Ajastin Guest: An Adopted Child Is Your Own

Oh how lovely kids! Are they your own or adopted?

I stare the asker in disbelief. His/her face reveals that an answer is expected.

I say that I do not understand the question. Adopted children are always your own. Desired, wanted and expected. Cherished, loved and rejoiced. My offspring, for whom I would do anything. My children, that I raise with love. Gifts, that I appreciate with gratitude.

Heidi Ruohio, who has studied international adoption, published her doctoral thesis in June. She investigated the belonging to family and nation of those internationally adopted.

Ruohio observed that adoptive parents and adopted children have a common understanding on that members of an adoptive family are each other’s own. Your own family, your own mother, your own father, your own child. Instead, outside the family, the belonging of an adopted child to both the family and the nation is questioned. And often.

According to Ruohio the distortion is caused by that the child-parent relationship is often presumed to be based on biological kinship. That is why the differences in appearance of members of an adoptive family confuse.

It is odd to think homogeneous appearance would make a family somewhat more real or more right. Family is so many other things than blood bond. At its best, it is a group of people, dear and important to each other, that supports each other at growing as a person.

Even stranger is to imagine adopted children would grow somehow unattached from the society and the culture. I still get confused when we get asked what language we speak with our children. Um? Finnish of course. The mother tongue of our adopted children born in Africa is Finnish. Talkative tots learn quickly even the sharp R.

Even if we try to preserve some of our children’s motherland’s culture, our kids will grow Finns. Real and authentic.

It is jocular that our children love winter sports and are skilled downhill skiers. The coniferous forest is an important place, both favourite food is sausages and mash. There is no such cold lake that the siblings would not run from the pier into the water. The sauna is our home’s most worshipped room.

Oh what a lovely feeling hair! And such cute braids!

I still do not understand why you could finger an adopted child’s hair without permission. Or pet the cheek. Or tickle from the side. A tiresome amount of people does that.

We Finns rarely like if we are touched without asking. Our children feel the same way. A stroke or tickling intended to be good-natured feel very frightening to them. Especially if the situation recurs every shop trip.

Adopted children are their parents own, not common property that can be touched without asking.

If strangers sweet children make your heart beat, you should resort to an ancient gimmick: a smile. It neither costs anything nor harms anyone. And you tend to smile to all children regardless of their appearance, family background and nationality.

Original article by: Tia Yliskylä, tia@tiayliskyla.fi
Link to original article: http://www.hameensanomat.fi/kolumnit/311408-ajastinvieras-adoptiolapsi-oma

The writer is a communications coach from Hämeenlinna.

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