Comments on Adoption

I can't believe it's time for another post.  I feel like I just can't get ahead of my schedule.  ARGH.

Today, I wanted to blog about something that's been on my mind.  As I may have mentioned before :), I attend the best church around.  We are a very diverse body of believers and we mostly came by that wonderful diversity via adoption.  From a congregation of about 400-500, we have nearly 30 adoptive families...all races and all stages of the process.  It's an absolute wonderful place to be for adoptive families.  That's not to say it's perfect or without it's own issues.  But I digress.

In fact, I'm not sure where I was even going with that except to say how much I love that body of believers.  Ah, yes...so, my close friend Elizabeth, is about to bring home her sweet son from The Congo.  And because she is so stinkin' close to that, and I love her so much, all things adoption have been on my mind. 

One topic that seems to be a hot button for many adoptive families are the comments they get from strangers.  To me, it seems like so very many of the adoptive families I read about (I follow a BUUUUNNCCCHHH of adoption blogs) are pretty seriously offended at some of the looks, stares or comments by not just strangers but also acquaintances or even family members.

So I thought it was time to put myself out there and weigh in on the subject.


Yep, there.  I said it.  They just don't.  Maybe I am naive and give folks the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe I'm just laid back (never been accused of that).  But mostly, I think that I'm more like those people making the comments than I care to admit and so I am just not easily offended.  I used to be curious about adoption too.  And before I "joined the club", I didn't know some of my curiosity could be offensive.

Now, I have had a couple of backhanded comments about adopting internationally as opposed to through the foster system or domestically.  I'm perfectly open to a discussion with anyone about our choice there.  (In case you are wondering, we chose China special needs because God told us to...in the simplest explanation...so take your argument up with Him).  But I don't appreciate, won't tolerate and don't respect ugly comments about our decision, although I'm happy for you to respectfully disagree.

I'm not really talking about that though.  I'm talking about the people in Target or Wal-Mart or the grocery store who stare, or ask if she's from China or ask if she's adopted.  Or even ask some dumb question.  Yes, they ask in front of her, but first of all, she's too young to understand anyway.  Secondly, HELLO SHE'S CHINESE!  It's not going to take her long to figure out she doesn't look like us, so big whoopdeedeoo if someone asks me if she's adopted or from China in front of her.  Kylie's Asian culture should not be a surprise or embarrassment to her or to us.  I really do think people are simply curious.  We already tell her about her adoption story just like we talked to Jenna about how we came to be blessed with her.  Both of our girls will know they are special and desired more than anything from the earliest they can remember. 

I'm lucky to live in an area where seeing inter-racial families is not that unusual anymore.  But if someone asks me a question about adoption or Kylie or the process, then I'm perfectly happy to answer whatever questions they have.  It just doesn't both me.  The way I see it, the more open I am with them, the more educated they are about something I'm passionate about (and so is God) and I never know where down the road my comments might come into play.

And Kylie is cute.  Like.  VERY CUTE (most days) and so she does draw a lot of attention.  And heck, we go everywhere with a black service dog, so we get noticed no matter what.  In fact, just Sunday, we were out eating at a Japanese Steakhouse and on our way out, a lady stopped me to comment on Kylie's hair.  Turns out, sitting right across the room was her 5 year old daughter home from China since 24 months old.  So you just never know.

In the end, even the stupid questions aren't offensive to me.  Now, I might leave them rolling my eyes and repeating the dumb question, but I won't count it offensive.

Life's just too short.  I love my Asian blessing and if my openness to answering your questions could potentially open up your heart to adoption, well,then, ask away!


Kelly said...

You know, I feel the same way. Who knows if one of those curious looks is not someone like ourselves who is praying over the decision to adopt! Our girls could be that little confirmation God is providing for that person that day:)

Like my bio kids, I pray that Kate is a blessing to all she encounters:) Sounds like Kylie is doing just that!!!


Melissa said...

Thanks for your honestly. Being the passionate story teller and story "hearer" I am, I love hearing EVERYONE'S story, especially adoption ones! I'd ask some people more, but I don't want them to get offended. I don't care if they couldn't have babies, I don't care if (fill in the blank), I just want to know the story. Thanks for being so open to share yours!


brook said...

yeah...i chose to be a conspicuous family, so i don't mind most of the comments...i mostly get bent out of shape when they point to my brown kids and i ask if i am babysitting....or the time someone asked if i was going to tell them they were adopted. um...if i wasn't, you just did. lol. i am okay with the more innocent questions, but the ignorant ones in front of my children set me off sometimes. but i will never forget being at the park with my then 3 year old white (although adopted) son and my white self when he said to me, "look mom, that mom is white and her kid is brown!" now....i knew he was making a connection because we had just adopted a baby from guatemala.....but that mom...she had not idea....and whew...was she hot! she snapped back, "her father is Hispanic!" grabbed her daughter and left the park. lol. i figured she probably went home and blogged about a racist toddler and his racist mother who allowed it....so after that, i did learn to let LOTS of comments go because you never know what is going on in their lives to make them say odd things! lol.
Brook :)

Tera said...

I feel much the same way- unless they are saying something offensive about my child. It's a fact that she is Asian, adopted, and different from us. I hope that when they ask questions, we are instilling a love of adoption in them. And we have the exact same answer when people ask us Why China? Because that's what God called us to do! :)

Allison said...

Yes! I agree so much! In fact, now that we have adopted an older child who is old enough to understand the comments from others, I find it gives her confidence in her past! We speak openly at home and frankly with people who ask. I am careful wheni choose my words, but my goal is to educate. Like you, when I was on the "outside" I may have been that person hat said something the wrong way!