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st*!$d questions

Saturday, March 24, 2007

In our family we are not allowed to use the word st*!$d. It's hurtful and demeaning and not allowed for ANY reason. But I think I'm allowed to bend the rules when people say things like...

- What happened to their 'real' parents?
- Are they 'real' brothers and sisters?
- How much did you pay for them?
- Don't you wish you could have had your 'own' kids?
- Why didn't you get an American kid?
- Why didn't their 'real' mom keep them?

Why is it that when people find out your kids are adopted they suddenly come down with a big case of the stupids?!
Before we adopted I really didn't think so many normally 'smart' people could be so ignorant! I know, I know, they are really very nice...deep down inside. (very deep) They don't mean to hurt us....they're just naturally curious and don't have a clue as to the pain they are causing. But if they would stop to think for just a minute, they would know better. And while I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and let their comments slide....they still sting.
Thankfully, it's been a long time since I've heard the big daddy...
'Now that you're adopting...of course you'll get pregnant!'
Instead of re-inventing the wheel I thought I would defer to a fellow blogger - David. He was somehow able to sort through all of the hurt, anger and repulsion and came up with a very sensible, emotional and easy to understand explanation of why this comment hurts so much. He summed it up in his blog - I finally figured out why...
Thankfully we don't have to face this one very often...at least not anymore.
When we adopted our oldest son in '99 we heard it all the time! Like somehow the last 10 years of infertility were just an illusion. We had just had a terribly real nightmare and now we would be able to finally have a family the 'right' way. Like adoption was a second-class way to build a family.
We heard it everywhere we went. The doctor's office, in line at the grocery store, at work, at school...just about everywhere.
But there were three groups of people who, thankfully, never felt the need to enlighten us.

  1. Our family. Both sets of grandparents are tremendous and don't treat our kids any differently from the other grandkids. All of them are affectionate, generous and totally in love with each and every one of them...no matter where they came from. And our brothers and their families love them with reckless abandon. In fact, one of my brothers is in the middle of an international adoption. The proof lies in the fact that six of my parents 11 grandchildren are adopted...soon to be eight out of 13!
  2. Our church family. Every church we've been involved with when we brought a child home has given us nothing but amazing love and total support. Truly a gift from God.
  3. Our 'real' friends. They are a blessing. They have opened up their hearts and welcomed the kids home with open arms.
These people realize adoption is an amazing way to build a family. For us it was the only way. It was what God had in mind for us from the beginning of time. Before we were fearfully and wonderfully made, he knew Meshak and I would go to Russia to find Q-Ball, Punky and JacJac. And he planned it so we would start searching for Maddie in Ukraine.
It was his perfect plan. He just used infertility to complete that plan. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Still the words hurt. Even though we no longer WANT to have biological children and we can't imagine why everyone doesn't build their family through adoption...the fact so many people feel the need to ask us these questions makes us feel like they think we are somehow not a 'real' family.
Thankfully God usually gives me a hefty dose of grace every time I cross paths with one of these people. I've never lost my temper and started yelling things like, 'Oh yeah?! Well, your mama is ugly!' ...yet.
But that doesn't stop me from trying to come up with a snappy comeback. I'd love to have an arsenal of smart-aleck zingers to throw back at them. It may not be Christ-like, but I think God will forgive me this one weakness.
Or maybe he will just change me...and give me the grace and humility to accept there really is no perfect answer for stupid questions.

3 salty messages:

adoptedthree March 24, 2007 at 6:59 PM  

You know I personally LOVE questions like this because I can give them so much MORE information then they hoped for and they feel cornered by having asked. I hope they walk away learning a bit more then they ever wanted to know!

Tami March 24, 2007 at 7:10 PM  

THAT is a much better way of handling it...and it's probably a much better attitude. I'll have to give it a try. You're right...I should see this as an opportunity to inform them.

D March 24, 2007 at 8:58 PM  

First...flattered that you linked to my blog...and second...what a great post yourself! I've added you to my bloglines!

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