Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Angels at the grocery store

I had an amazing conversation with someone today and I had to share it.

First of all, yesterday I was surfing the internet for some adoption related topics, which is something I know I shouldn't do because I always end up irritated. There are a lot of people out there with really strong opinions about international adoption. Lots of people are completely against adopting foreign children. I've heard it a million times. We're only doing it because celebrities do it, we're neglecting American children, foreign children should stay in their own country, blah blah blah. Usually they're the opinions of people who know nothing about international adoption and might have a different opinion if they educated themselves, but it still irritates me.

I didn't adopt a foreign child because it's "cool". That's actually offensive to me. She's a child, not a handbag. I'm far from cool and I'm A-OK with that. :) I don't have any desire to be Angelina Jolie. Trust me, there are way easier ways to be cool than by adopting a child. If I wanted to be cool I'd go buy myself an SUV or something. Lots less paperwork and no waiting list, lol. I'm going to kick the next person who says that people only adopt foreign children because it's the "in" thing to do. Gag.

People seem to think that there are thousands of potential homes for these children in their own country and that we're just swooping in and taking them. I WISH there were thousands of potential homes for Korean children in their own country, but that's not the case. They tried to find a Korean family for Clarissa and were unsuccessful. Clarissa's choice was an international adoption or an orphanage. Being adopted into an American family might not be the ideal solution, but in Clarissa's case I believe that it was the best solution given the circumstances.

And as far as adopting foreign children somehow taking away a potential family for an American child...well, let's just say that I know people who have been waiting to adopt an American baby longer than we waited to adopt Clarissa and I'll just leave it at that.

My reasons for adopting Clarissa were actually very simple. We felt that God called us to adopt and we felt that we were meant to find her in Korea. Some people don't understand that, and that's OK, but that's the truth. It's really no more complicated than that.

Anyway, that's a tangent you don't want to get me started on. I tend to avoid adoption discussions on the internet unless it's a international adoption forum that is just full of adoptive parents because hearing people's opinion about what is best for children like Clarissa when they don't have any idea what they're talking about makes me want to throw things at my computer screen.

But yesterday in my search for something unrelated I stumbled into another discussion about why international adoption is evil and even though I KNOW I should just turn the computer off and walk away when I come across things like that, I kept reading. Several months ago I tried to get into one of those discussions and give the perspective of an adoptive parent, thinking that maybe it might help people understand why people adopt foreign children, and it didn't end well. That was the first and last time I tried to argue that topic and I won't do it again. So I didn't join the discussion, I just read page after page of people who don't know anything about international adoption spout off about why people who adopt foreign children are horrible human beings. Awesome.

Anyway, that put me in a mood and I've been bugged about it ever since. It was on my mind all last night and it's been on my mind today.  In my heart I know that we made the right decision when we adopted Clarissa. I can't imagine our family without her in it. My biggest fear is that someday she's going to grow up and be angry about being taken from Korea. That's something I've worried about since we started the adoption process. More than anything in the world I want Clarissa to be happy. I want her to grow up knowing that the decisions that were made for her were done out of love. Our decision to adopt was made after so much thought and prayer. It's was never something I took lightly.  My thoughts have been kind of heavy today.

Then this afternoon I went grocery shopping with Clarissa. The grocery store is right next door to the taekwondo studio, so it's super handy to drop the boys off and then take Clarissa grocery shopping. I was going down an isle when a woman probably around my moms age stopped me and asked if Clarissa was adopted. I'm super open about the adoption and I don't mind questions at all, but after everything I had read the day before I was a little wary of it today. I said yes and then woman said "I have an adult daughter who I adopted from Korea when she was a baby." YAY! :) I told her that Clarissa was Korean and suddenly that woman was my new best friend, lol.

It's actually very rare for me to run into someone who has adopted from Korea. There are very few Korean adoptions in our state because there isn't an adoption agency in the entire state that handles them. Korea does their international adoptions differently than most other countries and they only work with a limited number of American agencies. None of them are in Idaho, so we actually had to track down an agency out of state that would place a Korean child in Idaho and all of our correspondence with them was handled over the phone and through the mail. Most people don't want to bother with that unless there's a reason that they specifically want to adopt from Korea, so Korean adoptions are pretty rare here.

So running into a Korean adoptive family is super exciting to me! The woman was so awesome, she talked to me in the middle of the grocery store for about 15 minutes. She told me all about her daughter and her adoption and what life was like for her as a Korean adoptee. It was a wonderful experience for their family and for her daughter, who has grown up happy and well adjusted. The lady was super open about it so I felt like it was OK to ask her a few nosey questions and I was really comforted by her answers. She told me about her daughters feelings about looking for her birth mother and her feelings about Korea and about being adopted. She pretty much covered every single thing that has been on my mind in the past 24 hours and completely put my mind at ease. I wanted to hug that woman in the middle of the store. I didn't, but I kind of wish I would have. I'm sure that she has no idea what she did for me today.

I can't help but think that God put that woman in my path today. I needed her "been there, done that" wisdom today. I needed someone who has been through it to remind me that it is possible to raise a happy, well adjusted internationally adopted child, despite what people on internet message boards seem to think. It's rare for me to meet someone locally who has adopted from Korea and not only did I meet one today she seemed to have all the answers to the questions in my head. It was a blessing to me and I'm grateful for it.

After the fantastic conversation we had she said that she had to go, we said goodbye and she was gone. Stupidly I didn't get her name or give her mine. I have no idea who that woman was, but to me she was an angel. She went on with her day and I'm sure she has no idea what a wonderful gift she gave me.

So I learned a few things today. First of all I learned that when you come across something on the internet that you know is going to upset you, turn it off and walk away or you're really going to regret it later. Second I learned not to let other peoples opinions sway me from something I feel strongly about. Third, I learned how important it is to share your life experiences with others because you never know when something you say might be exactly the thing that someone else needs to hear.

So thank you to my grocery store angel, whoever you are. You were an answered prayer today.


Pam said...

Wow, I guess I should not be surprised, but I am. I always thought when people adopted there was a reason they chose domestic v. international. My 2 nephews were both adopted domestically. I work with someone who adopted internationally. I think adoption, no matter what, is a great thing. Actually I had a friend growing up that was adopted from Vietman during the war. She was happy and well adjusted. You are giving Clarissa a great home!

Jill said...

What an amazing story. You said so many things in that post that I agree with and worry about. Thanks for your honesty.

Marla said...

My best friend was adopted from Korea when she was a baby. Her parents adopted her younger brother from Korea also, two years later.