My friend Shorty and her husband are looking to adopt a child. They have started exploring all of their options and researching and attending information sessions. Shorty sent me this email earlier today, asking for advice.
so here’s the deal…we’re looking into adoption – likely from China. I’ve had two issues when it comes to adoption
The first, a non issue with the Chinese child adoption is the open adoption thing. Domestic adoptions are all open (or most of them, in Ontario, Canada). I just have a hard time wrapping my head around an open adoption, where the adopted child will be raised Jewish, and well, Frum (religious) Jewish. While as you know DH is amazing, his family is patient but well, not necessarily totally understanding. So imagine a whole OTHER extended non Jewish family in the picture…
The second issue is the whole “teach the child their culture” thing. While i have no problem telling my (G-d willing!) adopted child where they are from, I’m not exactly keen on telling them the whole story about Chinese culture, as much of it revolves around a religion. I figure there must be some kind of balance, teach them about the language, and some non religious culture things. It’s just the first I hear of this. I know a few other people who had adopted from China, and their children, happen to be Chinese, but they never made any extra effort to teach the kids Mandarin or take them to Chinese dance lessons. I’ve just been reading about Chinese culture lessons for these kids…which somehow has to fit in around friends, and sports and school and well, regular life things.
So…what do you think? do you know anyone in this kind of situation (religious and have adopted from another country or are in an open adoption)
The scary thing is, because of the homestudy, you really have to have all these answers laid out before hand…like they ask you things like “how do you plan on raising the child – specifically”. Umm…does anyone know in such a detailed way how they are going to raise their child? They might know, religion, or a no-spanking policy (i actually do know a couple who spank, unfortunately) but other than that…does anyone really know what they do day by day, before the child arrives (adoption or by birth)?
Ok lots of random questions, but i know people like to comment on your blog more than mine, and I really need some words of wisdom!!
Lots of hugs
If anyone out there has any advice for Shorty and her husband, please share it.
In this day and age it seems as if no one has any secrets any more. Facebook and twitter and blogs and texting – well, some people use the internet to record every waking moment, every thought, every event. With some of the new applications out there, you can even update your location with maps and everything. (I briefly signed up to foursquare. I deleted the app from my Blackberry yesterday. Not for me).
Some of my friends have their kids as Facebook friends. I don’t allow my children to have Facebook accounts, so I am not worried that they will read something on my page I don’t want them to see. In fact, I won’t add a friend’s kid unless they are over 18 and I know them well.
Our kids are used to knowing everything real time. But how much is too much information? We sit down and talk to our children about the dangers of drugs and smoking. It has to be an honest conversation if we want them to really understand the consequences of certain types of behaviour. But then again, if you were a pot-head as a teen – and your child / teen asks you if you ever inhaled – do you tell them the truth? Perhaps a sanitized version? Perhaps the truth with a huge disclaimer along the lines of “we didn’t realize back then what consequences it could have had, and now I regret it”?
I have told my kids that smoking is bad for them. They know their grandfather smoked a heck of a lot and died at a young age. They also know that if I ever caught them smoking they would be in trouble. “It isn’t the cigarettes that would kill us, Ima would kill us first”. But it’s totally hypocritical of me. As a 17 year old starting college I smoked. Silk Cuts to be precise. For 3 months. I tried hard but I couldn’t get addicted. Thank God!! If the kids ask me if I ever smoked do I tell them the truth? That I did it to fit it with all the other students who were puffing away? That it did nothing for me except make my clothes and breath smell? Or do I lie and say I never smoked? I try so hard to be honest and open with my children – but where do you draw the line?
How about disclosing a previous marriage? Do kids need to know about that? Sometimes people have had a “starter marriage” – first marriage, totally wrong for each other, lasted all of 10 seconds, everyone moved on to bigger and better things, leaving just a tiny little blip on the horizon. Do children of the subsequent marriage have a right to know about the first one? Is it any of their business? Is it a part of what makes them who they are, or is it not necessary to their life? I have a couple of friends who had babies in their teens as unwed mothers and gave them up for adoption, moved on with their lives, got married, had more kids – when do those kids need to know about their mother’s story? Never? What if that child comes looking for his / her biological parent?
As the children get older the boundaries seem to blur a little – their maturity level makes them more understanding and trustworthy. They can handle uncomfortable truths. But does that mean we need to share all those family secrets that we have been withholding up until now? How much is too much?
Posted in family, kids, marriage, Opinion
Tagged addiction, adoption, children, disclosure, facebook, foursquare, marriage, online, smoking, twitter