I was discussing our adoption a couple of days ago with an acquaintance and the subject turned from the adoption process itself to all of the things that must be considered when bringing "T" home. I found myself feeling a bit defensive, as if I had to explain our decision to bring this particular child into our family. It is odd to me that if I were pregnant, no one would feel they had the right to come up to me and ask the things we are asked now. I wouldn't be asked "Is he normal? How much is he going to cost? What do you know about his mom and dad? Isn't this going to be too much for you guys? Why don't you get a baby instead of an older kid? You haven't even met him and you are going to have the adoption final??" along with the ever present "I hope you've thought clearly about this...it will change your life forever!!" spoken in dire tones.
Now, don't get me wrong, I feel that certain people in our lives have every right to ask more personal questions, our family and close friends care about us and want to help us walk through this in our heads to make sure this is really the right thing for us. I also appreciate their care and concern, it is nice to know someone loves you enough to want the best for you. But casual acquaintances who don't have our best interests in mind but simply want to judge? Why does it even matter to them?
Imagine standing in the middle of City Market, perhaps at the frozen foods section, and being grilled about your children's birth history...and having the person doing the grilling feel that they have every right to ask about it. Or having someone toss out casually in front of your 3 year old "You know all those orphanage kids are screwed up, looks like you lucked out this time!". I sometimes wonder if they even see their questions as being as invasive as they are. What if I threw back at them "How much did your delivery cost at the hospital? How often did you have to try to make a baby? Do you REALLY know what you are getting yourself into? And let me ask you about your stretch marks..." Hahahaha!
It seems to happen more often with this adoption than with Matthew's or Joshua's. Is it because he is older? Is it because people think we are nuts to do this a third time, that they can't understand why we would spend the money to adopt again versus putting away money for college (let's not talk about retirement!), new cars, going to Europe on vacation or eating out every night?
Or is it fear of the unknown? Fear of disrupting the status quo? Fear of what others might think?
I find myself reiterating over and over that we know this won't be a walk in the park, that we have thought it through carefully and recognize the issues and challenges we might be facing. I don't even bother to touch the financial part of it with others, as I have yet to find the words to equate love with the cost of adoption without cheapening the whole process.
I was working on my autobiography yesterday that has to be submitted to the Kyrgyzstan government and had to answer the question "Why do you want to parent?". What a loaded question,how do you answer that? Those of you who may be moms reading this, how would you respond to that question? What is it that makes you actually want to parent? Are there words to describe what it feels like in your heart when you stand over your sleeping child and think that no where on earth is there a more beautiful creature? That holding their much smaller hand in yours makes you feel, for just a moment, like they view you...that you can fix anything, do anything and protect them from anything? How do you explain that exquisite joy that comes from hearing your child whisper in the dark "You are the bestest mommy in the whole world!" after telling them a bedtime story?
Why do I want to parent? Because I do, and if I have to explain it then you are too shallow to understand the explanation anyway. Why do I want to parent "T"? Because I do. Because there is love to be given and love to be accepted. Because we have room in our hearts and our home. Because as a family we laugh so much, play so often, love so deeply that it seems a shame not to share that with him, if we can at all possibly do so.