Friday, September 24, 2010

Conversations I REALLY want...

There are so many conversations that take place surrounding adoption. I think most adoptive moms (especially those who have children that "look" different) would agree that a warm conversation surrounding adoption is always welcome. In addition, even one of "those" conversations often isn't meant out of harm. AND while I write about the crazy conversations, we have positive conversations almost daily with families desiring or curious about adoption.... and not only that, have had NOTHING but positive support from our family and friends. But I am often taken back by the lack of tact or wording that often comes my way. I truly want to believe it isn't what is in their heart... but rather the lack of understanding how to phrase things. So, I thought I would make a list of what is OFTEN said, and what we REALLY want to hear. So... hear it goes... and other adoptive moms... feel free to add to my list! :)

1. "Are all those kids yours?"
*Rephrase (as I often say to my kids...haha) "Wow, your kids are so cute/full of energy/wonderful...pick ANYTHING..." We would rather someone ASSUME they are ALL MINE rather than ASSUME they aren't. This just really puts so much negativity onto the child who is "different." Eventually our kids will figure out "oh... they are asking that because E has brown skin and ours is white." No thanks on making him feel different in a negative way. AND if they "aren't" all mine, I'll just say ... "Actually these 3 are mine and these 2 are my neighbors kids." No harm is done and it really isn't offensive to assume they are mine. If nothing else, the mom who IS ACTUALLY babysitting may just get a little laugh.

2. "Where's his real mom?"
*Rephrase: Well, there is no rephrase. My answer would be "you're looking at her you big..." ok... but really? 1. I'm his REAL mom. If you mean "biological mother", then use that phrasing. BUT 2. Don't ask. Adoptive parents are usually encouraged to protect a story that isn't theirs to begin with. So, if they wanted you to know... you would know. I think it is ok to ask what the childs story is... and the adoptive parent will be prepared with a story that is appropriate for the person asking. AGAIN: NEVER ask this in front of the child or other children!

3. "Are you going to have any more of your own?"
*Rephrase: "Do you think you will have more biological children? Why did you choose to grow your family through adoption?" This phrasing allows for a family to actually share their story and what God has done and is doing in their lives through adoption. However, the first question immediately places the conversation focus on defending the phrasing of "own children" instead of being positively focused on our choices to build our family through adoption.

4. "That's such a wonderful thing you are doing."
* Rephrase: "You are so blessed to have all of your children." What I think is so crazy is that NO ONE EVER says to a pregnant lady or a lady that just had a baby "That's so good of you to do." It just DOESNT MAKE SENSE. To adoptive families, the statement of elevation MAKES NO SENSE. It is NOT something GREAT we are doing. We are growing our families in the way God has called us to... we aren't rescuing... but instead we are the ultimate receivers of the blessing of life. Children are a blessing from the Lord, regardless of how they became a part of a family. What is interesting is that the idea that I "did something great" by adopting our children suggests that they are NOT a blessing.... it's in our language when discussing with others their biological children... but for some reason it just doesn't transfer to adopted children in people's minds. TRANSFER it to your mind. We are nothing... we are not doing a wonderful thing... we are being blessed beyond belief. It's actually kinda selfish. ha.

Those are some of the main statements that I get. Don't feel like you have to tip-toe around me... I'm fairly gracious... but as my children age... I really want to make efforts to educate others on their weight of communication choices. :) And... I'm praying God prepares me for responses that are powerful when E gets to the point that he "gets" what others are saying...
Until then, I'll just gently re-direct, rephrase, and try my best to be filled with grace.


  1. My selfish side really wishes we were neighbors:)

  2. Okay girl, don't hold back next time. ;) I LOVE that you are speaking what all need to hear, b/c we know that if anyone says these things they aren't meaning to hurt anyone, but NEED to know how to approach an adoptive family with these type of inquiries!! Thank you!