Friday, April 15, 2011

Reactions

I've been putting off writing this post because I think it is going to come across ungrateful and bitchy. But oh well, I wrote it. An apology in advance...

We didn't really expect too many bad reactions when we first announced our intentions to adopt Sofie. Honestly, it didn't really cross my mind at first. Adopting a child with special needs/abilities was always in the plans... we kind of assumed everyone else knew that too and was supportive of it. Most people know what kind of community I come from.

When we first told our close family members and friends this adoption was going to happen now, we got a lot of apprehensive support. There were no out right negative responses. Some where just quiet and tentative. Most asked questions. I liked the questions more because at least I knew a bit of what they were thinking. Their questions seemed to be wanting assurance that we knew what we were getting ourselves in to. We were just coming out of our "year of hell", so I think people were worried we weren't ready to jump in to anything so big yet. If they were apprehensive at first they all came around quickly and are so excited with us!

I get frustrated with the reactions from strangers and acquaintances more. We haven't received any outright negative comments, just ignorant ones. Depending on the day and my mood I can brush it off, laugh, or try to have a conversation about it, but sometimes it really gets to me.

The worst comment we've received to date was from a semi-distant relative. Thankfully she isn't technically a close family member but we still were hoping for a better response. When we mentioned we were going to be getting a second child her entire face and posture lit up. She was so excited when she thought we were pregnant. We continued and told her we were adopting a little girl with DS. Her whole expression dropped and she just said "Oh, I could never do that." There was disdain in her voice. She never said congratulations either. I was SO mad. We left shortly after and since she lives far away, we haven't had to see her either :)

Some of the easier comments to take have made me laugh and usually come from the person not filtering and just saying the first thing that comes to their head. I can appreciate this approach at a personal level :) A friends mom's response was a confused look over to Livi asking "But, isn't Livi yours?" I responded with a laugh saying "Yes, and Sofie will be ours too." She immediately realized how silly that sounded. Another complete stranger outright asked my mom, who was telling her about Sofie, if we were infertile. It was her first thought, but kind of weird to ask a stranger that. An uncle said "Isn't sex cheaper?" This was my favorite :) Yes, sex is a lot cheaper!

Usually people don't know what to say and are silent when I tell them about Sofie. I can handle that too. It annoys me but I can just ignore it. I get that it is out of the norm. I just wish it wasn't. What really irks me though is when people say "good for you!" I understand it is well meaning but what am I supposed to say to that? .... "Yes, it is really good of me. I'm an incredible person."

I don't think adoption is something to say "good for you" too. What does that even mean? Are they saying good for adopting? Or is it the fact that I'm adopting a child with special needs? Why can't people just celebrate it? Why can't the be excited and congratulatory like they would if I were pregnant? We are not doing this for recognition, or because we think we are better parents or people than anyone else. This is just a not-so-different way of expanding our family. Why do people treat it so differently? Doesn't everyone know people that are adopted? Is this really such a taboo thing? If it is, it damn well shouldn't be! I wish people could get more educated!

Why do people assume that adoption is for families who are infertile too? I just don't get it. Maybe that is my ignorance. My grandparents were not infertile when they adopted either so it is kind of out of my frame of reference. I heard a stat once that if every Christian family were to adopt one orphan there would be no orphans left in the world. Hmmmm... kind of makes you think doesn't it? Isn't there something repeated over and over and over in the Bible about helping the widows and orphans? Just saying...

The best reactions we've got are from people who have adopted already. I've gotten beaming smiles, congratulatory emails, hugs, and even tears :) They are the ones who truly understand and I am so appreciative of those people in my life who have adopted before us and can be an extra special support to us through this incredible journey. It really isn't as scary as society believes it to be. Yes, it is a roller coaster, but, oh my God the reward is going to be SO worth it!

5 comments:

Daughter of the King said...

I find that peope always say to me when I tell them about my family "I could never do that", "are you parents still married?", "your parents must be saints" and "were you all adopted?".

Actually we are just a unique family that aren't saints...but we wouldn't trade any of my siblings for anything.

When we adopted B my Grandpa refused to look at or ackowledge him and I remember even I picked up on it and couldn't understand the big deal as I had a new brother whom I adored:)

I am so excited for your family to experience the miracle of adoption and hope that those people who are negative will be able to see the love and joy that surrounds your family.

Jordan said...

:D :D :D

a) *hugs* and woohoos :)
b) People definitely have a difficulty seeing outside of their frame of reference/perspective etc. Oh gosh how tedious/crazy it can seem at times :)

But I'm very glad that you guys are living an example and guiding people to realize some of their own narrow visions ;) :D

:D

ps and yes I'm celebrating :D :D

emily said...

This post brings back a lot of memories for me! Both good and bad! I can remember when we told a certain family member that we were going to have a baby and they got so excited... and then we said this baby would be coming from Ethiopia there was this look of disappointment on their face and then a, "You mean, you're not pregnant???"
And now that we have a bio child we get the whole, "Wow, so you can have kids." or "What a miracle" reaction.
Um, actually both are kids are miracles thanks!
And I agree that it is sad that more people don't consider adoption. Especially before spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments.

LeAnna et David said...

No matter what you're celebrating in life, comments from well-meaning people always come off wrong. I think it's inevitable. It's why I don't like talking about things important to me--just easier not to.

I don't know if I have said it but I definitely think "good for you", because like it or not you are doing something GOOD. AND I'm also excited for you. Like, crazy excited. But trust me, I am under no misconceptions that you & Jon are saints.

All that said, I'm thinking back to certain "good for you" moments in my own life and experiencing the cringes all over again. Maybe because it sounds so patronizing? Perhaps should be accompanied by a headpat and gold star?

LeAnna et David said...

No matter what you're celebrating in life, comments from well-meaning people always come off wrong. I think it's inevitable. It's why I don't like talking about things important to me--just easier not to.

I don't know if I have said it but I definitely think "good for you", because like it or not you are doing something GOOD. AND I'm also excited for you. Like, crazy excited. But trust me, I am under no misconceptions that you & Jon are saints.

All that said, I'm thinking back to certain "good for you" moments in my own life and experiencing the cringes all over again. Maybe because it sounds so patronizing? Perhaps should be accompanied by a headpat and gold star?