Thursday, May 15, 2008

What they really mean

It has amazed me over the last 3 waiting years the kinds of questions and comments we get regarding our growing family. I will attempt to translate or comment on the most popular ones:

"Wow, you are brave!" Don't let this one fool you. The translation is "Are you insane?!" This is one of my favorites and I laugh on the inside knowing what they are REALLY thinking when they say that.

"It's a great thing you are doing for these children." I know that it's meant well. I can even see their point a bit that in their eyes we are bringing them to America (which in American view is the greatest country ever) and giving them opportunities they may not receive if they were to stay where they are. To some extent that is true. In the big picture it is totally US who are blessed with these new family members. They are the gift to us. Many adopting parents I've heard also insist that it is not the other way around (meant in all humbleness and some truth) but shouldn't we be a gift to them as well? Yes, I think as parents we should also be a gift to our children. My parents sure are a gift to me. So, while this statement has a hint of truth to it (as controversial as that comment may be) I also believe it comes from a place that is simply from not understanding (and how could we expect them to?) and in my experience the person saying it is ALWAYS saying it with the best of intentions.

"How many kids do you have?" I'll admit that I'm never quite sure how to answer this question. Do you mean how many children with me at the moment? 3 How many children we are legally parents to? 6 Or how many including the ones we have committed to adopt as well? 8. Take your pick! ;) This question always leads to a conversation. Sometimes I'm in the mood to expand on my answer, and sometimes I'm just not.

When I'm not in the mood to expand on that question I simply say "8" and have often received the response of "Are they all yours?" At first I was confused by this question. Are they all mine? Why would I say I have 8 children if they are not "mine"? Since I wasn't in the mood for a discussion I did not mention that some of the children are added to our family through adoption. One day someone said that to me and then followed it with "Is it a yours, mine, and ours situation?" Ding... I finally got it! When I keep the answer that simple people make the assumption that my husband had a few with someone else, I had a few with someone else, and we had some together. I don't know why it took me so long to figure this one out! I thought it was pretty funny!!

"Any news on your children?" When I realized that the translation of this statement is "I want you to know that I really care and am excited with you for some news." How could you not be grateful for that kind of kindness? So, bring it on. Ask that question. And thank you so much for caring about our family!

"Why would you adopt from another country when there are so many children who need homes here?" Fortunately for me this is so simple for us to answer. We were not looking to adopt at all when God dropped Lovenie right into our lives and he has continued to reveal His plan to us of adding more children from Haiti to our family. We did not choose it but we did gladly accept the gift. It was not a matter of choosing NOT to adopt from the US or go somewhere else. If we were given the opportunity to choose I don't think I would have chosen the route of a US adoption for many reasons I won't get into. However, I am always so very excited when a child from America, Haiti, or anywhere else, that needs a family finally finds one. It's really a beautiful thing regardless of country.

"Oh, you are getting your kids the easy way!" This is a comment that will likely make any adopting mother want to hurt you. ;) Please just avoid it all together. Okay, I mean that mostly playfully. I've had the privilege of having 3 children through my own pregnancies. My pregnancies were so difficult that I jokingly told my husband that if he ever saw a positive pregnancy test on the counter he could go ahead and consider it my suicide note. No need to look for me, I've already jumped off the nearest tall bridge. Despite how tough I thought pregnancy to be.... I can say without any doubt at all that adoption is most definitely NOT the easy way.

I'm sure there are many many more that I'm not thinking of at the moment and I'm sure we have much more to come when our children are home and people are trying to "figure us out". What I am happy to say is that people really do seem to say things to us with all the best of intentions. I also usually welcome these questions as it offers an opportunity for an open dialog about adoption. When our children are home and by our side I may be more sensitive for their sake on how I answer the prying questions but for now they really don't bother me. (Most of the time)


The Haiti Lady said...

All very true. I TRY to remind others that thses questions are not asked out of meaness, just ignorance....take it as a time to teach...the person asking may be interested in adoption, Haiti etc and we are the newest Ambassadors wether we want it or not! ;-P
Love ya,

Angelasparent said...

Great insight Sweetie. I really appreciate all that God is doing in and through you and Jim and the boys. Love you, Dad

Amanda said...

:~) Your posts make me smile. You have such a sweet spirit!

Do you know when you're going to Haiti? This summer perhaps? I'd love to have a referral by my birthday (Mid July)