July 20, 2009

References to Adoption

Since adopting, I have a heightened awareness to the mention of adoption or adoption related issues in books, TV, and movies. What I may not have paid too much attention to in the past, now often saddens, irritates, or frustrates me.

I’m currently reading a great fiction book that I am thoroughly enjoying. That is, until I got the part where the young couple is trying desperately to conceive a baby and the husband suggests adoption (which I was thinking, as they went through five miscarriages). The woman says simply: “no, that seems fake; somehow cheating.” Huh?

Wow. Do some people actually think that? That is so sad. I’m not really even sure what to say to that.

To me, the most important thing has always been loving, caring for, and raising a child. Makes no difference to me where that child came from (my belly or someone else’s); my child is my child. Physically giving birth to a child doesn’t make you any more or less of a parent than adopting a child. And it most certainly is not cheating or by any means fake.

How our families are made—be that by choice, circumstance, or any other way—is what it is. We are family and we are real.

It’s okay to say, “hey, that’s not okay” when we see or hear adoption being talked about in ways that are disrespectful or the like. One of the things that comes with adoption is adoption advocacy (thankfully, I love to advocate, loudly, for the things I am most passionate about!); it’s our job to help educate the general public, for the sake of our children—they need to see us advocating for them in a positive manner.

We can start by educating ourselves, then our families, followed by our friends. Then maybe we’ll start to see some positive adoption references in the media and in books, on TV and in movies.

Go forward and advocate!

July 07, 2009

My Unconventional Family

A couple of months ago, I attended my niece’s wedding and discovered (or rediscovered, rather), to my utter delight, just how truly unconventional my family really is. In attendance were: my daughter (transracially-adopted at birth), my niece’s estranged father’s second ex-wife (her father was not there), my mother (no blood relation to my niece, but rather the ex-step-mom of my niece’s mom, my half-sister), my mother’s step-father (no blood relation to my niece or sister, but whom my sister still calls “grampa”), and various other oddly related—or not related at all—relatives.

At one point my mother commented on what a dysfunctional family we have. Dysfunctional? I questioned. No way—we’re actually quite functional. Unconventional? Most definitely. What our family—as odd as it may seem to outsiders—has effectively done is weed out the “bad seeds” and keep all the good ones. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

A family is a family, no matter how you came to be. If it works for you, nothing else matters. I wouldn’t trade my family for anything.