This is a subject that's been on my mind for years and is something I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND. This blog entry was prompted by the story and the choices of the woman in SoCal who gave birth to octuplets after already having six children.
That is my question in a nutshell.
Those of you who go to China to make a family from their discarded baby girls--WHY? There are thousands of American children languishing in foster care who would give anything to have a forever family of their own. Why could you not take one or two or three or more of them? Do you think there is something wrong with American children? Do you think children in foster care are too damaged for you? Are you afraid that the biological family will necessarily be involved with yours? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.
When I read stories of the American (and usually white) parents who claim to make such an effort to help their Chinese-born daughters keep in touch with "their" culture, I want to know WHY? So often it strikes me that those children are chosen in the same manner that one would choose a pedigreed dog instead of a dog from the pound. Are they a status symbol? Do you perceive them as somehow untainted? If they are discarded or damaged by their families for reasons that you can't see, does that allow you to pretend those reasons don't exist?
WHAT ABOUT THE AMERICAN CHILDREN?
I have all the same questions about those who spend thousands upon thousands of dollars in fertility treatments because they have such a strong desire to have a child who shares "their" genes. WHY? I understand the desire, the need for children. I understand the desire to have a child who looks like your father or who acts like Auntie Mary or who has the musical talent of your brother. But if that is not in the cards for you, WHY spend years and years and more dollars than I can count in pursuing that goal? Again, there are thousands of American children languishing in foster homes who would give anything to have a forever family of their own.
Yes, children in foster care generally have issues. But you know what? So do the children you give birth to. There is no filling of specific orders with children. You don't get to say, "I want one who looks like this and who has that talent and who has the height genes from this relative and not that one." You get whoever shows up, warts and Uncle Buck's nose and all.
If it's easier for your family that your child[ren] match your ethnicity, you can make that a condition of taking a child. If ethnicity doesn't matter to you, children are available in every shade of the human rainbow, sometimes in one set of siblings. They come one at a time, by the pair, or in higher numbers.
My KidThree is typical of children waiting in foster care. She is black and she is educationally not where she should be and yes, oh yes, she had behavioral problems and yes, oh yes again she was a premature drug baby. But oh my what a girl she is, and what a woman she is becoming! Educational deficits can be remedied, and in KidThree's case, are. Behavioral problems are addressable with professional help and the same sort of patience bio-children require. She is intelligent, intuitive, reasonably healthy, and a joy to parent (at least, most of the time).
I love my KidThree just the way I do KidOne and KidTwo, both of whom I gave birth to. The love and the passion I have for her is just the same as the love and the passion I have for them. If there were a way to measure it, a scientist could not tell the difference. Yes, that love had to grow over time, it did not instantly spring to hormonally-induced life as did the love for my older two girls, but it grew and it grew until there was no telling the difference no matter how strong the microscope.
Yes, I have to deal with her bio-family and that is not always fun, but you know what? Dealing with my own bio-family is not always fun, and now KidThree has to deal with my bio-family, too. I expand her horizons, she expands mine. I was surprised to discover she didn't wash her hair every day, she was surprised to discover that I did. When I needed help with her hair care, I got recommendations from co-workers and took her to a lovely professional who answered all of my questions.
KidThree did get injured and so does need more care than most kids, but that could have happened to either of my other girls. As a parent, you sign on to deal with whatever comes. If my KidThree hadn't gotten injured, I would probably get another child or two down the road, but now probably won't have the resources. BUT, if I ever win the Lotto or persuade some rich man that I would make a terrific wife (and I would!), I know where to get more children. Right here. Right here in America. Children who already want parents, children who are available for adoption, children who come with financial assistance and medical insurance from the state. Children who would love the chance to bring joy and love and laughter to your life. Children you can grow to love just as love blossoms for biological offspring. Children who would repay every bit of hard work and thought and patience you pour into them, children who will repay every tear of frustration with many more tears of joy.
And if you really want one that is Chinese, I'm sure they're available. I had a Chinese foster brother when I was a kid, and my parents didn't have to go to China to get him--Dad found him on our roof one night.
They're American children, and they're waiting.