Sunday, April 22, 2007

We Are Individuals - Not Experts

I struggled with this post because a part of me wanted to write about Virginia Tech, but I think that Virginia Tech needs to be put to rest now – not forgotten, just allowed to rest. So, instead, I decided to write about a problem that I have. The problem is that many people seem to think that because I am a Korean adoptee, I am an expert on Korean adoption. On the contrary, sometimes, I think that I am just as clueless as the rest of the world.

The truth is that if you put five Korean adoptees in a different room and you asked us all the same question, you would probably get five different answers. I know that parents want to be able to find answers. I’m a parent of a Korean adoptee and I would love to have the manual. You can’t paint all of us with the same brush.

On the message boards that I watch (and unfortunately do not have much time to comment on) I see prospective parents posting about things that they read on the Korean adoptee board all the time. If they are shocked and upset about it, they start second guessing the decision that they’ve made to adopt. If they enjoyed it, many seem to feel that their decision was the right one. Once the adoption has happened, it continues…the ups and downs that our posts create.

I have people writing to me saying things like “thank you, for your positive posts” and “it’s nice to know that you are happy.” I’m glad that I’m happy too. I am not happby because I was adopted though. I am just happy to be me and to have the life that I have. Since most of the people who read my blogs and post to these message boards have school age children, all I can say is that you’ll have to wait and see what happens. I’m right there with you. When you are reading my posts or another Korean adoptee’s post, don’t try to transfer those brush strokes to your child and I think there will be less disappointment on all sides.


Mommavia said...

I hope that my child grows up to love life and embrace his adoption. If he doesn't, it's not for my lack of trying. I always try to remember that even biological children don't grow up and be completely thrilled with their lives or their's one of the things that can happen with any family adoptive or not.

zoe said...

Good points. I guess since I started down the road of adoption, I have been guilty of thinking that adoptees are experts - but I guess it's more accurate to say that I think they/you are experts MUCH more than those who have been touted to be experts in the past - adoptive parents and adoption professionals. However, I also believe that it isn't your (collective) responsibility to educate adoptive parents! (And for that matter, thinking that one adoptee can speak for all is just ignorant/erroneous from the ground up).

You are so right with your observation of what goes on on adoption forums. It's unfortunate that we can just appreciate each adoptee's opinion in its own right, regardless of how it makes us feel. The one thing I can't stand, though, is that some voices are written off while others are accepted (by APs).