Before our 5 year-old son came home in July 2010, I devoured blogs about adoption (including this one!), attempting to glean wisdom and encouragement from other families that had been knit together through adoption. I read blogs and articles written by both waiting families and blogs written by adult adoptees and I talked with close friends who were adoptive parents. Since we were adopting an older child with special health needs, our adoption agency required lots of hours of training on issues like attachment and helping children heal from abuse and neglect. I even had a few meetings with doctors in our area.
I’ve been living in Adoption Land a long time. Thirteen years ago we sat in the livingroom of an adoptive family to learn more about adoption. I don’t remember a thing that was said in that meeting. I was too busy being mesmerized by their beautiful toddler from Korea and all I could think about was that someday we might have a little girl like theirs (and 18 months later, we did!).
Sometimes, it seems I still have so much to learn in Adoption Land that I forget I’ve actually learned a lot. Some things were imprinted in my brain so long ago I forget it wasn’t put there by osmosis.
I had the opportunity to pre-screen a TV movie, Change of Plans, that will be airing January 8 on FOX (produced by Family Movie Night with Walmart and P&G). I watched it with Sweet Pea, Rusty and Ladybug and we all felt like rockstars getting to watch the producer’s cut.
Sometimes plans change – tragedy strikes and everything we thought was in store for us is suddenly gone. The movie Change of Plans tells the story of Jason and Sally Danville (Joe Flanigan and Brooke White), a young professional couple with successful careers. Their unencumbered lives are altered when they learn they’ve been named guardians to four children. Sally’s best friend and her husband have died in an accident in Uganda, leaving Jordan, Javier, Kaleb, and Sung Lee orphans. Somehow, two self-centered but kind adults and four children reeling from the death of their parents must come together in an unlikely blend.
As we move closer and closer to finishing our adoption “work” and the word has begun to spread through our “community” about our adoption, I am being—more and more—confronted with conversations that honestly? Make my blood boil! Typically it goes something like this:
“Oh, you guys are adopting? That’s really great, there’s a huge need” (no harm yet, right??)
“I think that’s really awesome, I have just always wanted MY OWN KIDS”.
That phrase? Those 3 words? They stop me in my tracks. They anger me. They hurt my heart… As if, somehow? My path is less REAL than their path??? BUT. While I know how I feel about statements like that, I am also cautious to respond in an abrasive or defensive manner.
I WANT people to ask questions about adoption. I WANT to have the opportunities to speak freely about our family’s heart towards the need, our desire for children and a big-beautiful-even colorful family, and our trust in God to walk with us on our journey…
But, I also NEED to be able to teach others about the harm that statements like that cause…and hopefully do it in a way that is loving and reassuring so that they can still ask questions and learn more, but also recognize that they should NEVER suggest that our families are any less “real”.
Hoping someone out there can help???
I’m guessing you all just might have some thoughts on this one, so let’s hear them.
I often get requests from readers to share their fundraising efforts on my blog. I would love to do that, but honestly, you would all go away and never come back. However, I know how challenging it is to come up with thousands upon thousands of dollars, and many of you are very creative.
This is your opportunity to leave a shameless plug for your blog and your fundraising efforts. Please write a very short description of your fundraiser (one to three sentences), include your blog address or a link to a specific post, and submit it as a comment. I look forward to seeing your brilliant creativity.