Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our Adoption Story Part 2--Why China?

If you have not read Our Adoption Story Part 1 please feel free to do so first.

I have no intention of answering the question of "why not domestic?" at least not on a public forum like my blog--which is still private, but will be public eventually, though not necessarily read.  Partly because all of my answers are different now through growth and distance and if we adopt another it might be domestically, but mostly because the question doesn't really make sense to me.  By choosing China we were not rejecting an American born baby, we were just adopting from China.

I am happy to answer the question, "Why China?"  If you recall from my earlier post I was already quite open to the idea of trans-racial adoption; the neatness of that idea did not diminish over my teen years.  My senior year in high school we learned about China's one child policy that was implemented in 1978 and is still in effect at this time, though with somewhat different rules.  My current affairs teacher (who gave me an A- because nobody should have straight A's in High School) taught us that because of this policy many baby girls were being abandoned in China so the parents could have a boy instead.  The idea there were unwanted baby girls laying around wanting to be loved broke my heart.  I thought, that's it, that is where I'll get my daughters.  China did not open its doors to International Adoptions for 2 more years, but that was irrelevant to me.

Fast forward a few years.  After college I decided to go on a mission trip with my church.  I had always had the vague idea that everyone should go on a short term trip, and for some odd reason, I decided that trip should be to Russia.  Our church was gathering a team for Russia, and I told God, okay, this is it, right?  I'm suppose to go with them, right?  I got a resounding NO which really, really surprised me.  The next week I found out my church (or Building) was planning a trip--not a mission trip--to China.  The idea was to meet with Americans in China who needed a touch of home and while touring areas of China possibly spend some time in prayer.  However, our church didn't think they had enough interest in the idea and was thinking of canceling the trip.  I went home and prayed.  I felt that it was clear God was asking me to go on this trip not only to a foreign country but a foreign world.  I went out to tell my roommate (and now best friend) who came out to tell me she was planning to go on the China trip.  Let me make it clear--proselyting in China is illegal--we were there as tourists visiting friends of our Building.

I went, and I feel in love with China.  I loved the sights, the sounds, the crazy business of the city, the beauty of the country side, even the dirt and the smells.  Most of all I fell in love with the food and the people.  The friends we were visiting taught English at different colleges.  They introduced us to college students who were majoring in English so we were actually able to talk to these remarkable people.  Yes, I know I'm the obnoxious westerner that expected people to speak English in their own country, but really these lovely people wanted to practice their English.  The ones I talked to explained that learning English would give them better opportunities for jobs.  They laughed that I was also an English major in my college, but clearly it meant something different to me.  One person suggested I read the book called "Red Mansion."  I have been searching for it since then and recently found out that the English translation is "The Dream of the Red Chamber" and I can now buy it on Amazon.

I spent two weeks traveling and meeting new people hearing their misconceptions--Americans are all Christians, we all live with our boyfriends, and I must know Bill Gates since I live near him.  Two weeks being astounded by things I never contemplated like a 4 day train ride to get to college (I flew back and forth), a mandatory time of service in the army (my brother enlisted in the Navy), 8 girls in one dorm room (I had a suite with 6 girls and 5 bedrooms).  But most of all listening to their hopes and dreams and realizing how very similar they were to mine--who will I marry, how do I please my parents, what will I do after college, will I have children, etc. and two weeks of feeling more loved and accepted than I remember feeling since.  I know that sounds crazy, after all I was the minority, I looked different and I had no clue what was being said around me, and I had a real trouble getting people to understand the few Chinese words I had learned.  Perhaps my personality just really enjoyed the attention I received for being American--that is probably why they were so friendly and kind to me--though I've never enjoyed being in the spotlight before.  Or perhaps I had no choice but to love a country where the food was so yummy yet inexpensive (we spent $12 US to feed all 12 of us on the most fabulous feast) and where I could bargain down anything I wanted to buy--I love, love a good deal.

Whatever the reason, I came home and told my then boyfriend, soon fiance, soon husband that if he wanted to keep dating me he'd better be open to the idea of going to China because I was going back someday.  While we were engaged we even took a course in Mandarin at the local community college, and unfortunately learned we were both tone deaf--which I should have known since everyone laughed at my limited attempts at Chinese in China.  I haven't given up the idea that someday I'll know a little more Mandarin, but I have put it off for now.  Nothing is impossible with God :)

So that's why China.  Click here for the answer to "Why Now?"  or more accurately "Why 5 years ago?"


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