The journey may not always be smooth, the path may not always be clear, but in every moment there is a memory waiting to be made. What we make of these moments is up to us.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Maybe it isn't what you meant, but....

Lately I have been coming into contact with a lot of people who are working towards an adoption or have recently adopted. It is amazing how this one thing in common so quickly bonds people together. I think it is because we have all been in similar situations and can all clearly relate to what the other is going or has gone through.

Before I go any further in this post, I want to say that Drew and I are SO blessed with amazing family and friends. Without their unwaivering support, we never would have been able to make it through our first adoption journey with any sanity left. They were there for all the Ups (the call saying we were matched, the baby shower, Ian's birth, and bringing Ian home), all the Downs (the weekend we thought that Ian's birthmother changed her mind, the delays in getting us home after Ian was discharged from the hospital, the hold ups in our initial paperwork), and all the waiting. They listened to us cry, yell, laugh, and probably sound out of our minds. Even though they couldn't 100% relate to what we were going through, they could see it was hard on us and they did everything in their power to make the journey as easy as possible. They welcomed our son into their lives with open arms, tears of joy, and accepted him for exactly what he is: our son, regardless of what DNA says.

When you are adopting, it is amazing the amount of input you get from everyone who finds out. Most of the time it is extremely supportive. In fact, we often ended up embarassed because people would tell us how amazingly unselfish they thought we were for adopting. The truth is that we never went into this for praise. We went down this path to find the child God intended for us. Yet all too often, we found people making statements with either the best laid intentions or with sheer curiousity that would hurt us. I never for one second believe that any of these people intended their statements the way they were taken. Our nerves were already raw, our hearts were on our sleeves, and our stress level awas through the roof. We took everything personally. I am not saying that that was ok on our part or saying that people should have walked on eggshells around us. Now that the stressful part of the situation is behind us, I can look back and see what people meant at the time. So, I thought it would be interesting for other adoptive families and people who are interacting with them to see what these statements where and what we hard vs. what was meant.

What was said: You're adopting? You decided you don't want to have any on your own?
What I heard: So, you want to be totally selfish and have a cute baby without having to go through any of the hassle of labor?
What I think of it now: I am sure it is an innocent question. However as someone who has battled and continues to battle fertility issues, it is like a dagger in the heart. I want nothing more to be pregnant. We tried (and continue to try) to have children biologically. This may not be the plan God had for us at that time or ever. He directed us to OUR son through adoption. If in the future we have children biologically, we will be equally as thrilled to hold them as the first time we held Ian. You can never know what is going on in someone's life. To assume that they don't WANT to have children biologically can be very hurtful to people who CAN'T.

What was said: Are you sure you want to raise a child someone else had? What if something is wrong?
What I heard: How can you love a child you don't know is perfect?
What I think of it now: First of all, every child is perfect to their parents. Ian could have been purple with lime green spots and I would have loved him just the same. He is my child. To me procreation is Russian Roulette. You can have two completely healthy parents and have a disabled child. And I have an issue with that being considered a bad thing. We told Katie (Ian's Birthmother) from day one that we were adopting him no matter what. If he had a birth defect or other issue, we would still be in 100%.

If someone came and told me they were pregnant, I would never say, "Are you sure that's a good idea? I mean, what if he is born with a problem? Your family has a history of " No way would you ever hear that! So, why would that be ok to say to an adoptive couple.

What was said: Now that you have Ian the pressure is off. I am sure you will be able to have your own kids now?
What I heard was: Now that you got Ian as a bandaid to the problem, I am sure that you can get right on having kids that share your DNA.
What I think of it now: This one is two fold. Sure, there is less pressure. We wanted a child so badly that it was something always lingering in our minds. Now that we have Ian our lives are so much fuller. However we want more kids down the line, so there is still a lingering thought in our heads. But that thought isn't what caused the issue in the first place. Having Ian didn't magically fix the fertility issues that we struggle with. This is going to be a battle we fight everytime we decide to have another child.
The 2nd part of that is that saying we could have kids of our own implies that Ian isn't really our child. Ian is 100% our child. He is our first born and the love of my life. I would move heaven and earth to protect him. I can't imaging having a better son or a stronger connection to him. No matter how many children we have (adopted or biological) Ian is always going to be my son. I don't need papers from the state, related DNA, or even similar looks to tell me that he is mine. I feel it in every part of my heart.

Those were the top three things that made us cringe. Again, I know that the strangers that asked them asked with honest intentions. Yet, they were some of the most hurtful things I heard (and continue to hear). Again, don't walk on eggshells around people who are adopting. The one thing that all adoptive families want is support. In our own way, we are expecting a child. The paperwork, waiting, and matching time are like pregnency, labor, and delivery to us. We are excited and nervous, just like most expectant parents. We want you to share those feelings with us. All the other comments and concerns can wait until another time.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure some of his poopy diapers are purple with lime green spots!! LOL...