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!!!