Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."-- Dr. Seuss
Everything I needed to know or didn't need to know I learned in kindergarten. Like making friends, sharing, ABCs and taking turns. Another part of the kindergarten lesson plan is categorizing. This is learning to separate objects by shapes, color , size or other common attributes. Who remembers placing toys into cubbies according to where they belong? Trucks in one, dolls in another and scissors in yet another. This process does serve a purpose, as organizational skills are helpful living in the adult world, but the young child's mind sees the world much differently.
In their magical world of open minded thinking and imagination, a toy car can carry on a conversation with a Barbie doll or a stack of blocks can transform into a palace fit for a king. Paints will be smeared together on a canvas which appears to the adult eye as a mess, but to the child's as a masterpiece. But then we are taught that everything has its place and a place for everything. This might sound like music to our grownup ears but, when this becomes imprinted into our young brains, we lose something that may be even more essential to use as adults: original thought and thinking "out of the box" or should I say coloring "outside of the lines".
So how does this rant translate into the world of international adoption today?
International adoption can be placed into categories or cubbies too. There is one for special needs, one for babies, one for toddlers, one for older children, and one for siblings.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if a child were randomly chosen for each family? But no, we have been taught to categorize and separate based on given criteria of what is best for us. Those working in international adoption know that these categories don't hold a candle to the beauty and uniqueness of each child. When you spend time in an orphanage you will find a world of wonder. Age, gender or ability becomes blurred by the special gifts that each and every child brings.
For example, why does a child over the age of five have only a five percent chance of being adopted? Because they have been placed in the category that is not as desirable as the younger children. They have a history and may need a little more care to become part of a family. But they are all worthy of love. Let's, for even a moment, forget about the kindergarten cubbies and dump all the items together. Notice how some stand out to you for WHO they are and not for WHERE they belong? Just as parents are different so are all children.
As you consider adoption you need to be honest with yourself about your abilities to parent an older child, siblings or a special needs child, but also please try to open those boxes and view all the children as a treasure in their own way and in a category all of their own. See the children as legendary children's author, Dr Seuss:
"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you ."
And please before you make a decision, one more word of advice from Dr Seuss: "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose."