Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Charity in transracial/transcultural adoptions

The question about charity in transracial/transcultural adoptions came up again on a Catholic International Adoption group, to which we belong. Below is an edited version of my response, which I decided to post here for a few reasons. First, I know this is a relatively common question/concern for parents who are in the adoption process, but also for those who are discerning whether or not they are called to adopt. Adoption can be an emotionally draining and overwhelming process at times, add to that the sense that not everyone is fully behind your decision and it can get downright scary. Second, there has been a great deal of discussion about the topic and I'm sure there are lots of other ideas beyond the ones I've discussed-please feel free to add your own suggestions. Finally, when this question comes up, it presents a tremendous opportunity to educate and inform.

From my response:
I'm not sure if we had/have anyone who is not in favor of our choice to adopt internationally/transracially/transculturally, but if they did/do they have kept it to themselves.

On my husband's side, it is a little different because he is the oldest of 11 children, 9 of whom are adopted. While none were international adoptions, all were children of different races. So, at their house, it is just what "family" looks like. To other people, though, there were questions about the impact of the adoption on "our own" children and how would we know if our Ethiopian children were really healthy and well-adjusted.

Our response to that, besides lots of prayer, was education. Our agency put out a DVD about their work in Ethiopia that we shared with tons of friends and family and we also sent them email links and other information to explain the process to them. Heck, I even started this blog. We also did a fundraiser at the school our Ethiopian daughter would attend, where we provided, along with two other Ethiopian adoptive families, information, support and dialogue about adoption.

What we have found is that often times, people speak out of ignorance not out of an unkind heart. The other thing that has rung true for us (as well as other families with this issue) was the change of heart once these other people actually met our children. We felt that extended family and friends needed time to grow in love of our children, just as we had been growing in love for them throughout the adoption process.
I think that, in the end, you continue to live out the life that God has called you to and as St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words." Your actions will speak louder, every.single.time, than anything you could ever say.


5KidMom said...

Actions really do speak louder than words. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your journey!

patjrsmom said...

Thanks 5kidmom.
The adoption journey (like all of parenting) never really ends, does it?