Sunday, August 05, 2007

Adoption – The Word

Awhile back, there was a very interesting conversation on one of my boards about the use of the word “adoption” and I’ve been thinking about it. The vastly different points of view are why I like belonging to these groups. Though admittedly, they don’t tend to change my mind…I like to know where people are coming from. It keeps me from getting too frustrated or mad when I understand where a line of thought is coming from.

Background: An adoptee has requested a Webkinz for her birthday. The parent is worried because children are required to “adopt” their stuffed pet. How do you make your child understand the difference between their own adoption and the adoption of a toy? This sparked a lively debate about the general dislike of the use of the word adoption for things like “adopt-a-highway” and “adopt-a-family.”

My Reaction: Okay, I’ll admit it...the question initially amused me. Then, I remembered to take a look at the other side because there are people out there who really feel strongly about the subject. Personally, I just think of the word “adopt” as one of those words that have a lot of meanings and definitions. The word itself is not important, it’s the context. In my thirty-some years, I have adopted a highway, a pet, a doll, several contracts…you get the picture. I never ever considered that there might be a problem with the use of the word. This is the reason I belong to these groups.

I thought about it and I don’t think my parents ever addressed this particular issue. Perhaps they took it for granted that I knew there was a difference between me and a highway. Most likely, they looked at the word a lot like I do and it never occurred to them to worry about it. I’ll have to ask.

My son has a Webkinz frog. My sister works for the company who makes them and she gave it to him as a present. He loves his frog. His frog goes to bed with him, to school, on trips, etc… and he tells everyone that his Aunt C gave it to him. So, when we registered his frog online…I think I said something like, “Look T, you’re adopting your frog just like we adopted you.” I wrote this to my group and I could feel the electronic winces as the other parents read my statement. It just goes to show how different we all are.


Roozbeh said...

Again, you wrote very very beautifully!

Mommavia said...

I think by recognizing that the word has several different uses is an opportunity to have some very candid conversations with your child. Another way to show how final their adoption really is.

Felice Luftschein said...

You bring up something that I have been thinking about a lot lately, that all adoptive parents see things differently, and are different. The only thing that does bind us together is the fact that we've adopted, and I often find that that isn't enough to build any sense of community (in fact it often does the opposite). I'd love to see your thoughts on that topic in the future...