Monday, February 9, 2015

You Are Not Ready to Adopt an Asian Child If...

Recently, I read a refreshingly candid post, You Shouldn't Adopt Black Children If..., which inspired me to write the following...

So, here goes...You are not ready to adopt an Asian child if... 

  • You want a shirt with the above graphic on it.
  • You already own a shirt with the above graphic on it.
  • You would never wear any attire with the above graphic, but you don't understand why it's not a compliment to Asian girls or at least a cute idea.
  • You sincerely believe that all Asians are better at math and science and don’t understand why there’s a problem with such stereotypes.
  • You not only love the film, “The Last Samurai,” but you totally identify with Tom Cruise’s character and secretly wish you could be Tom Cruise’s character--in real life.
  • Of course, you would never say it out loud but you often think to yourself, “Wow, all Asians look the same. I mean, seriously, they really, really do all look the same.”
  • The above thought is followed by, “And I mean, aren’t they all basically the same? I mean, how is China any different from Japan or Korea or all those other Asian countries that I can’t remember the names of…”
  • You think “Miss Saigon” is an inspiring theater production that you wish could be made into a movie so that the daughter you plan to adopt or have adopted could one day star as the main female character.
  • You don’t even know what “Miss Saigon” is.
  • You laud Operation Babylift as an exemplary act of American heroism, charity, and patriotism, and you don’t understand why that kind of thing doesn’t happen more often.
  • You have no idea what Operation Babylift is.
  • You don’t see a problem when stories in the news emerge about missionaries or others trafficking Asian children for the purposes of adoption, because these abandoned children needs homes, right?
  • Because all of these Asian children’s mothers did not want them, right?
  • Because Asian mothers are cold and aloof and calloused and don’t love their children the way White American women do.
  • You think Asian people are being too uptight and sensitive when they are offended or bothered by White people dressing up in Yellowface for Halloween or parties or otherwise.
  • You don't know what Yellowface is but you think it might have something to do with malaria (even though malaria and yellow fever are completely different diseases).
  • You still don’t understand why dressing up as an Asian person isn’t a compliment and still can’t comprehend why it’s offensive or racist because what in the world is cultural appropriation?
  • You use words like “Chink” or “Slant eyes” or other degrading descriptives in the privacy of your home or with other White people when talking about Asian people.
  • You tell jokes about Asian people to get laughs.
  • Or you laugh with the person telling jokes about Asian people.
  • You think of Asian people as being docile and compliant.
  • You have described Asian women as exotic and thought you were giving them a compliment.
  • You have asked an Asian person if she/he knows that other person because that other person is Asian.
  • You think Asian babies are just the cutest and you really want one because they look just like little China dolls and you really, really, really, really want one.
  • Angelina Jolie has an Asian kid so it’s really cool and trendy and altruistic and I want to be cool and trendy and altruistic just like Angelina Jolie.
  • You think America was the hero in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
  • You are surprised inside when you hear an Asian person speaking “perfect English.”
  • You have recently said out loud to an Asian person you have just met, “Wow, your English is really good!”
  • You have recently silently thought to yourself upon meeting an Asian person, “Wow, your English is really good!”
  • You think it’s a good pick-up line or a funny joke to start a conversation with an Asian person with, “Hey, do you know kung-fu?” followed by some weird hand motions that you think mimic kung-fu.
  • You bow when meeting Asian people because either you think it’s funny or because you think it’s appropriate.
  • The closest thing you've ever had to an Asian friend is feeling progressive for liking K-pop, (or well, actually, it was really just that one song by that one guy--what was his name again--Saigon?)
  • You don't know what K-pop is but you think it might be some kind of exotic, ethnic popsicle like King of Pops.
  • You have Yellow Fever.
  • When you read "Yellow Fever," you thought I was talking about malaria again.
  • After reading all of the above, you still don't know what I'm talking about.
  • After reading all of the above, you feel highly offended.
  • After reading all of the above, you still want to adopt an Asian child because all of the above made perfect sense to you and you don't see why any of it is an issue.

Feel free to add to the list in the comments section below…

Although my tone above is pretty snarky, my heart behind it is sincere. And to be completely honest, I would be a liar and a hypocrite if I didn't disclose that, at one point in my life, I thought "Miss Saigon" was an inspiring work of art and I used to laugh at jokes about Asian people, too--to name just a few of the offenses I have committed against Asian people...and I'm frickin' Asian.

But obviously, over time, my views and perspectives have evolved as I've sought to explore my experiences honestly and at times, painfully so, as an Asian woman in America.

So, seriously, folks, if you have stumbled upon this post and are considering adoption or have already adopted and you find yourself feeling awkward or uncomfortable while reading any of the above statements because you identify with them, I’m not trying to make you feel condemned or bad about yourself. I’m just trying to get your attention with the hope that...

You will have the humility and integrity to realize that you’ve got some blind spots that you need to acknowledge and overcome. If you don’t know where to start, start by reading more of the posts here at Lost Daughters. I would also suggest reading the blogs, Harlow’s Monkey and Red Thread Broken.

Because, adopting isn’t anything to start without first educating yourself--and I don’t mean taking some mandatory classes through an adoption agency or watching "The Joy Luck Club." (Not trying to be condescending, just trying to have a sense of humor.) 

An adoption agency isn’t going to tell you what you really need to hear, because they ultimately have an agenda. They want you to adopt a kid through them. The way to educate yourself is by seeking out and listening to adult adoptee voices like mine and those here at Lost Daughter and otherwise--who have lived life as adoptees, who are going to tell you the things that you don't want to hear and that you won’t hear unless you are brave enough and honest enough to listen.


To read more by Mila, click here.