Another Month Down

So… Oct. 25th was 6 months since our LID. Not sure whether to celebrate or sigh. I think I’ll just let it pass as a neutral thing for now.

On November 2nd the latest batch of referrals finally came out. Major congrats to all the folks who have waited so long and are finally seeing their children’s faces! This latest batch went through August 26th, 2005. It’s a bit of improvement in the number of matches over previous months (I gather it’s about a 15% increase over last month) but not exactly the big speed up we’d been hoping for. Still, it’s a lot further than they’ve gone in some time. And the next few months will be more telling. Sorry if this is beginning to sound repetitive. It is to me too. But I am really trying to be optimistic because the alternative just isn’t pretty.

In other good news, CCAA reports that the January dossiers are now out of the review room. Another step completed for those families. Congrats!

Moving on…

I have a request for the world at large (especially some of my co-workers): PLEASE! STOP! TALKING! ABOUT! MADONNA! Please stop giving her air time. Please stop feeding the Media’s obsession with her. And especially please stop asking me about her! I’m not an expert on Malawian adoption law or Madonna and her husband’s motivation for adoption so I can shed no light on the situation for anyone. And while we’re at it, stop asking me about Angelina or whatever other celebrity adoptive parent is in the news today. I don’t know. I don’t care! I don’t wanna talk about it any more. Yeeesh!

And before anyone else points it out, yes, I do recognize the inherent contradiction of complaining in a public forum about Madonna getting too much publicity. It’s my party and I’ll be inconsistent if I want to. 😉

‘Nuff said on that.

So, a few quick words on positive adoption language. Even in our increasingly open and accepting society, adoption is often seen as a 2nd, less desirable choice for building a family. Positive adoption language is a way of counter-acting those assumptions. Again, I think most of you are already sensitive and smart enough to understand this stuff. But as long as I’m “educating” anyway I thought I’d throw some of the basics at you. And truth be told, some of these have already come up, not so much around Friends and Family but… well, indulge me, OK?

And I’ll go on my “blood trumps all” rant another time, but for now just a few hints to remember when speaking of adoption.

The term is birth mother (or father, or family) not real mother (etc.) I am her real mother. Darren is her real father. Parents by adoption are real parents. And yes, btw, she is our real daughter.

Likewise, she is our own child. She’ll come to us by adoption rather than birth but she will still be ours.

Along the same lines, she’s our daughter, not our adopted daughter. Using the adjective forms of “adopt” is fine if you are talking about adoption issues but if you’re just talking about our child in general terms, please don’t add the adjective. I’ve seen this phenomenon a lot in the Media, refering to so-andso’s “adopted child” even when the story has nothing to do with adoption. Never once seen a reference to so-and-so’s “biological child,” except, once again, in the context of adoption issues. Please don’t add the adjective for our children unless it is relevant to the discussion at hand.

Born abroad (or born in China) not foreign born. (I hate the fact that all the government forms use this term. ) I know that one sounds a little silly, but she will be an American citizen. Please acknowledge that. I remember people calling my dad “foreign” to his face when I was a kid. Rankled then. Rankles now. Please don’t do it.

Likewise she’s not our Chinese daughter. Any more than I’m my mother’s Indonesian daughter.

Also it’s Asian, not Oriental. Rugs are Oriental. People are Asian. (OK, not strictly adoption-related but still relevant.)

Ok, now the really tough one – the “a” word: abandoned. At least while she is very young I would prefer that you not use this word in reference to her. Abandoned is a very loaded term and the whole subject of infant abandonment in China is a subject for another day as well. We plan to talk to her about the subject but in an age-appropriate way. I’m not 100% sure what term we’re going to use to begin with. I’m sure we’ll come up with something innocuous. But let’s leave that word out of it for the time being.

A few other things I’ll ask you very politely not to say:

“You’ll get pregnant for sure now” (or any version thereof.) As previously stated, Darren and I chose not to build our family through giving birth due to genetic issues. A statement such as this not only shows you don’t understand our reasons for adoption but once again implies that our adoption is somehow second best. No, really, I don’t want to get pregnant. Please don’t wish that on us.

“Can you believe China did [insert political move here.]” Please don’t bad-mouth our daughter’s country of birth in her hearing (and remember, you may think she’s not in ear-shot, but she probably is…) I realize that a lot of people have strong opinions about the government of China, but that is a very different thing from the people and the culture of China. However, Lorelei may not understand the difference. At least while she’s a young child, it would be better for folks to speak kindly or “don’t say anything at all.”

“Will she speak English?” No, Dutch. Here’s your sign. (100% true story!)

OK, I’ll take off the 3rd grade teacher hat. If any of that comes across as defensive or patronizing, I’m sorry. I really don’t mean it that way. Also, I don’t have a witty ending or wrap up here. Forgive me for falling down on the job. J

Until next time, blessings and love,

Janice

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