I heard from someone this past week that they shared our adoption news with someone we both know, and they got a "rolling of the eyes" from this mutual acquaintance which was somewhat unexpected from the source...and somewhat hurtful that this information would be shared with us at all.
The response we have received from so many has been overall kind of negative, to the point where I feel little joy in telling anyone and have kept it more to myself...which also seems wrong as we will one day show up with more kids in tow and then have to explain why we didn't say much.
I really and truly don't want a big deal made about it, we are not looking for any sort of praise or anything. What I would like is to be able to feel comfortable sharing something that for us is one of the most exciting things to ever happen to us and a true miracle from start to finish without feeling weird or defensive about it, as if adding a couple of children to our family is almost something to be ashamed of rather than to be joyful about.
It is hard for me to understand why people feel free to say the following, all of which we have heard in recent months:
1) You ARE going to be done after this, aren't you?
2) Why would you want to do this? You won't be able to afford to do anything!
3) Mark my words, you will regret this.
4) Do you know what you are bringing into your home?
5) Those kids are totally damaged and will ruin your sons
6) Are you going to be one of THOSE families...the ones with 20 kids or something?
7) Can't quit while you are ahead?
8) You don't know what it is like to be poor, you'll end up living in a trailer
9) I just don't get it, aren't you happy with the boys you have?
10) Now you'll really have problems with all of them being siblings
and I could name a dozen more less than kind things that have been said. It amazes me as I would never in a million years say some of the things to others that have been said to me...I would consider it none of my business and not my place.
What people don't seem to understand at all is that this is not something we are doing for attention. It is not something we set out to do years ago, to have a large family. It is not a "mission" project. It is not even something we ever imagined for our lives.
We simply don't have a choice.
We have kids that are not home yet, kids I never dreamed of having 8 years ago when we first adopted Matthew and thought he would be our sole child. Kids whose hearts are waiting to be joined with ours. And through God's miracle and a financial blessing from another family our remaining children will one day be home.
It is hard to explain that to someone who is callous and not walked in our shoes. It is hard to express how every single night you have prayed for the welfare of a particular child or children whom you know are at risk and unloved. It is beyond painful to carry someone in your heart for years and be unable to offer them what they need the most.
But I hadn't realized how much harder this adoption would be in terms of the judgment of others over our decision to adopt one last time. I have been a bit blindsided by it, this thought process that others have that it is ok to voice the fact that they think we are idiots and that this "adoption stuff" is sheer lunacy. It is hurtful to hear that others are talking about you behind your back.
And why, I ask? Why is it so bad to want to love a child? Is there something inherently ridiculous about that? We aren't asking for your enthusiasm, but what we don't need is your condemnation. You can think we are nuts, you are entitled to your opinion (and many who know our family well might agree that we ARE nuts!), but you don't have to voice it.
With the notable exception of a few close friends and our church family who have proven to be quite supportive and understanding, we have had the negative on a regular basis. That is what makes the thoughtful moments more meaningful...like the other night when one of my closest friends called late in the evening after having seen Dominick in town and learning that things are moving faster than we expected. She just wanted to tell me that she and her husband were so happy and excited for us, and that single phone call meant so much. When your "pregnancy" is not obvious to the world, or when it is perceived as what should be "unwanted", knowing that someone doesn't think you are making a huge mistake is enormously helpful and lifts the spirit in ways she probably won't ever understand.
So we continue to move forward, preparing ourselves, arming ourselves, and sadly...protecting ourselves.
Most importantly though, we know we are walking with God in this, that we are absolutely moving on what we feel is His will. That may not always set well with others, but we know no other way that works for us.
The attitude of others who are not walking in our shoes just has to be overlooked, pushed aside. But on some days that is easier said than done.