Has anyone adopted TW children staying here for the long term?

I changed the title to reflect the topic. Former title was “I’m curious. Just curious.” – 914

I’m an American with a Chinese wife. A year ago we adopted two Taiwanese children. We’re expats here and may stay awhile, as opposed to taking the children to the US right away. Wanted to find out whether anyone else out there is doing the same thing: clearly identifiable foreigner raising local adopted kids in Taiwan for the mid to long term. I’m interested in discussing some of the unique issues that will face this kind of family as the kids get older. Takers?

We are an American family who recently adopted a Taiwanese son. We’re in the US right now finishing up some paperwork related to his immigration and re-adoption, but when we head back to Taipei in the spring we plan to be in Taiwan for the long term (have lived there about 5 years already). I know several other Western families and even a single lady who have Taiwanese or Chinese children and are raising them in Taiwan.

We definitely get a lot of interesting questions and comments on the street as whiteys raising a Taiwanese child. Most people are just curious; a select few have been really ugly. Right now it’s not an issue as our son is young (and doesn’t understand much Chinese), but as he gets older I do worry about the kinds of comments he will overhear from well-meaning and no-so-well-meaning folks. Definitely something to be aware of and discuss as he grows.

Hi AmoyMama, many thanks for the post, and we should meet up when you’re back in Taiwan, perhaps with the other Western families that you mention. (I understand the US immigration process is our next interesting hurdle).

[quote=“AmoyMama”]We are an American family who recently adopted a Taiwanese son. We’re in the US right now finishing up some paperwork related to his immigration and re-adoption, but when we head back to Taipei in the spring we plan to be in Taiwan for the long term (have lived there about 5 years already). I know several other Western families and even a single lady who have Taiwanese or Chinese children and are raising them in Taiwan.

We definitely get a lot of interesting questions and comments on the street as whiteys raising a Taiwanese child. Most people are just curious; a select few have been really ugly. Right now it’s not an issue as our son is young (and doesn’t understand much Chinese), but as he gets older I do worry about the kinds of comments he will overhear from well-meaning and no-so-well-meaning folks. Definitely something to be aware of and discuss as he grows.[/quote]

Hello I’m a British whitey married to a Taiwanese national and we adopted our 4 year old daughter when she was 5 months old. My heart went out to you when I read about the comments you get when you are out and about. When J is with husband on his own no one bats an eyelid, however it’s exactly the opposite when I get around. As a foreigner you get used to people staring or muttering to their friends, young and old, but my daughter gets upset about the stares. it’s not just a quick look is it? It’s rude to stare where I come from! She has been saying for a long time…I don’t like people looking at me…why are they looking at me…I don’t like it. Understandably now sometimes she pulls a face. I feel so sorry for especially because she speaks Chinese. Every day people say…“Is this your child???”…“but she doesn’t look like you?”… I try to confirm infront of her yes! and now get down to her level and hug her. I am worried about it but and would love to meet up with other parents and kids in her situation so she realises she’s not the only one!

Our daughter is not adopted, but I’ve had the same anyway. Although because she looks a little western (browner hair, not black), I don’t get so much of the ‘is this your child?’. But certainly the stares, and the approaches, the touches (urgh) and the comments - the same old repititive comments. “She looks like you”, “She doesn’t look like you”, “Ah, hun-xue [mixed-blood] kids are so cute.” Presume that the comments and stares you get are worse, because your daughter doesn’t look even a little bit foreign?

If anyone could post up how long the adoption process took, from start to finish, I’d be interested.
Are you allowed to request the sex of your adopted child (boy / girl)?

wendily, yeah, we get those comments too. I’ve even gotten a couple of whispered “Did you have a Korean/Japanese/Taiwanese boyfriend?” type questions. And then there are always the “Why didn’t his mother want him/love him/like him?” and “Why would you want to raise someone else’s child?” questions. I cringe when I hear those now, but it would be much harder if our son could understand what was being said (and he will as he gets older). Ugh. I know most people mean no harm, but still.

