You know how the saying about assuming goes….
Over time I have found the creation of family to be a precarious thing. For some, the almost fairytale scenario of marriage, giving birth to children and expanding the family ranks seems, well easy. Yet for others, the road to a larger family is much more challenging. When it became apparent that we would not be having biological children my husband and I turned to adoption. We saved money, went to classes and baby proofed the house long before a child would join us. We had more ups and downs than a wicked roller coaster, but when G. joined us we felt joy, relief and amazement.
We were new adoptive parents…finally!
Interestingly much of the world saw our daughter’s adoption as fodder for conversation. They assumed they were part of the situation. If I hadn’t witnessed some of the comments first hand I would not believe them myself.
“How much did she cost?”
“Where did she come from?”
“Is she yours?”
“What is her story?”
“Thank you for saving her!”
For those of you who know me my sarcastic side wanted to jump out at every turn but most times I opted for education. Yet at each comment or question I wanted to shout “Nobody asks a pregnant woman if she can afford that child or details of conception!”
In today’s Information Age, some details are not for the public and some stories are not mine to tell. I am not advocating for closed adoptions and to go back to it being a taboo subject, but perhaps we all need to look at what is driving us. Is it curiosity? Fear? Hatred? Ignorance?
There is much grace in thinking before you speak.
Children often ask questions about our family. They want to know if those kids are ours and if we all go together. For them, an affirmative answer lets them move on. Perhaps we would all benefit from this mix of curiosity, innocence and acceptance. I try to remember these experiences when I encounter something unknown – instead of assuming.
Here are 10 things to say to new adoptive parents:
1. What a blessing!
2. _________ is so cute/handsome!
3. Do you need anything?
4. How are things going?
5. Isn’t it miraculous?
6. Let me know a good time to come see you all.
7. Make a positive observation about the child ( alert, snuggly etc)
8. What is your favorite part of parenthood so far?
9. Are you getting any sleep yet?
10. I see so much love reflected in your eyes.