Monday, August 22, 2011

Wait...who was the lucky one?

I was thinking the other day about something that people say to adoptive parents that I've never heard them say to parents who've given birth.  Maybe they do say it, but no one said it to me when I gave birth to our daughter and I've never heard it so I'm operating on the principle that no one says it to parents by birth.  But when our son was a baby I heard it often.  Someone would know our story and look at our beautiful baby boy and say "he sure is lucky that you guys adopted him."  Or they would see him do something adorable and comment, "what a lucky baby."  And I'm going to be honest, that phrase still makes me seethe.

It's not that I don't want my son to feel blessed that we're his parents.  I do.  Just like I want our daughter to feel blessed that we're her parents.  Just like every parent wants their children to feel thankful for the sacrifices parents make to give their children a good life.  But this phrase cuts me because it somehow implies that we did our son a favor.  It implies that he was a stray that we took in because we have such good hearts.  It goes back to an issue that so many adoptees struggle with--the feeling that they were castoff, that somehow there was something so wrong with them that their birthparents rejected them at birth.  I know it's not true.  I know the love that went into the sacrifice my son's birthparents made when they decided not to parent him themselves.  But the truth is that there is a loss at the heart of every adoption that needs to be dealt with.  And I don't like how our society turns that loss of the adoptee's first relationship into something that makes him "lucky" because now he's with us.  

The reality is that if we hadn't adopted our son, someone else would have.  We didn't save him from an orphanage or death.  It's even possible that he could have been adopted by a family with way more money than we have.  In 1995, the year of our son's birth, there were 100,000 women in the US who had applied to adopt.  According to the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth there are an estimated 3.3 adoption seekers for every actual adoption.  We truly didn't rescue him.  

Truth be told, we felt like the lucky ones.  The day his birthparents selected our profile out of all the waiting families  at our agency was better than winning the lottery.  But there's more to it.  We knew then and have had it confirmed over and over that God put our family together.  Our family felt incomplete until we had our second child.  We prayed and prayed for a baby, prayed for a child who would be ours and that's exactly what we got.  He is as much my child as the daughter who shares my genetics and grew in my body.  He continually reminds me of members of my family in both looks and personality.  He also is unique and brings in a richness that wouldn't exist in our family if he wasn't here.  Even 16 years later, I marvel that I've been blessed to have this child in my life.  

I guess my point is, if you know someone who is adopting or has adopted, share their joy.  Rejoice with them and marvel at one of the wonderful ways that families are made.  But keep the "lucky" comments inside.  Thanks.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blogger's Block

Okay, I'm going public and admitting that I'm pretty weird.  To the people who know me well, this isn't much of a revelation.  But I've had a horrible case of blogger's block.  My last blog post was on Valentines 6 months ago.  It's not that in the last 6 months I haven't had anything to say.  I'm a pretty opinionated person.  But every now and then I get hit with something close to shyness.  I feel like blogging will make me completely open and exposed and it feels like too much.  I worry that my opinions will be offensive (which they will be to someone, not everyone will always agree with me), or that people will think that what I'm writing about is stupid (which will also happen), or that my chosen topic wouldn't fit with the whole "learning to follow" theme.  But my husband keeps telling me I'm a gifted writer with a story to tell so I've decided to start blogging again.

But here's my disclaimer:

1. I may offend you.  Not because I want to be offensive, I actually want the opposite of that. But I can't always walk the middle line.  I have opinions and they're not always going to agree with your opinions and that's okay.  Part of what God is working on in me lately is being okay with disagreement as long as everyone is respectful.  One of my strengths is harmony and because I like harmony so much I will sometimes keep quiet just so there's harmony.  God doesn't want me to stay silent on the beliefs and opinions I hold, even if they create some conflict.  I just need to handle the conflict in love.  Pray for my husband as I grow in this because he'll be the one to hear me obsess when this is hard for me.

2.  Not everything I write about is going to be deep or significant.  I may write about the silly or the mundane because that is part of life.  Sometimes things will strike me funny and I may decide that writing is better than not writing even if it doesn't hold some deep eternal significance.  Part of this blogging process is helping me to find my voice or my personal writing style.  If you think what I'm writing about is ridiculous you have my permission to stop reading.

3.  I've decided that everything fits with the theme of my blog because all of life is useful in learning to follow closer to God.  I want to be a 24/7 Christian and so every experience I have is about walking out my faith in the here and now.

So that's my new resolve.  I plan to write more and I'm not entirely sure if anyone is around to read any of this anymore after 6 months of silence, but I'm going to write anyway.