Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rude Adoption Comments

It still shocks me when people, (and when I say people, I'm mainly referring to adults who should know better) make thoughtless comments regarding adoption in front of our son.  Thoughtless comments are not new to us, but Stan is getting older and his awareness is more acute. 

When I was expecting Clementine, I knew that we would be hit with questions and comments regarding our son.  I fretted in my heart how I would handle it.   Through grace, I realized that keeping to my belief of what Stan hears as my responses to rude and thoughtless comments is the most important thing.  And if I can always come up with a response modeled after that belief, I shouldn't go wrong, right?

In addition to that, I have found that God's guidance helps me make it through these sticky situations.  When the question or comment comes, (the same one these days), I quickly say a very short prayer that God will place on my lips what needs to be heard.  And He has not let me down.

Stan was around the other night when a woman looked at Stan and then asked, "So the rest of your children are all girls?"

I replied, "Yes."  (I knew it was coming.)

This woman has three daughters of her own, all young ones.  As she was looking at Stan and standing four feet away from him, she laughed and said, "Yeah, I told my husband if he wants a boy, he's going to have to adopt. Ha. Ha. Ha." 

Hmmm...

That rubbed me the wrong way.

Maybe it rubbed me wrong because of the questioning look that appeared on Stan the man's face. 

Taking a deep breath and saying a quick prayer I calmly exhaled and told her the following:

"I happen to have as many children in Heaven as I have on earth and Stan happens to be very special gift from God."  I looked down and smiled a big smile at Stan who seemed to think that was cool, (being the gift from God), and told him that he could have his ice cream sandwich before all the girls did.

I did hear her say that she was sorry to hear my history.  Which I appreciated.  But what would mean more to me is if she learned from this. 

Pictures aren't what they always appear to be.  And why, after looking at my family picture, do people automatically assume that we adopted to get a son?  Why not look at us and think, wow! I know they are pro life.  I grow defensive on that because it reduces my son to a commodity instead of a priceless human being.  And since Clementine's birth, we endure that assumption even more.

I would really love to tell them that we signed a form stating we will not turn down a referral based on gender.  I would also love to give our experience about being called to adopt when we were engaged and discussing our future family plans.  But is it really any of their business?  Would it even matter?  I think giving direct responses like the one I gave the other night hits home harder. 

An amazing comment to hear would be, "You are so blessed to have the chance to be Stan's parents!"  Most of our extended family knows it and our closest friends know it.  They get it.  It's the others that you hope will learn from those encounters and draw a more pro life picture of my family, a more pro life picture of others.  Maybe next time around, that woman will look at a family who adopted and will think differently before she comments.

I realize that we are mere mortals who make mistakes.  We all have made unintentional comments in the past that may have hurt someone.  Learning from those experiences is what brings wisdom. 

To finalize my personal thoughts, parents who choose to adopt a specific gender are not doing anything wrong, as long as LOVE is the main motive behind the adoption.  I want people to know that our son was adopted out of love.  Only love.  And the fact that he was a boy, well?  That was just icing on the cake!

~  Patty  ~

9 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry that you and Stan had endure that thoughtless comment! I know people are not trying to be mean-spirited, but the comments hurt none the less. You are right that the most important thing we can do is to be positive in front of our children, so that they know adoption is nothing to be embarrassed about - we are proud this is the way our family was formed! In the past I've had people say "well I had my kids the hard way {biologically}" I always thought that was from people who just didn't understand the process, but then I had another adoptive mom say she had "x amount of kids by adoption, and x amount of kids the hard way"......it just completely threw me. Although all of our adoptions were fairly straight forward, I would never call it easy!!

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    1. The "hard way"?!?! What the hell does that mean? As a parent to both biological and adopted I don't know why that person said that.

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  2. Oh Patty, I can't tell you how many times people made thoughtless remarks to Dad and I. And, I call them "thoughtless" because that's what they were.......they didn't put any thought into what they were saying. Here's an example......."What? Another baby on the way?? Your husbands a pharmacist, doesn't he know any better?" And, another, " You must be Catholics!" To that I replied, "Yes, and we practice rhythm, that's why we are called parents." Never bothered us though.
    Keep the faith!

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  3. Oh I'm so sorry! Seriously, where do people come up with this stuff? Ugh! Great response!

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  4. Thank you so much for writing about your feelings! We adopted a sibling group six years ago, then ages 6, 4, & 2. We were first time parents and completely overwhelmed by our new family, but now of course I can't imagine life any other way! My children happen to look like my husband and me, but I'm still amazed by people's comments. Just the other day we ran into someone we hadn't seen in a while, and she remarked, "They look as though they could be yours." It took everything in me not to respond, "UHM, they are MINE, thank you very much!" in a rather snotty tone. But as you said, the kids follow our examples, and that is so important! Thank you again for putting your feelings down!

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    1. Thanks for commenting. I wasn't sure if I was too emotional or not but definitely felt the need to vent :) I've been asked before if Stan was ours-ours. ?? I'd say, pointing to the girls, that they were homegrown and Stan was a transplant but they are all mine :) God bless you and your beautiful family!

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  5. So sad when people don't get it. But it sounds like God is equipping you with the right words.

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  6. Great post that would be nice to post in the local newspaper! Your love and faith shine through, my friend...Wouldn't it be nice if we were drowning in the positive and not the negative? I'd be willing to bet that you have tons of faithful admirers that think those things that you'd like to hear but just never say them. This is a good thing for all of us to remember...give positive feedback and show love!

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  7. People can be so incredibly rude; why do they think that just because a child isn't at eye level, they don't hear/understand what's being said??

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