Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ambassador for International Adoptions: China Division

Interesting conversations…

While at that eye doctor today, I had 3 conversations about Julia and adoption. The first was with a girl that knew me from the hotel and she was a former tanner (the hotel where I used to work has a tanning salon). She asked very pleasantly about Julia and I had no troubles sharing with her about adoption. I guess part of me has become an “ambassador” for international adoption.

The second people I spoke with about Julia were an older couple who has grandkids that were adopted from the Marshall Islands. First, I had no idea that the Marshall Islands were involved with international adoption and second, I felt bad as I had no idea where it is! Either way, they were very nice.

Finally, I spoke with my optometrist and she mentioned having read Karin Evans’ book, “The lost daughters of China”. So, again…I retold Julia’s story. Dr. Lang spoke of her desire to adopt from either China or Africa. We shared some of the same views and I can’t wait to hear what her and her husband decide to do.

There are some very common threads with all three of these discussions. They all started with, “She’s just beautiful!” Why yes, we think she is, but she’s our daughter. Do they think that Julia is cute because she really is cute or because she’s Chinese? Part of me is torn when it comes to this question. I dunno, I guess I just smile and say thank you. Although, I did nothing to contribute to her looks. LOL!

I think part of how people view adoptive families and just adoption in general could be based on these limited conversations. This is where I try to educate and provide an inside to peak to others who might be considering adoption. Now, were the older folks going to adopt? No. But their lives had been touch by their grandchildren from the Marshall Islands. Was the former tanner going to adopt? I don’t have the slightest, but I used my “mom intuition” to judge where she was coming from in her line of questions. I felt that she was genuine and sincere. No need to shut down and not share our experiences. Same with Dr. Lang, I felt that she was truly interested and wanted to hear about our adoption journey and how things went for us.

All 3 people had no idea that Julia was “special needs”. Did I point it out? No, however, I made mention of it when they commented on how quickly we had made it through the maze of paperwork and red tape. (FYI: We started in April 19th of 2005 with no paperwork done and completed Julia's adoption on December 1st 2005. The average wait time from LID {log in date} to referral in the traditional program now is 18-24 MONTHS!) I think it’s important to share that the Waiting Child program is typically a shorter waiting time than the traditional program; if you are open to some unknowns (nonetheless there are some unknowns with ANY adoption whether domestically or internationally…or in my opinion, when you give birth too).

2 years ago I would have had no idea that having Julia in our family would bring me to being an educator of others. Even today, people still think of adoption as out of the norm. Why would we want to adopt when we could have had more biological kids? Some people are just fascinated with what drives people to adopt. I was one of those people 2 years ago too. I wish I could recall the people were so nice to share their stories with me. I truly wish to thank them for being open and welcoming to the “newbie”. :-)