This evening as I was driving the dotter home from gymnastics, she was talking about M.’s two sisters, who are both pregnant—one at 15 and one at 18.
Luckily, I have indoctrinated her enough so that she commented that they had made “bad decisions.” Yo, baby, that’s what I like to hear! She further went on to say that the younger sister, now at 6 or 7 months pregnant, was now big and ungainly (well, okay, she said “fat”, which bugs me, but let’s continue on), and I added that her back probably hurt a lot, and her legs, and she had been sick to her stomach early on…
OmegaDotter asked me how on earth I knew, since, well, I’d never been pregnant (okay, two weeks pregnant…). I allowed as how I had gotten sick to my stomach, but that was it.
She then said that it was good that I hadn’t been pregnant, because if I’d been pregnant, we wouldn’t have adopted her. Well, she’d still have been adopted by another family, but we wouldn’t be her parents.
And then she added the kicker: “I’m a lucky girl.”
So I quickly told her that we were the lucky ones, because we got her and we love her and she’s smart and funny and blah de blah de blah.
Which segued into how we didn’t have a choice, and didn’t get to choose her, which led into how (so far as I know), the folks at CCAA actually read the files on the kiddoes and read the files on the parents and try—at least a little bit—to match the personalities of the parents to the kid. Of course, it’s hard when you’ve got nannies’ perceptions of what a little baby is like, but I occasionally read the translation of their description of the dotter, and the thing that stood out was that she was intense and thoughtful and liked music—all of which were definitely mentioned in our homestudies.
But still…”lucky girl”. Sigh. “Lucky” to have her birth family be forced—whether by law, by custom, by economic issues, by overbearing inlaws, or what-have-you—to abandon her where she would (hopefully) be found. Or, possibly, “lucky” to have her birth family decide to sell her to a finding service (Brian Stuy, at Research China, has been writing about how his research seems to be leading to a great deal of baby selling earlier than previously thought). “Lucky” to have been taken out of her birth culture…
Oh, yeah, sure: We love her, she loves us, we’re a (generally) happy family. She’s smart, she’s getting a good education, she’s doing great in gymnastics, she’ll have college and support, and become a fairly successful middle- to upper-class U.S.A.ian woman. That part is all good. But underlying it all is a basic fact: she started out being abandoned. And maybe it will mean a lot to her when she’s an adult, maybe it won’t. But there are plenty of adult international adoptees out there on the internets who write about how that one basic fact forms a foundation for the rest of their outlooks and attitudes. (Please don’t label these people “angry adoptees” or “unhappy adoptees”—typically they’re quite happy with their lives; it’s just that there’s a facet to their personalities that those of us who grew up in our birth families don’t have to cope with.)