Sunday, March 23, 2014

Say what?

Okay, alright, you can stop sending out search parties to rescue me from the wastes of my back yard.  Frankly, your concern is embarassing.  Today I am here to write about ignorance, and the form this scourge takes when talking to everyone from total strangers to family about an adoption.

Now I know that you're all going "hey, what now, there are ignorant people that spout off about adoptions?"  And the answer there, as with all areas of life, is a soul-crushing "YES".  And, YES, the loudest and most offensive are often those with the least knowledge or experience regarding whatever it is they are feeling authoritarian about.

I can't speak to everyone's experiences as we don't have our kids yet (soon!?) - I could unpack the emotions in that 'yet', but I digress, for your sake.  For all our sakes.

To be clear, I have no problem with genuinely curious questions from total strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, etc etc.  I've been asked by many people at work (who see me reading one of our many adoption or attachment books) where the kids will be from, why adoption, their ages, if we're infertile, the cost, etc etc etc.  No matter how blunt and forward, they all were motivated by the desire to know more about our decision.  One even said that it seemed like we were taking on other people's responsibilities for their mistakes.  Instead of bursting into flames, I pointed out that every child deserves a future, and that whether economics or irresponsibility lead to a child being adopted, they will have a loving home.

On the flip side of things, other comments have been a little horrifying at times.  Being adults, we strive to converse reasonably and restrain our incredulity when these kinds of thoughts are verbalized - or at least we do our best not to get into a knife fight.  So far so good, your prayers are appreciated.

Some people in our church adopt, probably because it makes them feel good about themselves, or think that it's their calling.

Now, I don't think that I've discussed my religious beliefs much here, but to keep things simple, my beliefs are not properly Christian, but mostly Christian.  I think that if you believe anything at all about God intending something for your life, taking care of those who are vulnerable would be the quintessential calling.  At least, that's my reading of the New Testament.  Feel free to correct me.

As long as we're having a philosophical discussion, let's think about altruism a little.  Doing good things makes us feel good.  That is an indisputable fact.  It bothered me though that somehow everything about adopting kids was roses and unicorns because we spend all day congratulating ourselves on what good people we are.  Who really thinks adoptive parents think like that??

You need to make sure that you are doing this to parent children, not for charity.

Kind of like the first one, but with more horror.  That would be like me telling a pregnant woman to make sure she wants to have a baby to raise and nurture, not just for tax purposes.  Any reasonable analogy sounds ridiculous, but somehow the initial statement did not, to someone.

I've always wanted to go to Uganda.  A safari sounds amazing.

Yes, we got malaria medication, shots up the wazoo, and spent tens of thousands of dollars in adoption fees so that we could shoehorn a safari into our adoption trip.  No, you cannot come along.

Having kids come from an orphanage would be easier on the parents.  They're not used to getting much attention, so they won't be as needy.

This one almost knocked me on my butt, or it would have if I wasn't already sitting on the floor.  The conversation turned into an argument about why children needed more attention rather than less.  Another analogy:  Children who grow up in an orphanage are used to not eating enough, so they'll be cheaper to feed at home, because you don't need to feed them as much!

Pardon me, but now I have gone and burst into flames.