Saturday, February 20, 2010

And You Need To Know Because...?

As an adoptive mother of four beautiful girls and a birth mother of three unruly boys, I am pretty sure I have been asked just about every question and heard every offbeat statement the human mind could possibly muster. These questions and statements have not only come from friends and family but also from complete strangers. Allow me to list my top five favorites and save the rest for my book.

"Where are their real parents?"

I never cease to be amazed by this question. I understand people have a "National Enquirer" curiosity about things but please. As if asking this question itself isn't enough of an invasion of privacy it has been asked in front of my children. I learned early on to forego the right to be offended and instead attempt to educate the offender. I say attempt since it has become obvious through the years that there are those who refuse to be educated. Their loss. My simple answer has become, "You're talking to them!" For those foolish enough to push the question further after that response, I have found a direct, "…and you need to know because...?" usually changes the direction of the conversation. We are not ashamed of our children's birth families however we believe this information is for them to share with whomever they choose if and when they choose.

"Those girls are so lucky you adopted them."

Really? Why? Not one single soul has ever approached us to let us know how lucky our boys are that we birthed them. Believe me, that was no easy task! We adopted the girls for the same reasons we birthed the boys. We are selfish. That's right, selfish. We wanted children to love and care for. We wanted a chance to raise children and maybe make the world a better place because of it. Ok, maybe we also wanted lots of kids so when we are old there will be people around to love and care for us. Like I said, adopted or birthed, it was all selfishness on our part.

"Aren't you afraid there could be something wrong with them?"

The truth is, we were never afraid there might be something wrong with them. We knew there would be. Just like we knew there would be things wrong with our birth children and just like we know there are things wrong with us. No matter how much you know about your genealogy you will never know it all. Life will surprise you. Sometimes with illness. Sometimes with character flaws. Sometimes with biology. Sometimes with environment. But sometimes life will thrill you with what lies beneath the surface. It will amaze you with a child that has a hidden talent you could have never imagined. It will leave you in awe of a child's character trait you could only hope to find in yourself. Who has time to fear when you are watching with wonder as your children become more than you could have dreamed for them?

"I could never adopt. They wouldn't be my blood."

Guess what? Your spouse isn't your blood. Many times neither is your best friend. Sorry to burst your blood bubble but there it is. The truth is, you CHOOSE to love and who to love. Love is not always a feeling or blood-based. Ultimately, love is a choice.

"Don't you worry they will go looking for their birth family?"

No more than I worry I might go looking for mine. I am not adopted but I have a curiosity about who my relatives were and are. I know a lot of them but not all of them. There are times I have sought out the unknown and then there are times I have been content with what I have. As an adult, this is one of the joys and prerogatives of my life. Why would it not be the same for all my children? Just as my family has helped in the search for answers to our families questions, I would count it my privilege to help my children to find their answers if they so choose.

Ok, so I know I am a smart alec. I come by it naturally I suppose so blame it on my birth parents. Anyway, one of my reasons for sharing our adoption stories this past week was with the hope that maybe, just maybe, someone reading this blog would have an “AHA” moment. Every person is different and called to follow their own path. But what if even one person reading this last week suddenly saw their path open up? A path that would change their life forever. A path that would lead them straight to the heart of a child through foster parenting or adoption or being a mentor or... What if…?


Lily Robinson said...

Bravo! I do hope that more than one heart will be opened to the life of a child looking for a permanent home.

I've never understood that blood thing. I have blood relatives that I don't even like! I hear people say that about my grandchildren. Hubby and I met later in life. I had my daughter, he had his son and daughter. My daughter had four girls. They are OUR grandchildren. Yep, his too! I wish his family would get that! Now that his son is a father, they continually ask him how it feels to finally be a grandpa... Hello... Our oldest grand will soon be 16.

Sorry if I offended by saying the girls were lucky to have you. I still believe they are! So many never find that loving home. Many find a home, but not enough love and guidance.

Unless you are a great actor, you seem to be a wonderful person for God to lead to adopt. You are special. God gave you a gift to love in a way that many cannot.

And yes, I believe your sons are lucky, too!

Unknown Mami said...

But your boys are lucky that you birthed them.

Marla said...

Lily ~ You get it!

As for offending me, not even a little, my friend. I am not easily offended but rather seem to usually end up being the offender. Why does that tickle me? I may need more therapy. :-)

I am definately not a great actor although I would like to look like one, get paid like one but not act like one.

As for being special...oh, I am "special" alright. Just ask my kids!

Mami ~ I have their phone numbers ready to email to you. When will you be calling them with this piece of factual information? :-)

Parsley said...

