You’re not in Kansas anymore

May 17, 2014 adopting SN: the process, adoption realities, birthmark, Chinese Culture, hemangioma, Kayla 3 Comments

I’ve told the editors of this blog that I am running out of things to write about regarding the special need that Jubilee (that’s my daughter) has. It simply doesn’t matter to us any more that she has a skin deformity on her torso. It will matter to her one day, no doubt, but we haven’t reached that day yet, and so maybe this is just the eye of the storm.

But even so, I’ve asked the editors to leave me in the writing rotation because I care so deeply about China special needs adoptions. I want to help in any way I can.

One way that I can help, perhaps, is to offer a unique perspective. My family has lived here in China for the past six years. That’s something not everybody can say. And because we have lived here for the past six years, I might be able to offer a word of advice to those of you who are going to be adopting from China in the near future.

Here is what I would tell you: You’re not in Kansas anymore.

Because Americans and Chinese value such different things, we offend each other all the time. We think our ways are best, and they think their ways are best. Wars have been fought over this very thing. It’s dangerous to expect folks from another culture to be like you, think like you, and run adoption programs like you would. China is likely to frustrate the dickens out of you, but it doesn’t have to! Expect to be surprised – by the physical condition of your child, the money, the lack of punctuality, the lack of efficiency, and the utter confusion. Expect filthy bathrooms, diarrhea, and flippant traffic laws. Expect to find spit wads on the handrails, bloody swabs on the floor of the health clinic, and people walking backward in the park (it helps with circulation, don’t you know?)

Don’t expect China to be America, and you won’t be so rattled when China ends up being…well…China. Trust me, if they could come to America for a few weeks, they would be equally as appalled, by totally different things, of course. You can’t imagine it, but it’s true.

The point isn’t for you to love China. Nor is the point for you to love your Chinese adoption experience. The point is a little child to love. The sooner we can get over our differences, the better, don’t you think?

Maybe I’ll see you soon!


3 responses to “You’re not in Kansas anymore”

  1. Emily says:

    AMEN! I fell in love with China when we came to get our son, but its gross. heehee.

  2. Yes, I love this and completely agree. I get so sad at the comments about China both while in China and back at home. It’s a hard and magical place. As you say, it’s China. Please, please keep telling us about China. So glad you are writing.

  3. Nicole says:

    Funny, I was recently telling some friends about our trips to China and all of the differences that many Americans would find gross. I listed many different things … and then I told them how much I loved it. I absolutely love China, every bit of it. It feels like a second home to me and I am so thankful that (almost) 2 of our children were born there!

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