October 24, 2012

That post where I offend lovers of the term "orphans"

I hate the word "orphan".
I just hate it.

I can't help but notice how it's been used in the past few years to evoke an emotional response and cause people to MOVE on behalf of children... but I am just DONE with the word.
I'm done with t-shirts and posters and special awareness days using the word "orphan".

Here's the thing, folks...
I've noticed that the people who are pushing these orphan souvenirs (t-shirts especially) are adoptive parents themselves for the most part. Let me get this straight. You go out in public, WITH your adopted child, wearing an "orphan" t-shirt?? Why?? So you leave no doubt in anyone's mind that your child is adopted? So that they look at you like the local orphan-guru, know-it-all, expert-on-all-things-adoption? So that you look better than anyone else?
Yes, we've adopted children. And you know what??
They aren't orphans anymore.
They are my children. MINE.
They have a family.
They have a Mommy and a Daddy.
They are cared for and provided for and most importantly - - they are NOT my ministry. 
They are my children.
They are not YOUR ministry either.

So, we won't be standing under any "orphan" banners in a few Sundays proclaiming the "good thing" we've done.
We won't be showing our former-orphan children off in front of the church and talking about all the kids who we didn't choose who are still waiting.
This is personal.
Their former-orphan status is personal.
They are real children with real stories!!

Shame on us for pimping our our children to further the local orphan ministry.

And what of our biological children?
Are they somehow less important since they've never lost their parents?
Are they somehow less special?
Maybe we need a shirt that says "7 Billion people on Earth. I am one of them." just to seal the deal.
It's like a world of Sneeches. We could get stars tattooed on our foreheads and have a universal code letting people know how many kids we have and how they came to us - just so everyone knows we've survived both forms of family enlargement.

Does this not seem self-serving to anyone else?
I understand wanting to advocate for children with no family of their own... but there HAS to be a way to do this without all of us adoptive mothers (and fathers) looking like a bunch of pride-filled, orphan divas.

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