You ever get asked that?
Okay, okay....how many times have you been asked that, in one form or another?
For adoptive parents it's a fairly common question. Whether asked by a family member, an old friend, a new one or a complete stranger it's always a question that makes me pause and causes that seldom seen "speechlessness" with me.
Why the pause, you ask?
Well, to me it's a question within a question. I mean- it's too broad, too loaded and sometimes too personal.
You see, it comes down to the fact that I never am sure what folks are really asking.
Do they mean why did I adopt these children or why did I adopt internationally vs domestically? Are they asking if I am infertile or the status of my fertility, or are they asking if I just think it's cool to "save" children from orphanages around the world?
And there are differences even within the person who is asking...an old friend who is just surprised maybe because it never came up when you knew each other before. Or a newer friend over a glass of wine or cup of coffee. Maybe a fellow blog buddy or adoptive parent, just comparing stories. Or possibly somebody on FB who "knows somebody who is thinking about adopting as well". Family members may have asked back then, back when we started the process, but know better now.
Oh and then the strangers....well some are just plain nosy and some are in the process and of course some are deciding whether to adopt or not. I've had other soccer moms, classmate parents and parents at birthday parties ask a form of the question. Perhaps a curious birth mother or another adult adoptee, looking for some insight from the other side of adoption.
But each time I am stumped as to an answer to give...
because the answer is more complex than the question. "Where do you want me to start" I often think "and how personal do you want me to get". Besides, is it really any one's business or right to know...?
Also, how much are they willing to hear - all the sad details leading up to our choices, the hell of the wait for each of my babes, both leading to the joy that has come from those original choices. How do you put those emotions, those feelings and memories into an answer for such a question?
Or do they just want the short and sweet version, maybe the "becasue God led us to" or the "we couldn't have any so we did this" version? Then I wonder if in those simple answers if we're doing justice to our story, our journey, to adoption.
And I have to think not.
So for now I will answer your question with the only answer I can give....