Kim Kelley-Wagner found her family when she adopted two girls from China. She brought them home to the United States and set about creating a healthy and happy family life. But she quickly learned that attitudes towards the adoption of foreign children were truly heartbreaking.
“The comments began right from the start,” Kim says. “We would be shopping, and cashiers or store clerks would say things like, ‘How much did she cost?’ or ‘You could have bought a car for what it probably cost to adopt her.’”
“I would answer, ‘Are you interested in adoption?’ If they said no, I’d say, ‘Why are you asking?’ My response made them consider the impact of their words and sometimes they apologised.”
While she herself could stay strong out of her love for the family she created, Kim did become concerned about the affect these comments were having on her daughters. “My advice to them is, leave your offenders speechless,” she says.
Her daughter Liliana is learning how to handle comments herself. A couple recently approached the family and the woman remarked, “I couldn’t love someone I didn’t give birth to,” to which Lily cleverly responded, “Oh, did you give birth to your husband?” before walking away.
“I was proud of her,” Kim said.
Kim decided to ask her girls to write down some of the mean things people have said to them. She was surprised and saddened by just how much they remembered, even from when they were very very young. By sharing these comments online, Kelly-Wagner is hoping more people will stop and think about their attitudes towards foreign adoption and realise that there are no rules when it comes to love and family.
Kim posted the comments made to her daughters on her Facebook page alongside the following statement:
I have tried to explain to my daughters that people do not say these things to be mean, they say them out of ignorance, which is why I am sharing some of them. Words are powerful, they can become tools or weapons, choose to use them wisely. Kim Kelley-Wagner
Some have criticised Kim for drawing attention to hatred, even calling what she’s done a ‘parenting fail‘.
We think it’s amazing. And she’s certainly making the community think.
This post originally appeared on iVillage Australia and has been republished here with full permission.