Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another senseless adoption comment

Most all of us who have adopted children at some point in time have had to deal with irritating, rude, and downright mean comments. It wasn't my first, and I'm sure it won't be my last, but tonight I got stung by yet another senseless comment. I don't think the person meant any ill will, but it really rubbed me the wrong way!

To set the story, last night Caleb went to Vacation Bible School at a church near our home, not our own church. When we went to pick him up his teachers saw Malachi and told us he could come tonight also. I made sure it was okay since he is a little younger, and the teachers said it was not a problem. So tonight when I went back to drop them off I told the lady at the registration table I needed to sign Malachi up also. She questioned me about his age and said since he was only 4 he was too young for the kindergarten class and he couldn't stay unless a parent stayed also. I told her he was about to turn 5, was old enough to start kindergarten this year, and that the teachers had explicitly told me he could come. She didn't seem convinced and started asking me very direct questions.

She asked,"Where do you live?" I'm not sure why that mattered, and I don't generally like telling strangers where I live. Given that this is a small community church it's very unlikely someone who is not a member of that church would drive very far just to take their kids to VBS since there are plenty of other churches doing VBS right now also. Thus she could have easily assumed I lived somewhere nearby, and of course she could have just looked at the address I wrote down on the registration sheet if she really needed to know.

Then she asked, "Do you go to church?" Well, I most certainly had no problem answering that, but I couldn't help but think if we didn't go to church anywhere how uncomfortable that question would make me. There are much better ways to find out if someone goes to church and invite them to your own!

Next question she asked was, "Are these your only 2 kids?" I started off by telling her, "No, we also have a 17 year old daughter." Of course, every time I tell people who see Caleb and Malachi that I also have a 17 year old daughter I can tell immediately what they start thinking - that I got pregnant when I was very young - and their mindset about me seems to take a negative direction. I really dislike the fact that unless I tell people how we adopted Christina when she was 12 they automatically draw negative conclusions about me. So then I told the lady about our 2 kids waiting in China and she questioned me further about our adoptions. Thus I told her how we had adopted Christina from Siberia 4 years ago and Malachi from India 2 years ago, at which point she told me, "Your husband must have a very good job."

Quite often when I tell people about all our adoptions they have very positive reactions, even saying things like, "How wonderful", "God bless you", "What special people you must be", etc. Although I don't expect such positive reactions and don't feel deserving of them (because we aren't adopting to get praise or even to "save a child" - we are adopting because we want to share our love with a child), I will admit I can deal with the positive comments much better than the negative ones (e.g. I usually mention how blessed we feel to have our children with us, that while others may see the sacrifices we have made we see only the blessings we have received), and it really caught me off guard to get a comment like this from a stranger at a church - those are usually the people who say the nicest things!

When we are right in the midst of an adoption that will take over $40,000, when I am dealing daily with the frustration of knowing we will probably have approval to travel in August or maybe even July but we really have no choice but to wait until the beginning of September to travel due to money issues, when we are working so hard to pay off the debt from our previous adoptions while still trying to fund this one, it is very irritating to have someone make the assumption that just because we are adopting these children we must have plenty of money to spare.

NO, NO, NO!!! We have made many, many sacrifices to bring home our children. We work hard to come up with the money. When we don't come up with the money in time we deal with the added burden of debt. While so many people urge being debt free and especially avoiding credit cards, we have dealt with the burden of unwanted credit card debt when we had no other choice for buying airline tickets or paying hotel and other travel expenses. We most certainly aren't wealthy, we have just chosen a different path for our lives and our money than most people choose. Personally, I can't help but feel the blessings we have received have been far, far greater than the sacrifices we have made!

Oh, and I do find it a little ironic this happened right after my last post in which I talked about just a few of the sacrifices we have made to be able to afford adoption. I get so tired of having people tell me, "Oh, I would love to adopt but we just can't afford it." If only more people understood the blessing is much greater than the sacrifices I think there would be fewer orphans in the world!


Joy said...

I've been asked this same question a few times. I don't like it either. Lately, all I hear is "oh what a wonderful thing you have done for her," speaking of our eldest adopted just before fourteen. Ugh. It does get very old.

redkitchen said...

Ughh...some people really are clueless. I am sorry that you had to deal with this uneducated and uninformed lady. I'm praying for you and your family as you will soon grow by two more blessings. Keep your focus on that. :) Some people will never understand why we choose to adopt or the incredible blessings it brings. Thank God that He chose us to be parents of our wonderful children.:) We are incredibly blessed.

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Learning Together at Home said...

I feel badly that you had to be faced with such rude questions! We've faced them too, but reading about someone else's experience makes me just shake my head yet again at people's lack of tact (watch me say something ridiculous today! lol).

Congratulations on your upcoming adoptions! (I followed you on RQ.) I'll be praying that all the important things go smoothly!