Wednesday, August 20, 2008

adoption language

Our kids are actually on vacation until the 2nd week of September, but some of your kids begin school this week. It's important to teach the teachers how to talk about adoption. Many people are not mean when it comes to adoption, they just don't know what is right. Here is a Q & A on adoption. I thought it might be something you could copy and give to your child's teacher as an example of correct adoption language.

Q: Where are Emily's real parents?
A: Emily's real parents are the parents who are raising her,
John and Kathy. She also has birthparents in China who gave
birth to her.
OPTIONAL EXPANSION: Emily has two sets of “real” parents. Her
birthparents are real, as she was born to them.Her American
parents are real, as they are raising her and she is their daughter.
Q: Where's Emily from?
A: She's from Connecticut. She was born in China, but she is
now a U.S. citizen.
Q: Why doesn't Emily look like her parents [mom] [dad]?
A: She was born in China and her parents adopted her when
she was a baby.Her parents are European American; she is
Chinese American.
Q: Does she speak Chinese?
A: No. Emily came to the U.S.when she was several months
old. She was not speaking any language at the time! Children
speak the language of the country they are raised in, just as
you speak English and not the language your grandparents
spoke before they immigrated to the U.S.
Q: Does she eat with chopsticks?
A: Chinese kids are not born knowing how to use chopsticks. In
the same way that American kids learn to use spoons, forks, and
knives, using chopsticks is learned by Chinese kids. Here in
America Emily has learned to eat with a fork, spoon, and knife,
and also with chopsticks.
Q: Will she be a Communist? Buddhist?
A: No. Belief systems are learned (whether by choice or not).
We are not born with them.
Q: Did it cost a lot to adopt her?
A: This is like asking how much your parents paid for the doctor
and hospital when you were born. In adoption,there are
other costs involved, like fees to the adoption agencies, professionals,
and attorneys to cover the legal and social work
involved in completing an adoption.
Q: Why didn’t her first family want her? Didn’t they love her?
A: They probably loved her very much, but knew that they
couldn’t take care of any baby at that time. They wanted Emily
to be raised by a family that would love her and could take care
of her forever. Adoptions always happen for grownup reasons,
and are never the result of anything a child does.
We want you, our child’s teacher, to know that we believe that
families are created through love, respect, and caring and not
solely through genetic connections. Thank you for helping us
communicate this to Emily’s classmates.