When my wife became pregnant the first time, I suddenly began noticing pregnant women everywhere. It seemed like every time I went shopping, every time we went out to eat, every time I left the house, I would see pregnant women. The same thing happened when we bought our old Subaru Outback. Suddenly we became aware of how many Outbacks there were in Eugene. It seemed like there were two or three at every stoplight. It’s like that for anything that you take an interest in. Suddenly you are aware of them everywhere.
A while ago I became a reader of Omegamom’s blog. Omegamom and her husband adopted an adorable little girl from China a few years ago. She writes about parenting issues (which I can empathize with and appreciate) and adoption issues (which I cannot). Reading about the added issues that arise when you bring someone else’s child into your home and your heart, I don’t know if I would be strong enough to do it. Add in the whole issue of culture and appearance, and it becomes a fine bucket of worms indeed.
Anway, I have been peering over the shoulder of Omegamom, and her support group, and now I find that I am seeing Asian children with non-Asian parents everywhere. It feels like every time we go out to eat, we see a couple of parents with their little tot, her shiny black hair and epicanthic folds an obvious contrast with their 100% Caucasoid appearance. And now that I notice them, I wonder about their stories. How long did they try to have children before they considered adoption? How many hoops did they have to jump through? How much do they know about the birth mother? These are questions that never would have occurred to me before ‘meeting’ Omegamom.
My family was having dinner out the other night, girls on one side of the table, boys on the other, and we starting comparing facial features between parent and child. It’s obvious that our children are our children. The curve of an eyebrow, the color of an eye, the shape of a cheekbone. We could not deny them, even if we wished to. But even as we laughed and pointed out this characteristic, and that, I was acutely aware that those are moments that adoptive parents cannot have. And I wonder how that feels.
In the end, I guess I’m happy that I see so many parents with Asian children now. For one thing, it means that there’s a couple that really, really wanted a kid, and proved it in the most visceral way possible. When I see an adopted Chinese child, I know that it is a wanted child. Also, seeing so many adoptive parents indicates that there is a large enough population of them to form a viable support structure. Parenting is hard enough without throwing in all those additional complications. We need all the help we can get.
Note: I had to edit this post because I unthinkingly referred to a representative adopted child as a ‘he’. The reality is, more than 95 percent of the children adopted from China are girls, both due to China’s population control policies, and the perceived relative value of boys versus girls there.