This is not a nasty post. It is a post about the passions of an adoptive Mother and the myths and words that drive me a little nuts. If you are a friend, acquaintance, or family who have said one of the following words/statements...please, don't take the following personally. Also, I don't remember. Honestly, I don't remember who has said this to me. Most of the time these things are said by strangers...making it just that much more annoying. Seriously, why do strangers think it is ok to ask some of the questions they ask and say some of the things they say? Seriously. Like, why is it ok, while we are having a family day at the Art Hop to stop me and ask me about my daughter's health issues when she came home. Seriously?
#1. Heard way too often, "Awww, what you did...adopting...is amazing." Mezmur was not rescued. We did not ride into Ethiopia and rescue our daughter from the dragons of Ethiopia. She is the blessing upon us. When we were hitting our low of not being able to get pregnant again it was adoption that rescued us. I remember our very first conversation about adoption..."I think we should adopt now." We had planned to adopt, so the transition was an easy one. Ethiopia was the obvious choice for us too. We were always drawn to Africa. We knew one day we would adopt and it would be from Africa. We also knew personally of someone who had adopted a sweet girl from Ethiopia (Hello Figlette!). As soon as we did a little research we knew our second child would be from Ethiopia. Ethiopia, home of 5,000,000 orphans. So, no it isn't us who did the amazing thing. Truthfully, it was Mezmur's Enat (Mother in Amharic). The woman who knew that if she could make that gut wrenching choice, her daughter could find life. The daughter who would become our blessing.
#2. Often heard, "Will you try again for another one of your own?" Mezmur is "our own." We have one biological and one adopted, but two that are our own. I know this is a tough one for others. I understand the thought of...born from you = your own. I even have slipped and said, "their own." (I was very disturbed by this slip...I must say.) I cringe every time someone asks me this. (Strangers! Seriously?) How do I respond? Why, because we have adopted, is it ok for so many people to ask us if I plan on getting pregnant with "one of our own?" No one ever asked me at the grocery store when I was with Rhett, before Mezmur was home, if I plan on having another "one of our own."
#3. Ugh..."Ha, now you will get pregnant easy since you have adopted...(followed by laughter)." This is just one more uncomfortable thing people tell someone who has adopted. Again, this is a tough one...the myth that you will get pregnant easily after adoption. Did you know this was a myth? A woman is just as likely to get pregnant whether they have adopted or not. Why is this annoying to an adoptive Mother? Well, we chose to adopt. Getting pregnant would be a blessing, but adoption was not our second choice. It was our first choice. Yes, we tried to get pregnant before we chose to adopt, but this doesn't make it our second choice. Our "first choice" was having another child...by any means. Adoption happened to be the way our second child came to us. Adoption wasn't a choice to assure a quick pregnancy for us...like the myth states.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm not uptight. I take most things people say with a grain of salt, but when strangers approach me in the grocery store with some of these statements it takes all I have not to go a little nuts. So, thanks once again, for the venue where I could vent a little...I feel better.
Autumn, this was a great post and I think it's REALLY valuable that you posted it. A LOT of people read your blog, many have adopted and can probably relate, many have never adopted and need to hear it, and many might have odd feelings about adoption (or just be clueless) and they REALLY need to hear it.
I fall into both the first two categories and I can relate with those sentiments. When I tell people Cam and I want to adopt, they say, "But don't you want to have your own?!" and it kills me, partly because of what you said, and partly because "having our own" (in the way they mean it) is proving to be very difficult.
I'm so thankful you posted it. It makes me check myself, that I don't say some of those things to others, even with the best of intentions, and it also made me feel better to know that I'm not the only one who gets whacky things said to me!
I guess I do see people who adopt as heroes because they take great expense and suffering (the waiting game) and put their lives on hold to pour themselves into a child, who yes, in return, pours themselves into you. It was so great and encouraging to hear your perspective on this.
This post made me feel the tears coming on. Adoption is a personal choice and the children that come into a family thru adoption aren't here for the pity party that strangers unknowingly seem to imply. We too have gotten comments similar to yours, as I'm sure so many adoptive families have gotten. I think one of the more painful parts of the comments for me come from the fact that at this time, out precious Bontu doesn't have a clue, but there will be a time when she will fully understand what people are saying. I don't know...this is a hard topic.
I have a friend who adopted a daughter from China. She was in NYC and a doorman said to her daughter, "Wow, did you ever hit the jackpot." Talk about, 'did you just say that?'
Things people say are astounding. I have even said some weird things myself and I wanted to just hide. I wrote a post about what it means to favor biological relatedness versus anything else (except marriage which seems to somehow be very celebrated and sanctified). Eek.
Rhett and Mezmur are so lovely in your sweet family.
I cannot tell you how many people (including family) who have said the "you're sure to get pregnant now" line to me. What the hell??!! how is my fertility open to public discussion/opinion? How do they know whether we ever "tried" or not? Why in the world would we want ANYONE other than Sam?
you are an awesome mom of awesome kids. That's IT.
can I copy and paste for all my clients to read...That would really help me out!!!!! hehe Well done
The "children of your own" part I particularly dislike (along with "are you their REAL mother?") I think we need to all get together and publish an "Adoption Etiquette" book. There are truly well-meaning people, and then there are people that just don't think first.
GREAT thoughts, Autumn. Thanks for posting it.
What a wonderful post!! Thanks for sharing!
I'm with you sister!!
In the words of Lori, rock on.
I'm totally linking this from my blog, if you don't mind. :)
I know being a mother is a labor of love and a blessing for us all.
(Sorry I wasn't done). . . When a father sees his daughter as the type of mother you are it touches his heart. Our recent trip to you even brought that more to light then ever. You both are great parents and will continue to guide your children as you have. This type of spirit and this type of love is within us all. You have this shining through both of your children. A blessing is a blessing, as meant to be is meant to be. To explain what that feels like inside as it shines through you is like trying to explain what a strawberry taste like to someone who has never tasted one (I love this). . . That person has to taste that strawberry. . . Inside us all is the key. To think you understand it doesn't get you there if you are still on the outside of what shines. You have to experience it and you can only feel it. Your experience now is the Ocean and there are an endless supply of "grains of salt" in that ocean. . . you will need them for only so long until you realize, it is what it is. . . There I go again.
I didn't know truly what I was going to feel when I met Mezmur. . . I do now and you and your bloggers are lucky because it always leaves me with a lose for words. . . Love you all beyond words. . .
It was good of you to write this, Autumn.
The not-so-obvious truth is that no matter how they come to be part of the family, none of us have any earthly idea who we're getting in a kid. Whether they are born of our own womb or another moman's, they are each so specifically THEMSELVES that there is no way to predict it. What a joy to get to know each one, and to become a family together!
well said. we are just beginning to get these comments and this is a timely reminder. thanks.
All I can say is, "I hear you." I will have to share some of my doozie's with you next time we see each other!!
How did I miss this post? Anyway - Yes, yes, yes! I recently had a drunk woman ask me about having "our own" and my sweet dad (who was holding Micah) said, "You mean this little guy? He's her own." I was SO PROUD of my dad!!
And how sweet is your dad-gramps? Love him!
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