Sunday, December 12, 2004


Last night I chatted with a girl from church named Kailee. Kailee was adopted from China when she was a baby, about 9 years ago. She is a sweet girl. She was just standing there and I found that I was staring at her. (Not the first time I have caught myself doing that...) I don't want to stare, but I don't think I realize I am doing it... until she looks back at me! I smiled at her and mentioned that I thought her outfit was cute. "I got it in Tennessee," was her reply.

I don't know why that struck me, but it did. This child was born half way around the world, yet she spoke of being in Tennessee like it was just the most natural thing. It is, I suppose. But I can't help think about where she started out in life, and where she is now. Two very different places, very far apart.

It made me think of her birth parents. They are still in China, presumably, and have no idea that Kailee loves horses and enjoys trips to Tennessee and is a sweet, beautiful girl.

I've mentioned it before, but I can't get over how hard it must be for the parents of these Chinese babies who are abandoned. Plenty of people will say that these parents (or the Chinese in general) are cold and uncaring because they "give up" so many babies. I just don't think people who say that really understand the political and social situation in China. I don't want to sugar-coat anything: there are folks in China who go as far as killing their daughters, I know that. But I cannot even imagine what it would be like to live in poverty, as many do in rural China, and never have a son in a society where a son is one's only hope of future stability. I can't imagine living in that poverty and having to make the choice between paying a life-breaking fine and keeping the child. It isn't an easy decision to make. And giving up a baby in the hopes that she won't also live in poverty must be difficult. No, not difficult. Heartbreaking.

So, in the back of my mind I wonder now where Ms. Bao's parents are. They probably abandoned her pretty recently, and I wonder how they are handling it. Of course, if Bao is in an orphanage right now, it is likely because her parents left her in a place where she could be found... because they wanted her to be cared for. I wonder if I will ever be able to look at her without my mind drifting back to the sacrifice that her parents made. I'll get the joy. Her birthparents will just be left to wonder.

I hear the comments now... "she will have a 'better' life here." "You are doing a great thing." Maybe. I *do* think that kids need parents. But we do not have a rescue mentality about this adoption. Is it such a great thing? It's selfishness. We just want another baby. (As a side note, I think all decisions to become a parent are selfish. Yet no one ever asks someone why they decided to get pregnant. People decide to get pregnant and people decide to adopt for the same reasons, because they want to have a child.)

Then there is *the question.* I never know how to take it. "Why China?" I know most people are just curious, so I assume that whenever they ask. But I get the feeling that some people have it in their mind where it's "right" to adopt from, and who it's "right" to adopt - and we, apparently, have not chosen the right thing. Of course, I think this is a load of crap. (There's just no better word than that.) I never know what people's criteria are for deciding this stuff, but I find it humorous that most of the people who have developed such criteria, haven't actually adopted anyone. They just like to live in their own hypothetical world where they can say "if *I* adopted, it would be..." and then be disgusted with us because we didn't choose the same thing.

So, I have to bite my tongue when I hear "why China?" We really believe that God just gave us a heart for that. So, what it comes down to is, WE WANT TO - that's why. We considered other options. We weighed a lot of factors. Even after our initial decision, I almost backed out of the China thing all together because I know it will be difficult for Bao to grow up in a white family. But we ended up with a peace about China and not the other options. We have "reasons," but, other than Bao, to whom do I owe an explanation? Why are people dissatisfied with the answer "because we want to?" Do people really think it would be better for us to adopt "their way" even if we weren't comfortable with it? (Now that would be a great legacy to leave our child... we didn't really want to adopt you, but so-and so thought we should, and so we did...)

I don't even feel angry about it. It's just stuff I think about. And stuff that I have to figure out how to respond to graciously - unlike this post. Learning... still learning.



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