Nuit, our process took quite awhile, but our experience was not the norm. We adopted through the foster care system and not directly through an agency. We also ran into some issues related to changes in Taiwan’s adoption laws. From the time our son’s birth mother decided to relinquish her rights until the adoption was finalized in Taiwan was about 14 months. It took another 5-6 months to secure a US visa for him (we ran into several snags there as well that were unique to our case). Add in the first few months of fostering, and it was about a 2-year process altogether. Not easy, but worth every bit of it.

We did have the option of requesting a particular gender, although we opted not to.

Off topic but: Is it not possible to change the discourse with your child? If the child is aware that people are just curious and want to ask some questions couldn’t the child deal with it a little better? I am not a parent, so you can take my observances with a pinch of salt, but it seems to me that some of the behaviours of a child are echoes of the behaviours of their parent. I can see my mothers behaviours in me, and in my sisters kids. I am talking about the way we approach social situations in this case, not genetic behaviours. How we deal with people is of course reactionary to the situation, but if personality is constructed isn’t there an element of individual difference at play? If you pass along to your child that this is normal for Taiwan and while not ideal is just an expression of a culture trying to deal with a modern developing world then I would have thought they’d frame it as such. If you indicate that it is annoying and negative won’t you be passing that along too? Again, this is an observance about general behaviour which I imagine could extrapolate to your situation.

Of course, a child’s behavior is a reflection of the parents. I call my boys my little mirrors–they reflect what they’ve picked up from me and my husband, both good and bad.

I don’t make a big deal out of the questions. I have my personal frustrations, but do not transmit them in front of my kids. I’m well aware that my attitudes toward the people and culture in Taiwan will become theirs, and I want them to have a positive attitude toward the community around them. I never, ever indicate that people asking questions is annoying or negative, and I always answer try to answer in kindness. We definitely have talks about how interactions in Taiwan may be different from interactions in our home country, and that that may include asking questions that we might consider rude. They’ve all been taught to respond politely to curiosity and to assume the best about people’s intentions.

At the same time, it’s not okay for a stranger to tell a child that his “real parents” don’t love/want him, or to refer to him as “someone else’s child” in front of him. Those types of comments can be very damaging to an adopted child and his/her sense of belonging/identity, and no child is going to respond happily to that line of questioning. Most people have no ill intent (though some do), but it’s not a healthy conversation for a child. We’re still working out how to respond appropriately, and how we’ll teach our son to respond. Like I said above, he doesn’t understand yet what’s being said–but his brothers do, and someday he will too. For now, I use it as an opportunity to gently educate people and advocate for adoption/abandoned children in Taiwan, but my son may not appreciate being a poster child in the future. Whatever his reaction is, it has validity, and we will work through that together.

Our daughter is not adopted, but I’ve had the same anyway. Although because she looks a little western (browner hair, not black), I don’t get so much of the ‘is this your child?’. But certainly the stares, and the approaches, the touches (urgh) and the comments - the same old repititive comments. “She looks like you”, “She doesn’t look like you”, “Ah, hun-xue [mixed-blood] kids are so cute.” Presume that the comments and stares you get are worse, because your daughter doesn’t look even a little bit foreign?

If anyone could post up how long the adoption process took, from start to finish, I’d be interested.
Are you allowed to request the sex of your adopted child (boy / girl)?[/quote]

Hi Nuit I’m really sorry I can’t help as ours was a private adoption which I understand is no longer allowed. We did have home assessments here though. It about a year.

I think i’d like to join or start if there isn’t one already, a social group for adopters and their children particularly in mix race adoptions. The more I hear about other peoples experiences on this site and beyond the more i think it would be a beneficial thing.

Wendily and others, some fellow adoptive moms just started a Facebook group for adoptive parents of Taiwanese children in Taiwan. You can PM me for more information.