Friday, November 23, 2007

The good news about adoption

This voice clip was on NPR this morning and someone in one of my adoption forums pointed it out to us. The gist of the clip is that, over the long term, adopted kids aren't any more likely to suffer from self-esteem issues than biological kids. Of course, in our house, we knew that already. But, in larger international adoption community, there's a group of parents who always have their kids under the microscope just looking for problems: attachment and trauma issues in infants and toddlers, evidence of a gaping Primal Wound, insurmountable identity issues in older kids and the like. And then there are the adoption professionals that serve these Nervous Nellie parents, the ones who tell us our children are wounded for life or, for those of us who've adopted across racial lines, that our children will invariably be subject to all kinds of racial prejudice that we are just too dumb to understand. Some even tell us that we're the New Colonialists who've done an evil thing by adopting our children and that they regret having adopted their own children now that they've seen the light. (Of course, they always wait until their families are complete to have such revelations.) The intensity of these parents and professionals is unmatched anywhere. They seem to spend a lot of time online trying to educate the rest of us fools. None of this is to say that real problems don't exist. Certainly, a percentage of orphanage children have attachment issues or bear evidence of early neglect. Certainly, a percentage of adopted kids will struggle with birthparent issues. Certainly, some of our children will suffer prejudice or hostility because they look different than the majority or were born in another land. But, is my daughter by definition a broken doll who'd have been better off if I'd left her in an orphanage in south China? I don't think so. And neither should you.

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