I'm just going to put this out there with little editing because by the time I figure out my thoughts about it, I may never get around to writing it down, and I think it's something worth discussing.
Someone told me today that her son, a friend of Abe's, asked her what adoption means. She answered him something about how it's what happens when a mom and dad have a child they can't take care of, so another family decides to make that child their family instead. Fair enough. I was impressed by the simplicity of the explanation.
But then. Oh, but then.
She followed it up with telling me that she talked to her son about how it's the same as what happens when people adopt dogs who don't have someone to take care of them. Her eyes lit up when she told me that this last bit about abandoned dogs is what really hit home for her son (as if a child in need of a family is less real to him?).
I knew that it hit a nerve with me but I'm still processing my thoughts about why I bristled at my children being compared to abandoned animals.
I put a query out there about it on fb and got some interesting responses, some people even telling me that I shouldn't be bothered by it because our kids are going to hear this kind of stuff and better to talk about it openly with them than get all upset about it. Again, fair enough. I agree. But it did bother me, and I'm torn about whether to talk to the woman about it or not. Is it worth it to try to explain to her that we don't compare our own children to dogs in animal shelters, and that this concept might be hurtful to our kids?
A friend of mine who hasn't adopted herself but who is a new mom and who has more sense and understanding than most anybody I know told me, "People have shitty dumb ideas about adoption and they’re going to keep passing them on without ever seeing their stupidity even if you point it out to them. If you do, in their minds, you’ll be oversensitive. The best thing you can do for her boy is to show him “adoption” by having him be around your family. He’ll know Abe isn’t the world’s saddest dog with a yeast infection and British teeth."
It made me laugh. I think she's probably right. It's just that in my protective yearning to keep my kids from ever experiencing pain of any kind makes it really hard not to say anything. Another plus to bringing it up with the other parent is that maybe she truly is unaware that this comparison is hurtful and she could actually learn something. Maybe bringing it up with the teacher is the right way? I'm really not sure.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, should anyone still read this blog.