Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

Adoptees: if you could have picked your own adoptive parents, would you have chose the ones you have?

with 7 comments

No, not being adopted is not an option.

How would the AP’s you were to be raised by be different, if you’d had the chance to choose them?


I would have liked to have established a RELATIONSHIP with them FIRST, so I could see what their true colors were and make my decision based upon that. Trust should be earned. Relationships should be built. Even children deserve that.

The problem with adoption is you become an instant family. Back in the day, this was sight un-seen. They at least got a photograph. I didn’t get any. I didn’t know them from Adam, but I had to live with them. Even today, it is typically just a visit or two. I not only had zero choice, but I had zero opportunity to bond except after I had already been totally uprooted and totally dependent upon them for – EVERYTHING. I was stranded with strangers, powerless. I also couldn’t speak English so I couldn’t even communicate my fears, reservations, or needs. I also had no way to leave a bad situation. I didn’t even get an interpreter… I can’t understand why adoptive parents would want a child under those circumstances, where love is forced because there is no alternative. I wouldn’t want a parent willing to settle for something that shallow.

I wouldn’t have chosen the parents I got. They provided well, but they failed not only me but also their own biological children in every other way – in all the ways that count. They should have been screened better. And asking me to choose my own adoptive parents isn’t enough, as I would have also traded in my siblings who didn’t appreciate the fuss and disruption of my presence, so I had to grow up with them hating and resenting me.

If I could have chosen parents, I would have chosen people who bothered to get to know me first, who liked me for me and not because I filled a need and provided a role for them. In fact, I think someone like a caring big brother or big sister would have been a much better choice than having to go live with a new family, to tell you the truth. The amount of quality bonding time might even have exceeded what I got with my parents.

I would have chosen people who respected and loved children enough to not re-traumatize them and abruptly rip them from their country, their culture, and everyone they could identify with. I would have chosen local people in my own country. Local adoptive parents or the orphanage, surrounded with others like myself – that is what I would have chosen.

How would my AP’s be different? My only friend in jr. high school had five sisters, a step brother, a step mother, and her dad. All nine of them lived in a two bedroom cottage and attic space. There was more life and love in that tiny struggling house than could be found in my house times ten. Careful, conservative, proper, respectable people don’t always make good parents, just because they go to church, can fill out forms, and can balance their budget. Opportunity can go to hell. Without a vibrant, caring, genuine family like my friend had, my opportunities seem like poverty in comparison. My parents of choice wouldn’t have been so superficially perfect.

Adoption can be just as creepy as an arranged marriage. You can qualify perfect attributes of the perfect people and they can still be perfectly hideous to live with and govern you. You can create a laundry list of what you want in a child, and find you hate them once they are in your care. And there’s something very creepy about being sought after with no established history and no relationship. Without any test, without any trial relationship, we can’t even establish whether these humans even LIKE each other. This kind of courtship takes time and proximity. It takes more effort. It is so much more meaningful.

In my world, love comes first and legal recognition comes after – not the other way around. That’s the kind of world I want to live in. People who prioritize values like that are the kind of parent I wish I had.

Written by girl4708

December 9, 2008 at 2:30 am

Posted in Q&A

7 Responses

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  1. I would have chosen local Taiwanese parents who could have helped me grow up speaking Mandarin.

    Actually, no, not even that, because it probably would have just made me end up questioning that if I was adopted locally, why couldn’t I just go back to Mama and Baba instead.

    So I guess, in the end, I definitely got one of the better adoption deals.

    Although the best deal would have been for my parents to hand me back to Mama and Baba to begin with.


    December 11, 2008 at 5:32 pm

  2. I love the comparison of adoption to arranged marriage.


    December 14, 2008 at 5:57 pm

  3. I would not have chosen the same APs I got. They thought they couldn’t conceive, then were able to have two children after me. They are superficial people, I was a smart and funny child but not a pretty child, and at the age of 40 I still feel their passive-aggressive disappointment over my less-than-sorority-girl looks. I would have chosen APs who could truly love an adopted child as they did a biological one; who could love a girl as they loved their sons, who didn’t judge the value of their children based upon looks and what other people thought, and who didn’t constantly tell their child that they needed “psychiatric help” because of typical adolescent ups and downs.

    The criteria for adoptive parents should hold true for every parent: the willingness to accept the child you get, even if they aren’t a carbon copy of them.


    December 31, 2008 at 2:20 am

  4. Some of the above are not options — I asked my agency if there was any way I could stay in China and spend time with my daughter for a few weeks before taking her away from her living situation to the USA. I was told, and it proved correct, that not only was that not possible but we would not be allowed near the orphanage at all.

    Some of it is probably more achievable – I don’t think my agency screened or counseled very carefully. One of the people in my group kept talking about how she could tell her baby loved her instantly because she clung to her. That mother has not become more sensitive with time. Maybe before the fact she would have been more educable, now she is invested in her version of history being correct.


    February 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm

  5. “I asked my agency if there was any way I could stay in China and spend time with my daughter for a few weeks before taking her away from her living situation…”

    What did they say?

    Why would it not have been possible, even if it wasn’t allowed? Not being possible and not being permitted are two different things – that is why I am asking. Was it the environment, or the costs, or the caretakers?


    February 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm

  6. hi Mei-Ling, I am coming back to this after a long time.

    It is the policy of that province in China (as it is of most provinces in China) that adoptive parents are not permitted to visit the orphanage at the time of adoption. Not even once, let alone a number of visits over a period of time, as I wanted to do. There are a few exceptions but this province was not one of them. The reason I was given was that what facilities look like in China might not appear good to Westerners who do not understand the constraints these institutions work under. The government policy against visits is to avoid misunderstandings (and, I believe, an associated potential loss of face, undeserved bad publicity etc)

    If you mean was it not possible for some other reason, no, it was not a question of costs. I am not sure what you mean about environment or caretakers? It was not permitted by the provincial government. My agency had no say in the matter.

    It is a little hard for me to understand what you mean by not possible being different from permitted. We were able to take a trip to the area and view the orphanage from the outside – though that was discouraged also. But we were not allowed inside, nor allowed to talk directly to the child care workers. If you mean might we have tried some method to circumvent permission, we did not. And I cannot imagine that it would have been successful for multiple visits while trying to become acquainted with a child.

    I do not know a great deal about Taiwan but I think of Taiwan as a wealthy, modern, developed country strongly influenced by the West. So probably it is quite different there and I would not surprised if new adoptive parents are welcome in the orphanages. China is a special country, a marvelous country, but it is profoundly different from Taiwan and much more different from the US and Canada than is Taiwan, I think.


    March 19, 2009 at 9:30 pm

  7. NO, I would have choosen to stay with my Nat Dad and my paternal grandparents, they tried to keep me, but were not allowed, the birth mother & her family had ultimate say on what hapened to my body & soul

    and at 2nd choice I would have picked someone with crediable references….my owners greased palms to get a blue eyed infant girl


    April 16, 2009 at 3:35 am

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