Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So why adoption?

You ever get asked that?
Okay, 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 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....
Simply because



Lisa said...

Hi My Friend~

I read this earlier and needed to wait until I could really sit with it and respond without distractions. :) You know the kind of baby boy joy distractions I speak of!!

And can I just say: amen!

I'm baffled time & again by how blurred the lines of politeness and privacy have become of late; things that someone would never consider asking another, somehow become fair game with so many transracial families.

It hurts our kids....even if the intentions are good, it implies an almost double negative just as you succinctly stated and sadly forgets to take into account BOTH sides of the behind the scenes.

Not just our wait and the decisions that led up to an adoptive journey, but also the losses that had to occur for our children to be availible for adoption.

There is no easy answer and I suspect that most of us would all answer quite a bit differently if pressed or inclined to share.

I love that you addressed this and as always value your unique and perceptive insights.

Sending big hugs your way and hoping that particular question goes by the way of political incorrectness soon enough!!!!

michelle said...

It is definitely a loaded question and I have to think about who is asking the question and how much I want to share. For me, it's not so much about racial issues, but about fertility and whether or not I want to recap the many years of trying unsuccessfully to have a baby. Sometimes I tend to go off and people get uncomfortable, but hey, if you're going to ask the question, then you better be ready for the answer. Since I'm Japanese and Lexie does look a lot like me and my husband, strangers don't know she's adopted, so we do get questions like, "She's so active, was she like that in the womb?" or "She's so tiny, you must have had an easy labor?" It's hard to answer those, so sometimes I just nod and hope that's sufficient because I don't think I need to divulge that Lexie is adopted to every person I meet.