friends don't really get. But, that's ok, we still do the cake & celebrate that day! So, I understand where you're coming from.
Heather M.
Mommy to Blake & Bryce VN
Waiting for baby sister. LID May 2007 VN