I value friendships and communication with people of diverse perspectives in general, but I particularly value this in the world of adoption where it breaks my heart that the different perspectives have formed camps, especially online, with little to no real communication, understanding, or acceptance. In that spirit I opened the following email from an online adult adoptee friend, Sandy (also known as TAO) with the subject line: World Adoption Day- What a Farce.
Well that didn’t take long – stupid people rushing in with clear lack of consideration for the child or knowledge of adoption…
“Love Child” tee-shirts, even onesies. Do they not know the connotation and definition of “Love Child”? The stigma that still exists around adopted children? But hey, they are social entrepreneurs so they know everything.
But wait – it gets even better. No worries about how the child will feel – put them in a tee-shirt or onesie that says Crowd funded…yahoo… look at me – I was saved…I’m a charity case
They even provide definitions…
love child: n.
a child who is loved unconditionally and without restraint
(sounds creepy when you include the crowd)
crowd funded n,
a child who has the great fortune of being loved and supported by a community, a village, a ‘crowd’.
(great fortune to lose your mother at birth)
As always, Sandy gives me much food for thought, and I count that as one of my life blessings.
World Adoption Day
This past Sunday, November 9, was the first World Adoption Day. The only mission statement or founding principle I could find was that this day was to be “a worldwide celebration of adoption“and a day “to celebrate family“. There continues to be misunderstandings and “stupidity” about adoption. My take is that this effort is designed to bring awareness and acceptance that adoption is an acceptable way to create a family.
The organizing force behind World Adoption Day are Hank Fortener, founder of AdoptTogether.org and pastor at the MOSAIC Church in Los Angeles; Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water; and Jessica Stam, supermodel who volunteers her name and time with various child welfare nonprofits including one supporting abandoned girls in Kenya and one finding homes for hard to place foster children. Fortener’s connection and passion for adoption came from his parents who fostered 36 children and adopted 8 as he was growing up. I’m pretty sure that none of them are stupid, and clearly Fortener and Stam are knowledgeable about adoption.
Would You Dress a Child in a Love Child T-Shirt
I’m still contemplating Sandy’s point on dressing kids in “Love Child” t-shirts or onesies. I suspect the World Adoption Day folks knew exactly the connotation of the term “love child” and were trying to take it back. And why shouldn’t we abolish the whole negative connotation to the phrase “love child”. Don’t we want to think that every child deserves this title? Shouldn’t all parent dress every child in a onesie that celebrates that he is loved unconditionally and without restraint?
Her point, however, is whether adopted kids should bear the brunt of changing the common acceptance of the phrase “love child”. Is this just another way to set them apart? I’m thinking on it.
What about a Crowd Funded T-Shirt?
I would feel very uncomfortable dressing my kid in a Crowd Funded t-shirt regardless of how I raised the money to become his mom. No child should feel like a charity. No child should be a charity to her parents or her community or village.
Even though I am sure most parents who crowd fund to adopt a child view it with the intent that their child is being “loved and supported by a community, a village, a ‘crowd’”, I would worry that my child might view it differently as a teen or adult when he sees this picture.
I am not one who believes adopted kids need to be parented with kid gloves. In fact, I think that’s an unhealthy way to parent any child. No child should feel different, and you run the risk of making your adopted child feel different by treating her differently. This t-shirt, however, would make a child feel different because it can only apply to adopted children.
Some adoptees struggle with feeling outside their family–like a charity or second best, and a t-shirt such as this could exacerbate those feelings. Why run the risk? Am I overreacting?
Would you dress your child in a Love Child or Crowd Funded t-shirt? What do you think about World Adoption Day.
P.S.1. Sandy blogs over at The Adopted One blog. You should add that one to the blogs you regularly read to further understand adoption from the adoptee’s perspective. I always learn something.
P.S.2. World Adoption Day removed the t-shirts from their store today.Image credit: World Adoption Day Store