The Changing Faces of Adoption
“No, you’re wrong,” the woman at the take-out pizza counter tells me. “You can’t get boys in China.” I look down at my four year old son, patiently waiting for his slice of pepperoni. “Are you sure he’s Chinese?” the woman continues. I grip Jack’s hand tighter and take a deep breath.
I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve had this conversation. I wish I could say these comments never happen when my son is standing right beside me. But the truth is misconceptions about the changing face of international adoption often lead to these discussions. Growing up, the adoptive children I knew came from Russia, Vietnam and Guatemala. Today most children adopted internationally are from China, South Korea, and Ukraine. Even within the countries themselves dynamics change. In 2004, 95.1% of babies adopted from China were female. Today it’s 50/50.
So why as an adoptive mother do I need to be armed with this information? Because when our children hear misconceptions about their birth country or how they came to be, it’s important to counter with facts.
Back in that pizza parlor I smile at the woman. I tell her she is probably just remembering China’s one-child policy, since overturned in 2015, which led to more girls being available for adoption. That, combined with domestic adoption being more culturally acceptable in China, has led to a decided shift in the children who need forever homes. In fact, today there are more boys waiting because of misconceptions like that one. The woman hands me my change and looks my son up and down again.
When I get home, I open the bag to find an extra container filled with garlic knots. On it the woman from the pizza parlor has written “For Jack. Welcome.” It makes my heart smile.
Read more about How Country Policy Affects International Adoption.
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