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All posts for the month June, 2014

Be Prepared for Opinions

Published June 21, 2014 by megchristo

After having great conversations with two adoption friends this week, I decided I needed to write this.  My biggest hesitation in writing it isn’t  because it’s  honest.  It is because I don’t want to scare anyone away from adoption by being too honest.  I am writing this for all of you in the thick of adoption, those that are thinking about adoption, those that have lived through it, and anyone else who cares.  On this adoption path you will not be surrounded only by loving, supportive people.  You will have a a whole range of people’s thoughts, opinions, and judgements shared with you….solicited and very much unsolicited.  Some of the people you expect and hope to be your biggest fans and support system will not be.  Please be prepared for this.  Please do not take it to heart, but make room in your heart for these people all the same.  It is not about you.  It is about them.  Just because they couldn’t do this, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.  Stay strong, and stay on your path.  Not everyone is meant to adopt in this world, and that is ok.  For those that adoption isn’t in their hearts or in their plans, please be as supportive as you can in the ways that you can.  The fact that your friend or family is adopting isn’t about you.  It’s about them.

In the vein of honesty, I wanted to share a few of the very harsh things that have been said to us during this adoption journey to our beautiful son Bo.  These things have been said by people who were very close to us….not some distant people in our lives.  If this makes one person feel like they are no longer alone and feel strength in their decision, my mission with this post has been served.

1.  With Carsten you had to, now you are choosing it (it being Down syndrome) and we can’t understand that.

My response:  If I have ever led you to believe that Carsten has been anything but a blessing to me and my family, I have led you astray and I apologize.  I thought maybe you have been to enough GiGi’s events, galas, Buddy Walks, and heard my talks on the matter to know exactly how I feel about this.  Not only that.  You know Carsten.  You love Carsten.  If I could choose to do this all again, I would.  I am!  Carsten is the best thing that has ever happened to Matt, our children, and me on so many levels.  Do we have challenges and stress arise?  Yes!  Just like we do with every other child in our family.

2.  We don’t agree with you on adopting another child.

My response:  Funny!  I don’t remember sending out a survey requesting that feedback.  That decision is strictly Matt and mine.  No one should feel like they need to get a public consensus on adding another child to their family.  I also don’t remember sending out feedback cards for people to feel so free to judge me and my family.  I LOVE my family!  I LOVE my life!  I LOVE my husband!  I LOVE all of my wonderful, full of life, beautiful children.  If you don’t want to be around us because YOU can’t handle it, please feel free to exit stage left.  At this point in our lives, MJ and I only want to be around people who embrace us….all of us….for who we are.

3.  You are taking away from your biological children by adopting all of these other children.

My response:  They are ALL my children!  NONE of my children want for much.  They aren’t sacrificing their passions in life because we are a large family.  They do not feel like they are not loved because I have to tuck in, kiss, and sing to 5 kiddos.  My children are great human beings.  They aren’t just caught up in themselves.  They understand how to function and love as a family  They look for people’s strengths and similarities.  They don’t dwell on weaknesses and differences.  They even each get to be involved in one extra curricular activity of their choice.  I think that is plenty, and I am pretty sure they will survive this “deprival.”

4.  We just want life to be as easy as possible for you.

My response:  Ok.  I can appreciate that perspective.  Many people do seek out an easy, simple life.  I am not one of those people.  I never have been, and I never will be.  Please accept me for who I am.  I only have one life to live here.  I never know when it will come to an end, and I want it to be action and love packed.

5.  We don’t think you should work, and have that many children.

My response:  Really?!?!?!  Do I even need to justify this?  This one is beyond me.  So when I had three children, my career was ok.  Now that I have 5 going on 6 it’s not.  Is there some law on this one that I missed?  Hasn’t our society grown beyond this.  Do working moms and stay at home moms still need to justify their choices?  I think not.

6.  Are you really doing this?

My response:  Ummmmmmmm……yes.  For real…..yes.  No question….yes.  Absolutely…..yes.  100%…..yes.  Thanks for asking!

7.  This will be it right!?!?!

My response:  Is this really any of your business?

8.  You know you can say no right?

My response:  How do you spell that word?  Is that a French word?  I am not familiar with it.  Should we continue conversing?  No, I don’t think we should!  Oh look!!!  I do know that word.  Silly me!  That’s the word my kiddos say 20,000 times a day.

