I’d like to answer the person who commented about taking a child away from a loving foster family. Below is the comment that was left on our blog:
“I am so wanting to adopt but why would they pull a child from a loving foster family, who had the privilege of going to a boarding school and was obviously surrounded by so much love? Somehow this seems counterproductive and cruel. I guess the medical treatment makes US adoption a better option, but at what cost? Not wanting to be negative but my heart breaks for these kids.”
I’ve struggled with what I should say in reply. Since I cannot pretend to know the hearts of other children waiting, I will talk about what I do know – our family and how Xiaoyun, our daughter (adopted days before she turned 14) feels. Xiaoyun and I discussed this and I have her permission to share.
Xiaoyun did have foster parents who loved her. She was with them for more than 9 years. They were the only parents she can remember. They have two biological children who are older. She went to a boarding school because there were no good schools nearby, and the orphanage paid for her boarding. She came home on the weekends. It is common in her area to be sent to boarding school- she lived in a city of millions of people. If you were a good student, the orphanage would send you. Boarding school might sound a little more glamorous than it was- at least for Xiaoyun. While she did have friends there, almost all were orphans like she was. There was a distinction between the kids with families and those that were orphans. The teachers treated them differently, and Xiaoyun was subjected to ridicule by many of the kids who weren’t orphans. Having an obvious medical issue, as well as being an orphan made her a target for cruel kids.
Taking her from foster parents who loved her does seem cruel, but just because they loved her, didn’t mean that all the extended family did. She is close to her foster parent’s son, but there were others who weren’t kind to a girl with a different last name. When Xiaoyun is older, even when both Virgil and I have passed away, she will still have a large group of family and friends who will always be here to love her and encourage her. Last week she held her new niece in her arms. Soon she’ll hold a newborn nephew as well. She knows that there will always be family to call on in times of trouble, to share laughs with, to hold her when she cries, to rejoice with her triumphs and lift her up when she fails. She will have a baba to walk her down the aisle, a mama to hold her when that boy she’s crazy about breaks her heart (and big brothers to make sure he doesn’t do it again!), and sisters- so many sisters!!!- to share her secrets with, dance around with, and just enjoy being in each other’s company.. She has been taught crochet by her great-grandmother, shares special memories with her grandmother who traveled to China with me when we adopted, been taken shopping and out to eat with uncles and aunts, joked with cousins around the ‘kids table’ at family dinners, and the list goes on and on. She would not have had any of this if she’d stayed in China.
Yes, medical care was an issue for Xiaoyun in China. Her spine was so twisted that her lungs are permanently damaged. She will probably be on asthma medication the rest of her life. However, since she was able to have the surgeries, her heart is not going to suddenly stop because of the stress put on it due to compression. She can get whatever care she needs here. Also, it would have been difficult for her to have found a good job in China. If she could have gotten past the stigma of being an orphan, her physical limitations would still have caused her to have few options. Here in the States, there are so many opportunities – from where she can go to college to what type of job she will have (BTW- she wants to be a translator and work with families adopting).
There are so many other things I could add, but the biggest is the fact that she was able to hear that Jesus loves her, to read the Bible for herself, and accept Christ as her Savior. She can freely worship as she chooses-important for a person from a country where religion is severely restricted.
Older children have a choice about whether or not they want to be adopted. They must sign the paperwork just like we do. We are thankful Xiaoyun wanted a permanent family- a Forever Family. We love this precious jewel and it’s evident that she loves us. That’s what a family is all about.
*I do not want to imply that Xiaoyun’s adoption was without struggles. There were tears shed, and frustrating moments for both Xiaoyun and us. It is a difficult thing to leave all you are familiar with and begin again. To learn to trust people who were strangers, and could not understand not only your language, but also your way of life. Xiaoyun has handled it with grace and maturity far beyond her years.