My oldest daughter has two adoption shirts. One has a definition of adoption on it that says something like "loved and adored by both my families." The other says simply, "Worth the Wait."
It's obvious we're an adoptive family---pink parents, brown babies. But I wonder if putting shirts like this on my toddler is beneficial or detrimental, and if yes to either, to whom is it beneficial or detrimental?
Is stamping a big fat "ADOPTION" sign on my child going to make her stand out more? I think yes---but is it good or bad? I feel like transracial adoptive families, by default, are adoption educators (good or bad, well, that's up to them). So perhaps a t-shirt like this encourages people to approach us, ask a question, which leads them to a better understanding of adoption. But is it fair to stamp an essential "ask me about adoption" stamp on my toddler? Shouldn't she just be able to be normal? Well as normal as adoption is (which it totally isn't "normal"---and I don't mean that to put down adoptive families, our family included---but adoption is just this complex, bizarre, complicated, intricate thing...).
Upon receiving these shirts, I was so excited. Finally, something that fits our family! Shirts with messages stamped across the front are quite popular (my college students wear them all the time) and powerful.
I remember reading an article during the 2000 election about parents putting political onesies on their infants. Some argued that it's the parent's right to dress his or her child as he or she chooses. Others argued that it's ridiculous to put a political message, one that obviously the child couldn't grasp, across the child's chest.
I want my child to be proud of her adoption. She has two families---one by birth, one by adoption---both of which love her dearly. She was worth the wait (14 months of wondering if we'd ever be parents, to whom, under what circumstances, what possibilities, etc.). But does the world need to know that all the time, via a t-shirt, placed on my child?
I don't know.