While walking to the subway with two of my coworkers yesterday, I had the following conversation:
Sarah: Why do you live in China instead of Thailand?
Me: Well, my husband and I are planning on adopting here in China.
Sarah: Oh, is that very difficult for foreigners?
Me: Yes. It is very difficult. It takes a long time and is very expensive.
Julie: It’s like buying children.
Sarah: In China, we don’t understand why someone would want to raise someone else’s child.
Me: Well, it is just a different way of thinking. I wouldn’t be raising someone else’s child. I would be raising my child.
Sarah: I asked my mom once what she thought about adoption. She said, ‘well, you can discipline your own child. You can’t discipline an adopted child.’ Well, I go this way now. Bye!
Me: *left speechless*
I’ve actually had several conversations like this with Chinese friends and co-workers. In China, adoption simply isn’t common and isn’t widely accepted. While I would love to raise my kids here in China for at least a few years, these kinds of micro-agressions are worrisome. I want to give my kids the best life possible, not make them unnecessary objects of fascination or ridicule. Our goddaughter Zoe is actually very worried about our daughters attending local schools since their classmates won’t have any understanding about adoption and might make fun of them. While they most likely will be teased and face racism no matter where we live in the world, I am worried about raising them in a place where they are isolated, where there are no other adopted kids for them to talk to and share their experiences. I know I am not going to be a perfect parent, and I’m going to make mistakes, but I want to make sure my mistakes aren’t excessive.
I’m a worrier, though. Even though it will still be a year or more before our first daughter comes home, these are the kinds of things I worry about a lot. What about you? Have you had conversations with locals about adoption? What have your experiences been?