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Monday, January 26, 2009

Why Adopt? Why China?

I wanted to thank y'all again for the many questions you posed to me on Friday. If you didn't get a chance to ask me something, check out Friday's post and leave me your question in the comments section. I'll keep it open for the next couple of days, mostly because the husband and I laughed our way through reading the ones already there. If you haven't guessed by now, we love to laugh, so keep those questions coming!

(And Heidi - no, I don't have stinky feet, although the husband may disagree. Oh, and my parents. And possibly the cat.)

I will answer every single question. EVERY SINGLE ONE, y'all. It's gonna take me a couple of weeks though. I'm also anal (shocking, I know); therefore I've grouped them together by topic rather than by questioner, so don't think I'm ignoring some of yours, but not others. And the very fact that I grouped them topically might give you a hint as to discombobulated's question of "Rachael or Monica?"

But I'll answer that at a later time.

Gail was the first to kick start one of The Most Popular Questions with, "why did you choose to adopt? And why China?" CC and Jennifer followed in quick succession, with CC's very specific, "Why did you decide to adopt from China and not somewhere else (cough, cough, Korea)?" Gee... I wonder which country CC and her husband Professor X adopted from? I'll give you three guesses a second.

The husband and I chose to build our family through adoption because, after over five years of pseudo-trying, we never became pregnant. I say pseudo-trying because we never did pull out the thermometers nor did we circle certain dates on the calendar with red inked hearts. I mean, from what you know of me, can you imagine ME doing all of that? It would totally be a comedy of errors. I'd probably break the thermometer and completely lose track of days. That means triple the work, which would definitely thrill the husband, but seriously cut down on my blogging time.

(That's a joke, y'all. I mean, in case you didn't know.)

We did talk with a fertility expert one time, but we left his offices wondering if shared DNA was worth the emotional, financial and physical cost associated with our various fertility options. For some of our friends and family, who struggled with similar issues, it WAS worth it... or at least, the drama associated with the adoption process seemed even less appealing. It's a tough choice to make, definitely. The Tongginator's circle of friends includes almost as many IVF babies as it does adoptees, so we well know that both choices can build families. But all of that fertility drama just didn't seem the right choice for us, especially since the women in my family have a history of difficult pregnancies and miscarriage. Plus, we also felt a twinge on our consciences when considering our world's resources and current population.

Both the husband and I grew up with adoption as an accepted way to build a family. Between the two of us, we have five cousins who joined our families through adoption (one in a domestic, open adoption; four through Asian international adoption). Not to mention how the husband feels about his dad, who actually isn't "really" his dad.

the Husband's sister Snow, holding his cousin,
newly adopted from South Korea (summer, 1983)


Once we looked to adoption as a way to begin our family, we turned quickly to Asian countries because of our family histories. Both the husband and I also previously lived among Asian majority populations: me in Japan and Hawaii, the husband in Guam, Japan and South Korea. We have quite a large number of friends and acquaintances who are Asian-American as a result: some in our present, many from our past, including one of my best friends from high school and a college roommate.

TM attending a Japanese school as the only Caucasian

As we began looking at IA programs within Asian countries, we made the commitment to select a program and an agency that were as ethical as possible. We definitely felt the pull to adopt from South Korea, since three of our cousins are Korean adoptees, but as we learned more and more about China's population control policies, we felt torn. The so-called one child policy in China created a situation where children were already living apart from their first families when talk of adoption began. We didn't know which country to choose. Then God spoke clearly to us about a specific adoption agency. When we discovered that this agency doesn't participate in South Korean adoptions within our state of residence, the die was cast.

We chose the agency and, by default, the country of China.

It meant waiting longer because we needed to wait almost a year before submitting our paperwork. The day I turned 30, we sent off our dossier. I now feel so grateful that God led us to China - not only did little Miss Tongginator join our family, we've also expanded our knowledge of a country rich in culture and we've met some amazing people, who we never would have met otherwise, including the Fish Five and Canuck K and her twins.

Us with the Fish Family, Summer 2005

The Tongginator with Canuck K's twins Cinnamon
and Spice, taken at the Dragon Boat Festival 2005

Even with the current marathon wait to adopt a second time, we don't regret our choice at all. China is so much a part of our family now, I can't imagine life any other way.

And I definitely can't imagine life without the Tongginator.

19 comments:

OH MY #6 said...

Great question! Great answer! so touching.

And, love your door decor below. Happy CNY my friend.

Lea
xo

Sharie said...

Wonderfully written - thank you for sharing!

Briana's Mom said...

Beautiful post! I am looking forward to learning more about you!

mommy24treasures said...

love your answers. No matter what the wait, these children are so worth whatever it takes to bring them home.
oh I love your door post below too:) Pretty!

Gail said...

Very cool TM. Thanks for answering me. Can't wait to see future posts with your answers.

Heather of the EO said...

I love learning more about you with these questions. Great answers, too. (:

Janet said...

I loved that answer. And the pics. And your writing....:-)

McEwens said...

Wonderful answer! I cant wait for the day you post that you are going to get baby number 2!

Patty O. said...

I love reading your story. It is really great to hear the more personal details behind yoru decision. My sister and her husband adopted their two children from Russia and I love their adoption story as well. I now cannot imagine our lives without adoption. I love my niece and nephew so much.

Colleen said...

Great post!!!! Love the question and the answer is awesome...oh and love the Happy face picture. : )
Looking forward to more answers....man I wish I had a witty question instead of asking something lame. oh well that's me....lame Colleen. ; P

Kristy said...

That was a great post lady!!! As always you always , always are so well written, I love "listening" to you talk!!!

Love, Kristy

redmaryjanes said...

You have one of the best histories for adopting from China that I have ever heard.
I love the photo of you in school.
Hope all is well. Happy CNY!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Great post....Beautifully written!!

I am way behind on my blogging today....I am ROFL at the ugly mug...not so much the mug, but your little notes. That was just the laugh I needed right about now...it was a rough Monday!!

Happy Chinese New Year....I can't wait to hear more of those answers:)

Lisa

Carla said...

I should answer this one sometime. It's always amazing to me how we all come to adoption in some similar fashion, yet so vastly different.

and I'm LOL here at the beach photo. Laughing because it's PLAIN to me she was having NOTHING to do with that sand if at all possible - the expression is exactly like Katie's was this past summer.

happygeek said...

I love me a good adoption story.
Beats out a birth story any day:)

Aunt LoLo said...

@ happygeek - yeah, adoption stories involve a lot less blood...but the sweat and tears are about the same. :-)

TM, great post! You know how I feel about China...and now, I can add "meeting TM" to the list of things that loving the Chinese culture has brought into my life!

CC said...

Thanks for answering my question. Sorry for that coughing bout. Don't know what to do about that cold! ;)

I had no idea you had so much life experience amongst Asians and Asian Americans! Did you say TD lived in S Korea? He'll have to teach us things!

Debz said...

I always loved to read what brought people to the door of adoption. I think that will be my next post.
Happy Chinese New Year!

Peanut said...

I've wondered about the process that lead you to adoption, and to China for adoption. Great post!