Saturday, November 20, 2010

20. Positive and Negative (Adoptive Parent Edition)

 You may or  may not have read my post yesterday. But this is just like it except from a birthparent perspective it's from an adoptive parent's perspective. I just thought it'd be cool/interesting to read both sides of that. And I may or may not only have like 4 hours of sleep under my belt and I work a 10 hour shift today. So lets hope I survive :) Baha.

Andrea posted a while back when Andee posted the What Not To Say To Birth Moms. It was sort of a What Not To Say To Adoptive Parents. But she called it FAQ's. I hope she doesn't mind that I'm using this! And that's when the idea came to me to do make this post.

We have been talking a lot about the frequently asked questions we get from everyone and anyone who hears we are adopting. Most people mean well and are just concerned for our happiness, but some questions come off a little odd. We have gotten used to not taking offense to the many questions we have been asked, but just thought it might be somewhat educational for you to learn what a couple in our situation hears almost daily.

1. The number one question we get is, "Are you afraid she's going to back out?" My first thought when someone says that is, "Did you really just ask me that?" It's like asking a pregnant woman if she is afraid she is going to have a miscarriage. YOU JUST DON'T ASK IT! Dustin and I have thought about and prayed about all the risks involved with adoption and know that this is the right decision for us. Andee is the most amazing blessing that has ever happened to us and we wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. Our relationship with her is so special and if you only knew her, you would take that question back in a heartbeat. She is firm in her decision and the spirit has confirmed to each of us that this is our child and the Lord's plan for everyone involved.

2. We get this one on a daily basis. "Did you know that a lot of couples get pregnant once they adopt? They were finally able to relax and it happened." There are many couples who have gotten pregnant after a placement, but it doesn't happen to everyone. In my mind that completely takes away from the miracle of this whole experience. As if to say adoption is any less amazing than giving birth to a biological child. I've never given birth, but I don't know if getting a child in any other way could be as incredible as this has been. We aren't adopting so that we can "relax" and get pregnant. We truly feel this little girl is meant for our family.

3. "Does the birth mom have a buyers remorse clause?" WOW, what do you even say to that?

4. "If you get pregnant do you think you will love your adopted child as much as your biological one?" WHAT???? They would both be my children. Adopted or biological, there is no difference to me in the amount of love I am capable of giving. They came in different ways, yes, but they are still my children.

Moral of the story, just be careful and sensitive with what you say to others when it comes to their family. You never know what they are going through.

Rick & Liz's Story:
For us we decided to tell people as soon as we got ahold of our agency to start our paper work. For the most part people were positive. There were a few people that had negative things to say but mostly about our decision to move forward with an open adoption. They would say things like agent you worried that she will try to take the baby back or wont that be weird to have him know that is his "real" mom. Um i am his real mom.
normally i would just explain what our vision and understanding of open adoption was. It would usually be enough to get people to back off. There was this one incident where our son's birthmom and i were at the mall together and the cashier at the place we stopped at to get drinks told our birthmom that if she didn't want her baby she would take it. Right in front of me knowing i was to be his adoptive mom. She also had the nerve to look at me and say, "what you can't have your own or something?" I didn't even feel she deserved a explanation of our situation and i instead explained to her the love our son's birth mom had for him and explained it was because of that selfless love that she was placing him in our family. That situation left me very upset. I still wish i would have said more.
I think one of the things that we hear the most that bothers me is pretty specific to our situation but i have heard it before. Since we were nine weeks pregnant when our little guy's birth mom found us people would always say...see all you needed to do was just relax. Or they would say, "oh, that happens all the time the couple adopts and then they are finally relaxed enough to have their own baby. "
To this, first of all,  i have started to take the time to explanation that it actually has nothing to do with how relaxed we were. What it comes down to is that our son was supposed to be a part of our family. If we had gotten pregnant and stayed that way even just few weeks sooner than we were when his birth mom found us he would not be with us. I also think it is very important for people to remember that, no, this actually doesn't happen all the time and it has nothing to do with how relaxed we were. It was all about Lord's plan for our family, our children. We are so grateful for both of them and grateful we listened to the spirit guide us each step of the way.

Kevin & Dayna's Story:
When we first decided to adopt we pretty hesitant to tell people at first. (We thought) we didn't know anyone who had been affected by adoption and knew there were a lot of uneducated or jaded opinions on the topic. We first told our families because we knew we would need their support. We were super excited about the announcement. And while our families were happy for us - they were... hesitant, when they responded. They didn't jump up and down with excitement or tell us we were choosing wrong. They mostly nodded their heads, listened to us talk about it, asked questions, and in the end said they support us 100% and will help however they can. Like a lot of people I think their hesitation was out of ignorance. Up until that point our families had never really thought about or been effected by adoption. At the time, though, I felt a little self conscious about the fact that there was such a solemn response. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't 100% the reaction I wanted, I guess.

