Beyond comments made when they were too young to understand them, my children (three by birth and one by adoption) haven’t been adversely affected by being “conspicuous.” If anything, they have received extra smiles from strangers, smiles they must attribute to their natural charm and beauty! Maybe, beyond giving my kids the occasional shot of self-esteem, there are more benefits to being a “conspicuous” family. Perhaps families like ours are like that porch light, lighting up and even maybe changing the world.So you, adoptive parent, feel like an ambassador of all that is good in your conspicuous family. But what do your kids think of it? Really.
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[Quoting Craig Juntunen] “I believe that international adoption will lead to the evolution of a global society, where the cross-pollination of races and cultures will shrink the planet. Families created through international adoption are ambassadors, because their children become part of the communities they live in and everyone gains from that experience,” he said.
Ambassadors. Yes, yes, I’ve felt that many times.
Look, what I'm about to say has been said by many people far more eloquent than I am -- the barest possible reading about transracial adoption would introduce adoptive parents to this concept. But apparently it needs to be said again, in light of this post.
Our children did not sign on to be subjects in a grand social experiment on the "cross-pollination" of races and cultures. They had no say in whether to be a "bridge between the races." They did not consent to being "ambassadors" for global peace, love and understanding. They did not consent to being "ambassadors" for adoption. It was OUR decision, not theirs, to be a conspicuous family.
If you want to work for social justice, racial equality, cultural tolerance, worldwide love, great! But don't consider your transracial adoption as a step in those causes. Would you marry a person of another race or culture in order to promote global harmony? Of course not! You marry out of love, yes? Now, that love may make you more sensitive to issues of social justice, racial equality, etc., but would you hold yourself out as an example of such? I hope not, but if you do, at least you are both adults who consented to the relationship.
Adopting children as a social cause, a grand experiment, is not fair to them. Holding them out as ambassadors, when they had no say in the matter, compounds that unfairness. Yes, work for social justice, racial equality, cultural tolerance, and worldwide love, but make it YOUR issue, not theirs. And don't offer them up as successful lab rats in a grand social experiment.