Why is it I want to adopt now? LOL

I don't know if I've been guilty of asking questions like that but surely most are just making 'small talk' and usually, as in my case it's not meant the way it sounds.

It does tickle me that you could have such a quick come-back. I'm not clever on my feet like that. :)

Brian Miller said...

smiles. it is the what ifs that keep me writing...i am glad you shared these and your passion for your children and the adoptions. we are the lucky, where did i put my parents? smiles.

Gucci Mama said...

Bravo. ;)

Ms. Anthropy said...

Ditto the bravo!

Sarah said...

i didn't mean to offend anyone by saying those girls were lucky. knowing how many kids are waiting to be adopted and being brought up by a hateful stepmother were enough for me to make that comment. you are special and i really appreciate the fact that you did what so many couldn't or wouldn't.

Kristin said...

WOW. The nerve of some people. Why do so many people talk without thinking?

Balazs & Leah said...

Once again, thank you Marla! We are already getting these questions even before we have our new one. You gave me some much better responses than I have been giving.
I am always challenged as I see in scripture our relation to the Father as adopted sons. Seriously, as believers how do we have a hard time understanding this concept with adoption here on earth. It is simply living out the relationship with now have with God because of Christ. These passages and my own understanding of them have been so increased because of our journey to adopt. I also think that more believers are called to adopt than are willing to admit if they truly understand the relationship with have with God through adoption.
Just my thoughts. Love you!

Sonya said...

I love your always make me think about things..always in a good way. I have a son who is half hispanic and everyone always wants to know who he belongs to..espically living in the netherlands they are down right rude about asking questions.

Marla said...

Parsley ~ I actually love when people ask questions because then it opens up a door to really communicate about what adoption is and isn't.

I cringe when I think about all the awful things I have said to people. My problem is I think I am funnier than I actually am.

Brian ~ You crack me up!!

Gucci & Ms. Anthropy ~ Thank you both!

Sarah ~ You could never offend me, my friend. Just ignore the thought... and me when necessary.

Kristin ~ I ask myself that question every time I open my big mouth.

Leah ~ I LOVE hearing from you!! So what is happening with your adoption?? Details, details!!

Sonya ~ You should say you have no idea. He just keeps following you home.


LOVE this. As someone who worked very closely with and has loved people with disabilities I know what it is like to be asked questions that range from innocently curious to down right ignorant and rude. As a mother who had a difficult time getting pregnant and considered adoption many times and will also consider it for the future, I love your insights!

kbxmas said...

Really enjoying your posts Marla.

Two Shades of Pink said...

Here is my favorite question that I get...Where did you get her?
My answer? On sale from a Puerto Rican Kmart.
OK. I don't really say that. I love Jesus too much. But I want to. Oh, I really want to. It is kind of offensive. And what they don't know is she was our foster child first and totally American.
Marla, such a lovely, authentic, fabulous post. Like you.

TechnoBabe said...

I say all your children and you parents are lucky, are blessed. I did not have a family like yours and I love to read about family. The real stuff. And you are real. Hugs.

Healing Morning said...

I loved this, Marla! I had no idea that you as parents get hit with such a barrage of absurd questions. I'm not necessarily surprised - people will always open their mouths and come out with the unexpected. I just didn't realize it was a common occurrence. You rebutted the comments beautifully, wrote in glowing detail about the vagaries that life hands ALL us us on a daily basis with children and you made me laugh a few times. I enjoy your writing style - I found you via Writers Rising from your comment on my recent Healing Morning - and I'm now clicking to follow you. Brava, chica!

~ Dawn

MindyBB said...

I love you!

Libbie said...

We LOVE the smartalec in you! And serious...I was pretty shocked by those too! Seriously! Especially the first one! Wow! I really tlike the ...and you need to know why? :) That one made me smile. Okay I am super embarrassed & I just realized I WASN"T following. Shocked myself! :) But I am glad to be of course & I enjoy your friendship....take care Marla!

gayle said...

I look forward to reading more of your posts!! My cousin is adopted and even with his blond hair our family has very seldom even thought about it!! He's my cousin the same as all the others!!

Marla said...

Momsicle ~ Thank you!

kbxmas ~ I really appreciate that

Two Shades ~ Ok, that is just plain funny!! Even Jesus would think so .... I think. :-)

TechnoBabe ~ If I am nothing else, I am real. Thanks for noticing!

Dawn ~ Thank you for coming by. I truly appreciate your comments!

Mindy ~ I know you do. :-P

Libbie ~ You make me laugh! Thank you!!

gayle ~ Exactly!!