February 17, 2011

Them Both Good

"Them Both Good" is something we say quite a bit around here.  It stems back many many Thanksgivings ago.  The whole family was gathered around, eating and talking.  My brother looked at the bread on his plate and contemplated for a while.  Then oddly enough, he stood up and reached into his pocket and pulled out two single serving packets of jelly- one strawberry and one blackberry.  The rest of us looked around at each other quizzically, trying to figure out why someone would carry emergency jelly in their pocket. (I mean, really. Who carries around their own jelly!?)  My brother looked back and forth between those jellies a few times and couldn't make up him mind about which one to put on his bread.  Finally, as the ever consummate country boy, he said, "Strawberry?  Blackberry?  I don't know.  Them both good!" (In case you need further evidence that we are totally from Kentucky- whoop, there it is.)

We all died laughing.  The situation and his verbage were so outlandishly comical, that the phrase, "Them both good" has stuck in our family for years.  Bacon or sausage?  Doesn't matter- them both good.  Do you wish we were having a boy or a girl?  Who cares- them both good!  Wanna go to on vacation to Florida or Mexico?  THEM BOTH GOOD!

But do you want to know what situation I think this saying applies to best?  The great debate of international verses domestic adoption.  I always see the two being pitted against one another like that- all celebrity death match like. Even in the adoption community (or maybe especially in the adoption community)  It seems that families find that wherever their child is from is the most "noble".  Drives me nuts.  I find that in adoption, there is often a hierarchy.  "Desirable" children on top (healthy white or Asian babies on top) and less desirable babies on the bottom (sick black babies or special needs from anywhere).  Or that hierarchy flips on it's head when people get elitist talking about need.  Their child was the most in "need" of adoption- therefore putting those sick black babies on the top and the babies that people stayed on a waiting list for years to get on the bottom.  But seriously- why do we do this?  As an adoption community, why can't we all support one another and recognize that each family needs to go where they feel is the best fit for THEM?

People outside the adoption world often don't understand why people adopting internationally don't adopt "our own" children (meaning American children).  I've heard families (and even heard myself say) that at least in America there is a system.  There is a foundation in place to make sure that children are fed, have access to schools, etc.  While it is argued that children in third world countries would often face death or starvation in an orphanage if they were not adopted.  I'm mad that I ever heard myself utter those words.  At the root of adoption- families are created.  It doesn't matter where the child is from.  It doesn't matter that the child had and opportunity to go to school or not.  It doesn't matter that the child had access to free and reduced lunch or not.  It simply doesn't matter.  Just because a child could go to school, doesn't mean that the fundamental need to be a part of a family goes away.  Essentially what I am trying to say is that this hierarchy is ridiculous.  All of these children deserve a FAMILY.

I've heard people say that they don't understand people waiting on a waiting list for sometimes 5 years for a domestic adoption or the adoption of a non special needs child from China.  But at the root of it all- does it matter how long you wait on a list as long as the end result of a child getting a family and a family getting a child to love is still the same.  Does that child that gets adopted as a result of a family waiting a long time for him deserve a family any less than one whose adoption was completed in a matter of months?  Absolutely not.

There are huge drawbacks and positives to both international and domestic adoption.  We chose international adoption because it was what was right for us at the time.  Not because we felt that some children are more deserving or less deserving or because the need was greater or lesser than xyz destination.   We made a personal choice to do what felt right for our family.  And that is not the same as the personal choice that another family will make.  But how about as an adoption community- we quit the judging about where your child came from, how much your adoption costs were, or how long you had to wait to get that child.  Ever child DESERVES a mom and a dad, or two moms or two dads or one mom or one dad or whatever to love them.  Period. No matter where they live or what opportunities they did or didn't have.

So let's just call a truce, okay?  In the great debate over international or domestic adoption, let's just agree that THEM BOTH GOOD.  Capiche?

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