Q&A: how important are looks?

Question by almost human: how important are looks?
i just read someone talking about looking for children through photo listings. i know that i was “chosen” in a similar manner. from the beginning of the paper work until i arrived, all my parents had were two photos to go on.

i have a hard time grasping this. it seems rather barbaric, from my adoptee perspective. it makes me feel like a commodity, sold in a catalog.

i’d like to hear some convincing arguments for why this is an acceptable or adequate method of choosing who to adopt.

i am trying to form my opinions about creating families and how this is accomplished. i am really not, at this point, comfortable with the validity of the love at first photo sighting argument, nor do i know much about this practice.

whenever i have this euwww ick feeling, i try and understand it before rejecting it out of hand. welcome everyone’s insights
WHY i chose the best answer.

wow. adoption land is so confusing.

because i’m transracial and know how hard that is, i am all for racial matching whenever possible.

however, i also believe adoptive parents should have a higher calling than just wanting a replacement child for the one they couldn’t have and trying to choose a child that looks like they were naturally born.

i agree with monkeykitty’s analysis of why a photo is valuable

i agree with sly’s sadness over the children who get left behind because they aren’t photogenic

i finally chose Erin L’s because i think she had the healthiest, most decent attitude about the place of looks in adoption.

it still feels icky as an adoptee.

my preference for all adoptions (except newborns) would be for people to hang out with kids and get to know them as people prior to adoption. the barbaric part of adoption to me is how it is stranger to stranger, with the photo as possibly the only artifact of humanity.

Best answer:

Answer by Avery Cheyenne due Halloween!!!
I agree with you. If you want a child are looks really that important, same with disabilities? I mean you take your chances when you are pregnant so what is the difference when you adopt? You want a child and it shouldn’t matter. If I couldn’t have my own child then I wouldn’t care what my adopted child looks like or what disabilities they have!! A child is a child you love them for who they are not how they look.

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12 thoughts on “Q&A: how important are looks?”

  1. good job for being open-minded (=
    i personally think its fine to pick a child based on pictures. parenting is a huge responsibility and at the very least they should like there child’s appearance. is that to much to ask for? i don’t think so…
    idk if i got my point across, but i understand where your coming from.

  2. I agree. Where I live they put the pictures of children, lovely, high-quality professional portraits of them, on display in the malls and libraries. I find it disgusting! I am appalled at the thought of some pervert seeing them on display. I hate the idea of the children who are selected knowing they were chosen in this meat-market manner. But, even more so, I hate the idea of the ones who weren’t picked, who weren’t pretty enough, or attractive enough or will forever wonder why they were not good enough and it will be based on a picture…

  3. I think it would be somewhat important. You want to like the way your child looks, maybe they want them to resemble the parents in some way, like hair color.

  4. I think that for some people, it’s not so much the looks themselves, as needing something tangible… something physical to start with, to make the child more real to them. I think the connection starts for some people when the child is an actual person in a photo rather than just an abstract idea, or words on paper. The photo shows a real live human being, who could become your child, not just an idea pulled from thin air. I think for some people, it’s about finding a connection.

    I definitely think this can get icky, and it can get into something too much like catalogue shopping. I’m not saying it’s always a good and positive thing. Looks are a bad, bad reason to choose to bring a child into your home. Compatibility is much more important.

    I just think that for some people who are more visually oriented (I am not personally among those people,) having photos may make it easier to imagine a child in their home, rather than just having this abstract idea of some random child out there. Not arguing for or against it here, just suggesting it as one possible motivation.

  5. “i personally think its fine to pick a child based on pictures. parenting is a huge responsibility and at the very least they should like there child’s appearance.”

    Pregnant women don’t get to choose what their child looks like.

    And no, not all children look very similar to their parents. 😉

  6. I’m going to select my baby based on pictures if I have to adopt. Call me barbaric, but I want a child that looks enough like me that they wont have to explain to everyone why they don’t when they’re older. And yeah, I know. Some people think I’m a pig for that, but you should think about how much easier it is on the kid too if they don’t have to explain to everyone why they dont look like me or my husband

  7. well in regards to adoption some parents would like to choose a child that looks similar to them to make homelife alittle easier..and sometimes its just a childs face that connects you to them…like you see them and your like, oh my god, this is the baby thats meant to be my daughter…

  8. I think it’s important that someone be able to choose their children.Granted they cannot choose their biological children, it is different with adoptive children.When I adopted my daughter, i looked through a photolisting.i wasnt looking for anything in particular.

    i was waiting to see the child that “felt right”.it wouldnt have worked any other way.

    i do think some people do it for looks which i dont agree with but it has to feel right.

    i was adopted and i was chosen from 5 other babies from a photolisting.i dont feel like i was sold in a catalog.i feel special that they chose me when they had a choice of 4 other babies.

  9. For the poster that wrote “I’m going to select my baby based on pictures if I have to adopt”, you need to understand that the children they are talking about on photo-listings are “hard to place” older children, not babies. You would not be able to “pick” a baby from a stack of photos, infact their are far more adoptive parents hoping to adopt domestically then there are expectant women planning to place their child for adoption. The e-mom chooses the adoptive family in domestic adoption and in international adoption a social worker will “match” the baby with a family (except for some special needs adoptions) The adoptive parents don’t get to select whichever baby they feel would “fit-in” appearence-wise with their family.

  10. I totally understand how you feel. The agency in the country we adopted from doesn’t allow pap’s to see a photo until they accept the referral. They get the social, medical history report and accept on that. I will say, having gone through the process, I understand really wanting to know what my child will look like, as I’m sure biological parents do to while they’re waiting. We didn’t accept on a picture, but I felt so much better after seeing the picture and having an image of a specific child in my head, not just because she was beautiful. It was a newborn picture, and she had a cleft lip, so it’s not like it was a gorgeous photo, nor did I expect to really know from it what she would really look like, but I finally had a picture of my child, and I felt much more settled.

    I don’t know how I feel about the photo listings. It’s the only way some children find families because it puts a face to a “special needs” child that people wouldn’t be drawn to from a description of their “problems”, but I would feel weird “picking” a child from a photo listing myself. What’s even more disturbing to me is the international adoption programs where you wait in line to be invited to the country to “pick” your child from a photo book and then meet them. I couldn’t do it, and the children who aren’t found to be the most attractive, or maybe they just didn’t have a great picture, don’t get picked.

  11. It does sound like catalogue shopping doesn’t it?

    We adopted from China and despite what some people in my life thought, they do not send you pictures of a bunch of kids where you get to pick the one you want. There were no options. We were sent her picture and told this is the child that the CCAA chose for you. And personally, I think that’s the way it should be. The CCAA read all of our paperwork and decided that we would be the right parents for Baby Girl.

    As for the “love at first sight photo argument”, hubby and I are prime examples that it does happen. We fell completely in love. We were also in love with the “idea of her” while we were waiting for referral in the first place. The photo just put a real human face onto it. We fell in love for sure. Hard.

  12. Sometimes adoptive families want children of different races or sometimes they want children who look like them so they don’t feel left out.

    Both my brother and sister were adopted and they are both different races than us. But we never saw a picture of either one of them and it makes no difference how they look.

    Don’t let a few dumb people who are so concerned with how a child looks bring you down. For the most part, people don’t base their choice on looks.

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