Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Offensive Questions And Adoption

I've read a lot of adoption blogs throughout our process.  One common theme I've seen among many of them is the fact that they consider on-lookers and questions "offensive".

Maybe it's because I'm not home with my little one yet and I've not started getting "those questions and comments" yet.  Now, granted, there are some people who just should not open their know, the ones who feel the need to always have a comment for the pregnant lady...but I'm speaking about the innocent questions.  People truly curious about the process and where your adoptive child come from.

Let me just try to explain myself here.

Let's just say that you pass by someone with earrings gaged so big that you could poke your whole head through it and/or a tattoo plastered across their left cheek.

Here I go again, feeling the need to explain myself.  I don't mind tattoos at all!  In fact, I love Josh's and I'd get one myself, but my obsession to rearrange and change things just does not make a tattoo very practical for me:)  Oh, and have I ever mentioned the fact that I've always wanted a nose ring?


But I digress...

Let me get back on track.

There are two things going on here.

First, the person with the piercings or the tattoos got the piercings or tattoo to either make a statement, because they simply have a love for "body art" or were just too drunk to remember what they were doing.  Now, they can respond in a couple of ways, but a lot of the time the ones who are trying to make the statement or "be different" tend to get offended by the innocent onlookers or questions.  They don't feel as if people should look at them any differently.  They get offended by the "rude people".  Heaven forbid you ask a question about their "art".

The second thing happening is the reaction from other people.  Some people truly are just rude, but others may be wondering if it hurt, how long it took, where you got it done...whatever.

The point I'm trying to make is that if you are going to do something that stands out like this you can't get offended if people stare.  It's something different and unique.  People want to see the details.  If you get a tattoo and get "offended" every time you catch someone staring at it, then that's your problem.  You should be prepared for the on-looking and questions.

Here is where it applies to adoption for me.

When you get adoption questions and remarks (remember I do believe there is such thing as a stupid question and ignorant remarks) but for those truly and innocently intrigued by it, especially if it is a trans racial adoption, how can you get offended if people ask "Is he/she adopted?", or "where are they from?"  I know that those exact questions have come out of my very own mouth as I want to hear their story.  The thing is that adoptive families are ultra sensitive to this, I get that, but we must be prepared for it, because it IS going to happen!

To me, I'm excited to have a little color in our family.  I'm excited for the open door these questions will lead to to share our story, our reason for adopting in the first place, the love our Lord has shown us, and to talk about how this child is just as much our child as our other children.

I'm just saying this because I am an adoptive mom, in process, and how are we supposed to learn what to expect, or know what the hardest thing was for a family when they adopted if we don't share our stories.

I do realize that our adopted children are no longer orphans and that our biological children are no less important, and that may fuel this offensive thinking.  But adoption is now part of our story and I refuse to act as if nothing ever happened.  This will be an Ebenezer moment for our whole family that we will not soon forget!

I'm not saying I won't ever feel like "Here we go again" or get tired of the questions and looks, and I certainly don't mean that I will share all the details about our little girls birth parents and history but...

Basically, if you are willing to make the stand and adopt, people are going to want to hear about it.  People are going to stare.  It's different and unique.  There is no way around it, that is just the way it is.  It is part of the journey.

OK, I'll get off my soap box now.


Joel Ainsworth said...

Agreed! We are in the same boat and will most likely be getting a mixed race child through our adoption. I can't wait and I can't wait for the questions!

Lori said...

I have always held my child's story sacred. When anyone asked "where is her mother?" I said, "Well here I am..." That usually sets the course in a different direction.

I didn't do this with my first adoption and I have deep regrets as my child enters her teens.

People are well meaning but our children's pasts are their own, it is all they have, it is usually tragic. For some children it is all they can cling to when they get older. When we open their lives like a book, they have nothing to hold fast to, nothing special and that is theirs personally. When it becomes time, she can share that story with whom she wants to, or not.

My daughter is obviously not birthed from my husband and I but I usually tell people the surrounding story but not any personal details.

I share so much about adoption and the process and what we went through and the beautiful culture and the harsh things as well, but my daughter's story, that is ours as a family and for her physician.

People don't need these things that keep the privacy of my child secure.

They do need to know about adoption of course and I gladly share all about that always.

Tasha Via said...

Lori, I totally agree. That's why I said I surely wouldn't tell about my daughter's past or her about her birth family or anything to that nature. But I also wouldn't disregard the fact that she is from a different country and culture. I wouldn't tell her birth mother's whereabouts either.

Thanks for sharing from your experience. I do agree that our children's past is THEIR past.

But their adoption is OUR story to share in hopes of being a shining light and spreading awareness of the process as a whole.

The Martins said...

I like this perspective. It's a good one to take in. A little grace needs to be offered because sometimes "our" question or comment is well-meaning. I'm learning a lot from my friends who have adopted, but for some it's brand new.

Thanks for sharing!

Tracy said...

Great thoughts, Tasha!! I agree we want to be open (not sharing every detail) but able to share and show others how awesome adoption is...just like I love sharing about the fact that I was adopted by Christ!! Thanks for writing this!

Jessica said...

I am no where near the season of child-rearing, but I certainly appreciated hearing your thoughts on adoption.

You and Josh are an inspiration because you always obey God's call on your lives. Whether that be through your ministry or through adoption, you HEAR and ACT.

I am sure that many people will have questions but I pray that you will show them God's grace and love in your answers. I know that your daughter has been through a lot in her short life, but I am confident that she will be blessed by having you all as her adoptive family.

Much love!

Bob, Becky, Ella Jane said...

We adopted Ella 6 yrs ago. I have often heard of this idea that we are not supposed to reveal the details of our adopted child's past. Today the question that popped into my head was, "Why is THAT topic off limits when NOTHING else about ANYONE'S past is off limits?"
People always ask, Where are you from? What did your dad do? How many bothers and sisters do you have? Private school? Public?
There is NOTHING that people are not likely to ask. So why would we hide, like we are ashamed of something, our child's history.
We have framed her story the best we can in the most positive light we can.
I only hide things I am ashamed of and Ella's story is not one of them.