Friday, September 18, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Adoption Edition

So, I've got a little bone to pick. Not with you guys so relax. I don't know if you know this, but Katherine Heigl, the actress on Gray's Anatomy, just adopted a baby girl from Korea. From what I've read, the girl is 10 months old (one month older than Max was when we got him) and has special needs (which Max also had.) Obviously, I've been following this story with great interest and I'm really happy for them, even though I'm not really a fan of the actress so much. I don't watch her show because it looks really annoying and I was forced to sit through some movie she did about bridesmaids dresses on a plane and quite frankly, no one should have been forced to watch that crap while trapped in a flying metal tube.


Some of the comments from the articles I've read make me want to put my fist through the computer. I've heard her child referred to as "the trendy foreign baby she purchased," "her new exotic accessory," or that she plans to use the baby for "fame whoring opportunities," and my favorite "why can't she adopt a baby here in AMERICA?" I won't go on because some of them are vile and I won't reprint them. On several occasions, especially on those sites that I frequent and comment on myself, I've felt compelled to defend her and her husband, people I don't know, regarding their decision. With that, I'd like to say this:

1. Adoption is NOT EASY and isn't something taken lightly. It's not a way to avoid stretch marks (thanks Wal Mart checker for that gem). It's not easier than pushing a baby out of your lady parts (less painful certainly, but not easier.) It's a decision that (usually, not always) comes from years of struggle to have a biological child. Our adoption was 2+ years of probing, parenting classes (which every prospective parent on Earth should take in my opinion), background checks, writing checks, endless phone calls to government agencies where you may or may not get the answer you need, in addition to the mountain of paperwork involved every step. This was all after I had tried to get pregnant for 3 years. I didn't wake up one day and think "hmm...I'm kinda bored today. LET'S ADOPT!"

2. Foreign adopted babies are NOT accessories, nor did 99.9% of us who did it do it because Madonna, Angelina, etc. did it and we want to be cool like them. My aunt adopted my cousin from Colombia, South America back in the 80's and she certainly wasn't following some made up trend. Max does not match any of my shoes or handbags nor do I try to wear him around my neck like a stole.

3. There are MANY reasons why we, and many others like us, chose to adopt overseas. None of those reasons are yours or anyone else's business. For the record, a baby is a baby and if they don't have a home, they need one, regardless of where they live. For us, a Korean adoption was the perfect choice but I'm sure there are plenty of people that have used the US system with great success. That was their choice, this was ours. Neither is a bad one and a word of advice to all of you. If you meet someone who has an adopted child from a foreign land, don't be a jerk and right away ask them why they didn't adopt from America. It's not cool and I wouldn't ask someone why they got knocked up by THAT guy, ya dig? By the same token, I love to talk about our experience and I have no problem answering legitimate questions about our process, I just don't feel like anyone needs to defend THEIR choice. I get that it's a question that many people want to ask, just do it appropriately.

So that's that. I feel better now. Once again, I wish K. Heigl, her husband and their little girl all the happiness in the world.

Oh yeah, one more thing, and this has nothing to do with the actress, this is my own pet peeve (man, what crawled up my ass today?!) When you find out someone adopted, please PLEASE do not utter the following phrase:

"Well, now that you adopted, I bet you'll get pregnant! My (insert sister, cousin, friend of a friend's sister's aunt, etc. here) did it and next thing you knew, she was pregnant. YOU JUST WAIT!"

Ahem. I cannot get pregnant. I. CANNOT. GET. PREGNANT. It won't happen. Trust me, we've tried. A lot. The myth that an adoption spawns a biological child is just that, a myth. Sure, it happens, but that doesn't mean it WILL happen and while all I can do it smile and fake chuckle, inside it makes me want to scratch your eyes out. Just be happy for the person and leave it at that. Please. For the sake of your eyes.

Public service announcement over. Happy weekend!


LM said...

People don't need to do too much reading to know the reasons why Heigl adopted. Not that it is anyone's business, but if they did perhaps there wouldn't be the negative comments out there that you've read. I think part of the problem in her situation is that she's famous, so everyone has to make something of it. People especialy like to make something negative of it when it comes to Hollywood. Regardless, your points are good and I'm glad you put them out there. There are too many pp in this world who have no concept of boundaries and many others who are just stupid so perhaps you just taught them something.

Jessica Mazzuca said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this.
So many reporters and random commentators have to stick their noses in business that simply isn't theirs. It's absurd to accuse people of adopting from a foreign country simply for publicity. It's sickening. A baby is just that, a baby. It's a human being who will grow up to live, love, and learn, just as anyone else. If someone chooses to adopt overseas, that's their choice. Not to mention that those children may get far superior medical attention here if they have health problems, and a much brighter future.

Amy, Jeff and Kimchi said...

Thanks, ladies. I appreciate your thoughts.

Kait said...

Omg if I could give you the biggest hug in the world right now I totally would.
I would not change the way our family happened for anything in the world because I ultimately ended up with two of the coolest kids, HOWEVER if I have to endure one more comment about whether or not I'll have a real baby someday, I'm going to shank a bitch. I've settled in to the wide eyed, shocked "WOW! These kids are pricey for fakes!" but honestly? Come on people!
I agree with you that I will gladly discuss our adoption with people who have legitimate questions about it, but I really hate that having adopted our children means that my uterus/finances/sex life suddenly is an acceptable topic of discussion. My children and family are real and after five miscarriages, I'm pretty content with never having "a real" baby "of my own".

Amy, Jeff and Kimchi said...

Hi Kait, welcome to the blog! I SO hear you on the whole "real baby" thing. I despise that phrase and I'm always shocked when people feel compelled to point out the fact that my child, MY CHILD, isn't "mine." Obviously he looks different and no, I did not birth him but he is my real child. I REALLY stayed up night after night when he was teething, I REALLY rocked him to sleep and hushed his cries, I REALLY took care of him when he was sick, etc. I appreciate the fact that it does seem novel and quaint to many people and they like to point out the fact that he's adopted but we are real parents and real families and don't need labels to differentiate us from anyone else.

Connie said...

Hallelujah -- and I had to look up the spelling on google so I really MEAN IT! Though I do have a pair of Jimmy Choos that perfectly match Romy's eyes. Haaah! Gotcha! Nobody adopts because it's fashionable. I think the celebrity thing is hard because we see the timing get all condensed and it seems like they adopt more suddenly, more freewheeling. The press does not announce that so and so got EP or P3 today or whatever. I like your post. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

Allie said...

Yeah - it's ridiculous to place that kind of judgment on the situation any which way. There are many many many things to have opinions on. The where what how and why of other people's healthy functional family units should not be subject to public opinion.