The comments in yesterday’s post turned into a discussion about fundraising, and I’d like to repeat this once again, as food for thought. I first posted this in 2006:
I’ve spoken with an adult Korean adoptee who discovered somewhere around 11 years old that the church had a big fundraiser in order to help her parents with adoption fees. She felt like she was a community charity case and was mortified. She didn’t want to go to church anymore, started doing bad in school, etc. It wasn’t until she tried to commit suicide that her parents realized there was a problem and got her some help. She is an adult now and is well adjusted and has worked through all of it. But she still advises parents against doing this. She always felt good about her adoption until this one piece of history made its way to her and then everything spiraled downward. She says it is not right for a child to think that they are a community charity case.
Another adult adoptee that I have not met but whom I have read also speaks out against this. She also found out at some point that her parents’ church had done the “fundraiser to save the orphan” thing and she felt that she owed the entire community something. She felt she had to make straight A’s, had to do good in all of her extracurricular activities, had to be perfect, because everyone in the community had “saved” her and she somehow owed it to them. This young lady has not quite worked through all of her anger around this, but I still believe that her feelings are quite valid. It’s how she felt as a young teen and I would never want either of my children to feel this way.
I don’t know any other way to try to explain that these are human beings who will have to live with the consequences of our actions once they are home. They aren’t asking to be adopted, we should not expect them to be grateful to us for adopting them. If you haven’t read Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew then I would recommend that you do. While I don’t 100% agree with the book, I think that it helps give people the perspective of the child, instead of only seeing things from the perspective of an AP.