So while I appreciated all the nice responses to my post about "Choosing not to be offended," I felt sort of guilty reading them. I'm not so good at being able to let things go, like water off a duck's back, the way my mom always told me to do when I was the fifth grade nearsighted fat kid always picked last for games of kickball. I and my best friend Catherine, the other fat kid in my class, would let our teammates ahead of us in the line to kick so that we could exercise our intellect with invigorating discussions about who our favorite Goonie was or how we would have spent the money had we been Brewster in Brewster's Millions, at least until the teacher caught us not playing and made us take a turn.
Pathetic, I know.
So while I was able to see past the phrase "real mom" to the overall good intentions with the lady at the coffeeshop in Mississippi, I'm not always able to do so.
Case in point: This summer at a wedding, a close friend of one of our relatives whose house I'd been to about a year ago, approached us to chat and congratulate us on the adoption. This woman is very sweet and encouraging. During the conversation, she made the frequent (and oh, so annoying) comment, "Just you watch, as soon as you adopt, you guys are going to have your own baby. It always happens that way!"
I cringed. I tried to bite my tongue, I really did. I couldn't hold myself back though. As sweet as this lady is, fewer things get under my skin more than hearing someone tell me this. Before I knew what was happening, I was stammering something out about how this is actually a myth, that Barbara Katz Rothman in her book Weaving a Family actually cites several studies disproving this idea that there's a correlation between adoption and later pregnancy and that hearing this makes adoptive parents feel pressure to conceive and that the world thinks their child who was adopted is somehow less than their own or even a means to an end (a biological child).
I should have just smiled and said, "You never know what God has in store." But I didn't. I lashed out and immediately felt guilty, so guilty that I went back to her twice to apologize. She was very gracious and understanding and hadn't deserved to be given a barrage of facts about adoption research while at a wedding reception. I was wrong.
But really, so was she. Because many of us out there know someone who adopted and then conceived a child, this does not mean that this is the normal course of events for families. And pointing out to adoptive parents these cases where it has happened communicates the message that we're all just waiting for our biological child to come along for our families to be "complete." Though people who say this don't mean it to be, it is hurtful and I wish they would stop saying it.
I came across this blog this weekend and cheered loudly the post in which the author wrote:
Don't assume adoption is a second choice.
The reasons people choose to adopt are as varied and unique as the people themselves. While it is true that many choose adoption because of infertility, it is also true that many choose adoption for a myriad of other reasons as well. Many people choose to adopt not because they are out of other options, but rather because they believe that adoption is the best choice for them.
Don't tell us we're sure to have "our own" now.
She is our own. Those parents who choose adoption because of infertility do not secretly harbor lifelong yearnings for a biological child. Having "our own" is now irrelevant; the child we have is the one we want and it is inconceivable that we could love or want any child more. Like all parents, we have the best.
There were a lot of things this woman is so right on about, and I was really happy to have heard from someone else who has the same peeve. I strongly encourage you to read this entire post. She's much more articulate than I could ever be and doesn't even once rabbit-trail off to her memories of elementary school woes.
Church, of all places, should be a place for the grace of inclusion. Because I'm not upset about it, now or even then when it happened, we want to mention it to this pastor, who is a really great guy and who I'm sure had just never thought of it before. I have to remember that adoption is not on everyone's radar as much as it is on ours. But if I can tweak their radars, with grace, I'm happy to do it, especially for the sake our child who I so want to grow up in an atmosphere of total acceptance from as many people as possible in our lives. I know this acceptance won't always happen on the playground, but I know for sure that it needs to at church.