24 July 2011

the problem with adopted kids

So here is what happened after church today. We went downstairs for coffee and donuts, as we do most Sundays when Lute is mostly well behaved during the service. (Yeah, we bribe our children, and sometimes it works.) The boys were running around, playing with their friends, dancing onstage, chasing each other, and stopping for brief moments to stuff their faces with maple bars. Eddie asked for water, so I lifted him to the water fountain, where he managed to ingest about three teaspoons from the 12 gallons that hit his face. 

As I started to carry him back to where the action was, an older gentleman stopped me and asked, "Is he your foster child?"
"Oh no, we adopted him as a newborn, he's mine," I replied happily.
"It looks like he needs a lot of guidance, doesn't he?"
Well, yeah dude, he's TWO. 
I was a little more diplomatic than that, but a bit of the mama bear started to well up within me.

Why is there such a stigma attached to adopted children? Here is my thought: they are kids. A kid is a kid. Now I am not saying that there aren't real issues for children that stem from adoption. I'm sure there are. But I am just as sure that every child has some issue of some kind... because they are human. They are going through life. And life isn't fair, and we all have to deal with that at some point in some way, and we usually feel pretty disillusioned and victimized. 

Before we brought Eddie home, several people asked us if we knew if he was exposed to anything harmful (valid question) or if we were worried that he would have predispositions that we weren't prepared for. I am not sure I am prepared for any of the things any of my children are predisposed to. You should see George when we cut off the cookies.

If anything, it's been the opposite of the common misconceptions. If you were to spend a good amount of time with my three children (does anyone want to, by the way?), you might notice that Lute and George have a little bit of a woeful nature. Sometimes a lot of a woeful nature, actually. Eddie, on the other hand, is probably the most joyful kid I have ever encountered. He might get a little frustrated from time to time, but he is usually having a grand time doing whatever it is he is doing. And yes, he is a handful, but that is because he is a boy through and through. (I think they are calling that "spirited" these days, right? Wanna be PC.)

So here are a few statistics that I hope help eradicate some of the ideas floating around about adoption:

85% of adopted children are rated in "excellent" or "very good" health.
The national average for non-adopted kids is 82%.

over 90% of adopted children have positive feelings about being adopted.

88% of adoptive parents describe themselves as a "happy couple".
Non-adoptive parents: 83%.

The New York Times did an interesting article awhile back that addressed this issue. I know I have a tendency toward the Pollyanna side of life, and I can gloss things over from time to time, but in my heart of hearts, I really believe that a change needs to come about in the attitude toward adoption. 

In my experience as a parent with three little boys very close in age, no kid is easy, but every kid is a blessing. 


  1. Wow, Carina. Nice job articulating this. You are an inspiration and I am SO thankful to know you. I adore your boys!
    PS - Don't we all need a lot of guidance?

  2. Who is that man, I want to wring his neck. My first thought, before I read further was that he needs to meet George! Oh Carina my dear, you are an amazing mom, and our Eddie is a great kid and I hope we can all live up to what he deserves! I am so proud of all my grandboys, each one unique and each shaped by the same wonderful parents. I hope that man is still around in a few years, when Eddie is no longer two! And it's like grams said, he doesn't look two so people expect more from him. He, and the others, are a true gift to all.

  3. AMEN! God bless you and your beautiful children!

  4. Holy crap. I would have never heard "adopted kid" and thought that!

  5. Huh, what a weird assumption…I wouldn't have jumped to the "foster" conclusion (scratches head)

  6. Thanks for the encouragement, ladies! I hope I didn't sound too soapbox-y, I am just surprised at how common it is to hear these misconceptions in everyday conversation.

  7. My girlfriend went through all the "what if's" from her own mother! She tried forever for her own and it just wasn't God's plan. It became very evident to me through my experience with my friend that God places a child in someone else uterus for a means to place them in the home they are really intended for. I just roll my eyes when I hear about others ignorance...

  8. Beautiful honey, makes me wanna cry, I love that little guy!

  9. Carina, well said. I want to stand up and applaud you. You've given Eddie a home, family, love, an opportunity to a great life - I can see no wrong or negatives with adoption.

    'Guidance'? Don't we all need that? Especially said gentleman, he clearly needs guidance in manners and tact :)

  10. Hello!

    I wanted to first stop by and thank you for your comment and support on my SITS day.

    I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post on your children. My husband and I would absolutely love to adopt! We have to pay off student loans first, but then we are excited about the prospect of adoption. And I wouldn't say that your children are any different from mine, with the exception of adoption. Boys are boys and I love every minute of mine! I am looking forward to following along with your blog and your journey.

  11. Thanks for sharing those stats... I agree 100%. I am adopted and so is my firstborn. Thankfully, because he looks so much like me, we haven't really had to deal with well-meaning but misinformed people's comments. I imagine it gets old very quick.

    (Visiting from SITS.)

  12. So I definitely love what Carina is saying here, but I want to respond to a couple of comments.

    To say that God puts babies in a woman's uterus just as a means to place them in another's home might sound fine on the surface... but how does it sound to the woman who's uterus God is 'using'? A woman who perhaps desperately loves that child and wishes with everything she has that the child who grew in her womb could also grow in her home? Don't get me wrong, I believe that God has a plan for every life he creates and sometimes adoption is part of that plan, but that doesn't mean the birth mother is just a uterus and a mere means to an end.

    Another commenter suggests that there are no negatives to adoption. Being an adoptive parent myself, of course I am pro-adoption. But we can't forget that adoption is rooted in loss: a birth family loses a child and a child loses their birth family. (These are the *minimum* losses -- they may also lose many other things such as language, culture, tradition, religion, etc). Hopefully through their adoption the child will also gain many, many wonderful things - adoption may even literally save their life - but those benefits don't erase the core losses that are inherent to the process of adoption.

  13. To summarize (and maybe clarify):

    Adoption is a beautiful thing, but the situations that make it necessary are often tragic. Although adoption can be part of God's redemptive work in those tragic situations, the losses experienced by those involved are still real and deserve acknowledgment and respect.

  14. I hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday!

  15. Wow! Good for you for being patient with that man. Unfortunately, so many people are just ignorant about adoption and (though they're grown adults) just don't know any better. I was adopted and it will never stop bothering me when people use the term "real mom" to refer to my biological mother. I have learned that they don't always mean harm, though, they just don't understand that my real mom is the one who did everything for me and made me who I am today.

    And I'm sure I needed a lot of guidance. So did the biological children! :)

  16. @clutterhome: welcome! I really appreciate hearing an adopted person's perspective. I especially appreciate the "real mom" sentiment. I have thought a lot about that and wondered what it will be like for Eddie, and for the next one. Please come back around sometime!

  17. Love this post! People would ask when we were going through the adoption process if we were worried that there might be something wrong with the girls, or if they would have issues. I wanted to answer, "are you worried the baby you carry might have autism or downs syndrome, or CF?" Of course I didn't, but no one is guaranteed a perfect child, and there is risk in being a parent...period! PLus.. I can assure you that any child growing up in my home, biological or adopted, will certainly have issues! :)

  18. Like many of the people who have already commented, I love this! I know you've already contributed to "We Are Grafted In" in the recent past, but would be willing to let us share this post as well? :) Just let me know!
    co-administrator of WAGI
    smurphy 28 @ juno . come
    (I'd also love to know who designed your blog as mine is in desperate need of updating!)