9.  You know you can’t save them all?

My response:  By “them all”, you do realize you are talking about human beings right?  You are saying it like they are just some inconsequently nothings.  They are little children hoping and praying for a family.  They want a life.  Instead of saying something so callus, perhaps you should think of ways of helping the orphan crisis.  Once you see it, smell it, and touch it, this comment really sets me on edge.  I don’t understand how we can say such cold hearted things about other people as we live in our world of rich people problems.

10.  Maybe you shouldn’t go on Facebook to see the pictures and stories?

My response:  Oh yes!  There it is!!!  THE answer!!!  Thank you so much!  If I close my eyes and erase my memories, then the problem isn’t there!!!  It won’t weigh on my heart anymore!  I found the golden rule to life.  If you don’t like what you see in society, IGNORE IT!!!  That is totally how we move forward in our society!

On the flip side, a whole new wonderful support system will emerge and embrace you with their kind, sweet, supportive loving words right when you need them.  We have had family, friends, and extended family have been super wonderful.  You know who you are.  I would walk across hot coals for you all because you have been there for us.  We thank you for your support, your prayers, your kind messages, and warm hugs of reassurance.  They help build us up!  Thank you!  We love you!!!

Note to Self……5 Things to Remember as We Approach Adoption Travel

Published June 16, 2014 by megchristo

Bo SmilingIf you have seen me or even talked with me in person the last couple of weeks, you know that I am oozing stress.  It is pouring out of me, and I look like I am barely holding myself together.  I appear like I might snap like a rubber band, and when the band breaks it flies off so far that you are never able to find it again.  Well, confession of an adoptive mother….I am.  There I said it.  Maybe I will actually be able to sleep tonight.  In my quest for slumber and calmness, I thought I would write down a few things that I seem to be forgetting about life, love, and adoption.

1.  An adoptive mother has hormones surging inside of her at three times that of a pregnant woman.  I don’t have medical proof of that statement, but having carried three sons and adopted once previously I feel like I have the experience to stand by that un-researched statement.  I think adoptive mothers are worse than pregnant mothers.  At least when you approach a pregnant mother she has little chance of hiding her tell tale bump and therefore her raging hormones.  Mine just leaps out of my body onto unknowing bystanders.  I feel like I should carry a letter to hand out to my victim that says, “I am sorry.  I am adopting.  I am not getting much sleep these days.” I really am sorry….I think.

2.  My husband is not breathing to annoy me.  These days poor MJ can’t do anything right or fast enough.  Heaven forbid he doesn’t respond to a text that I send him within 30 seconds.  I mean I do send him simple text questions that shouldn’t generate a ton of thought or energy.  How hard is it to remind me of the town you born in for the 100th time?  I have two options really….Harlan or Atlantic.  Every time I second guess which one it is.  Today even Gabe (my 11 year old) was saying, “Mom, it’s Harlan….I am sure.”  The consequences of being wrong are too great!  I can’t trust an 11 year old.  Can someone please hand Gabe an “I am sorry’ card?  At least I can still make jokes about it.  Hopefully after the adoption he’s still around to laugh with me about my crazy.

3.  It gets worse before it gets better.  Add jet lag, rock hard beds in China hotels, interesting food, and other hormonal adoptive moms and our entire society is on the brink of collapse!  Then Gotcha Day comes, and it’s just like the delivery room.  Only this time you are birthing with 10 other families and no epidural.  It is euphoric and amazing and life changing all in one brief morning.  The sights, smells, and sounds of that day are etched into every adoptive mother and father’s memory.  All you have to do is show us a perfect stranger’s “Gotcha Day” video, and you will have us all in tears again…guaranteed!  One suggestion….don’t forget the dum dums for the kiddos.  If my stellar height, big nose, and blonde hair doesn’t win Bo over immediately, I am sure a little strawberry flavored sugar on a stick will!

4.  Embrace China with a passion only suited for mixed crowds.  If Bo has to go potty, let him potty in the corner threw his split pants (I am sure he won’t be in split pants anymore, but I am trying to make a point people!)  If I need to blow my nose, just plug one nostril and farmer blow on the street.  If you need to spit, spit for heaven’s sake!  Lines…..forget about ’em.  Who needs order in a land of 1.3 billion people?  You don’t get this far in life by being polite!  You got to get places!  When you visit the Great Wall of China and the tour guide tells you to turn right for the easy path, consider heavily turning right.  You are jet lagged and 9 months “pregnant”.  No one needs a hero at this point!  Oh…and try turtle soup.  When else can you do that?

5.  It gets better.  It gets much better.  Once you get home, you find a new wonderful normal, and it’s a beautiful thing.  Just get that boy HOME!  And for goodness’ sake get some sleep you raving lunatic!