After time and after we grew more confidant and excited in our decision to adopt we began to open up to our friends, coworkers, and ward. We never jumped up in a room and shouted, "Hey, guess what! We're adopting!" We always got on the topic after someone asked us about us having kids or when the conversation went in the general direction. The response we got from pretty much everyone was, "Oh, that's really cool guys, good luck." *Change topic* I definitely got the sense that most people didn’t know how to continue the conversation from there.

Based on the reactions we got from those around us we began to realize how different we already were by making this decision. Although our generation is now blowing the adoption information doors wide open – many people are still stuck in that “adoption is taboo” mindset. We very much began to feel alone in our decision. Then we found FSA and Mrs. R’s blog and it opened us up into an entire world of adoption and education. We wouldn’t trade that for the world.

Oh where do I start? LOL! I'm sure a lot of people have shared and expressed these exact same sentiments but I'll reiterate the few that were most influential on me. Number one enemy statement in my book is probably the one I got (and still get the most).

"You'll get pregnant after you adopt." Or "My brother's wife's little sister's best friend's aunt adopted a kid and then they had 'their own'." I HATE it when people tell me this. I know they're just trying to relate an ironic story (that may be the only connection they have with adoption so they feel compelled to share) or they are trying to give the adopting couple "hope" but it's so flippin' annoying. When someone says this it comes off as undermining of our decision to adopt. Or that our adopting is just a means to an end - that end being having our "own" child. It's not like that! Adopted our not, our kids are our kids. There's no difference. Period.

I hate the term "real" in front of anything. I get asked a lot, "Where is her real mom? Will she know you're not her real mom? Does she get to know her real family?" We are her real family, thankyouverymuch. I know people don't mean the term maliciously, but it undermines us the title as her parents.

[Dayna was working yesterday and didn't have time to finish this but if she wants to finish what she was saying in comments. She is totally welcome to. Or if any adoptive parent who wants to, they can as well]

Jared & Devin's Story:
We kind of have a different adoption story. I was raised knowing that I could not have biological children. I have always known I would adopt. I've always been excited about adoption too- wondering what my kids would look like (ie. would I raise an interracial family, have kids with disabilities, etc.). I would say the same goes for my family. They have always known that I would adopt, accepted it, and now that we could get placed any time... they're excited! They can't wait! They have always been supportive and loving. 
When I told Jared, while we were dating, that adoption was in my future, he was a bit thrown off. It took him a little off guard. Jared had never really considered adoption and didn't know what to think. After thinking about it and letting the shock wear off, he's been fabulous!! He's so supportive, loving, and kind. When Jared told his parents, they kind of were like Jared. Thrown off guard, but once they had time- they have been such a great support system! They are so excited and can't wait to have a grandchild join our family. The rest of his family has all been supportive, understanding, and anxious too. We've all been anxious for "the BIG day". 

As far as when we tell friends... some are excited, tell some adoption related story, and  question. Others don't quite know how to react, kind of shy away, and apologize. I assure them that it's okay, I'm privileged to one day adopt and there's nothing to be sorry about. Some of them still are uncomfortable and we leave it at that. Others start opening up and asking questions. So... long story short, most people act positively but there are a few negative. Negative is few and far between though, I'd say. When people first find out they ask about why, like if we could have any biologically, they question which agency we're using, how long we've waiting... those type of questions. Some will talk about how admirable they feel adoption is. When people say positive things about adoption... it helps me be positive. It helps me through the down times when I can't help but feel depressed that we are still childless. Being positive is contagious... and the same is true with being negative. Luckily all the adoption stuff I'm aware of is positive! It's awesome! I don't think I've encountered anybody saying something that they thought was positive, and I thought it was negative. There are some times were people say things that they are trying to be helpful and supportive and I just want them to stop talking. This is usually when they talk about my cub scouts, nieces/nephews, etc. being my kids too. I see their point... I have a huge influence in these kids lives and they look up to me. BUT they are not my kids. I'm not the one they come to when they need love and support... I'm not the one caring for them when they're sick. I'm not the one fully responsible for them. Other than that, people are usually good about not trying to comfort me and just be excited with me.

Thank you to everyone who has helped with this blog. I couldn't have done this without you. If there is anyone else that would like to add anything. Feel free to. 

Also, since it's National Adoption Month. I'm doing spotlights all month. If you're hoping to adopt and would like to be spotlighted. E-mail me:
Include pictures, a bio about yourself, what you look for in adoption (closed or open), or what an open adoption means to you. I'd love to do it! :)

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