From MLive.com, “Adopting the Culture.”
Oh, the advantages of international adoption!
While there are upsides to international adoptions — providing a home to a child who doesn’t have one or giving a child a better life — there are also many challenges.
And while there are challenges to adopting a child from a foreign country, experts say with the right supports and guidance there’s no reason the advantages can’t far exceed any perceived downsides.
You get to provide a home to a needy child and give him or her a better life! There are challenges, but the advantages exceed any perceived downsides. Because you know, it’s all about the perception! Make sure you teach your child this, so that they know that those perceived downsides are outweighed by advantages. They might perceive some downsides, but it’s entirely possible that their perception is just faulty. In case they don’t express this on their own, make sure to say it for them:
“I think she (Megan) knows how much better her life is here than back in China,” Cox said. “She’s a very bright kid.”
Kinda conflicts with that whole bit about making them proud of their culture. Because who would want to live in that third world shithole anyway? Everybody knows life in the United States is better than life anywhere else! And money trumps all.
Make sure you choose their identity for them:
Wallace, who is also the international adoption coordinator with Family Services & Children Aid, said her children are very American, because they were adopted at such a young age — Alex at 14 months and both Sidney and Tatum at 6 months.
Because it’s best to be “very American,” which usually means “White American.” None of that hyphenated Korean American crap.
Make sure you tell them how they should feel. Celebrate “Gotcha Day!” Make sure they know that they’re part of the family:
“They love the fact that they’re adopted. It makes them unique,” Wallace said. “They are 100 percent part of our family.”
Well, I sure as shit would hope they didn’t feel they weren’t 100 percent of the family. But that brings an interesting question to mind. Who exactly is and isn’t 100 percent of the family? And isn’t it about the parents’ right to own the perception? What if the children don’t feel 100 percent part of the family? Reminds me of having a white neighbor tell another white neighbor that I was “well liked and well-accepted.” It implies the right to accept or reject.
But you know, you treat adopted kids just like members of the real family. So you should probably say to your “real” family members, “Hey, you are 100 percent of our family. No, really!”
One of the perceived downsides of being racially dissimilar from your parents is that you might be teased. However, teaching kids about their culture and where they come from is good because it offers some protection from being teased. Additionally, adoptive parents can get a cookie:
Hollingsworth said most parents who adopt from other countries do the minimum and Cox is on the upper end of the spectrum; Cox is not only exposing the children, but to an extent exposing herself. Cox also doesn’t feel threatened by the fact that her children are learning a language she doesn’t know, Hollingsworth said.
Just make sure that the cultural exposure doesn’t lead to “drawbacks”:
“Sometimes kids don’t want to hear it because they don’t want to be different,” Hollingsworth said. “For the kids, it’s almost like a punishment.”
In cases like these, she said, parents should find a middle ground, where they can still expose their children while not making the children feel like it is forced upon them.
Everybody knows that children should not be forced to do anything. It is terribly harmful to them to brush their teeth and go to school and all those other awful things that parents inflict upon their children. It is better to give in to the child’s whims and desires and let them know that all these things really are unimportant in the long run.
Because just like good teeth have nothing to do with exposure to a toothbrush or a dentist, good racial and ethnic identity has nothing to do with positive connections with people of your race and ethnicity. It simply develops within a vacuum. The strong sense of identity that those pesky psychologists tell us can be helpful isn’t really needed when growing up as a transracial adoptee anyway.
Teasing can be dealt with in one of two ways. First, the “everybody gets teased” brushoff:
Cox said at one point Megan felt that she was being teased at school. But Cox said she assured Megan that everyone gets picked on whether it’s because they’re tall, short and different from others.
“Everyone’s different, and you’re going to get picked on,” Cox said.
Second, the “differences don’t exist” line:
Wallace said Sidney was once asked by a student why her eyes were different. When Sidney told Wallace about the incident, Wallace explained to Sidney that her eyes aren’t different.
No differences! You’re the only Asian kid in a school, but you aren’t different at all! You’re not! Nope! Remember, you’re 100 percent part of our family and “very American”!
In any event, the teasing might not happen. And if it does, it’s just a “part of growing up”:
Internationally adoptive children also have to deal with the fact that they are a racial minority and will probably be confronted with stereotypes and discrimination during their lifetime.
While teasing and bullying are a normal — if painful –part of growing up, it can be worse for children born in foreign countries.
“Will probably” be confronted with stereotypes and discrimination. Okay. And here we come back to the part about teasing and bullying being “normal.” Here again we here the part about “children can be cruel“:
“While Hanover (where the children attend school) is very accepting, kids can be cruel,” Wallace said.
Well, I guess the kids should be glad that the school can be accepting. How very nice of them!
So just a brief summary of all of these points: Internationally adopted children, be grateful for your adoption that provided you with that better life. Any negative issue arising from your adoption is just a matter of your perception. Be happy during your Gotcha Day celebrations. Remember that everybody gets teased, it’s no big deal. Why do you let it upset you? Don’t let your parents force culture upon you. Remember, you really aren’t different from everybody else. (Hey, what are you doing living in that all-white neighborhood?) Be very American, and remember that you’re 100 percent a part of your family.
Until you change your mind, that is.