As a mother of adopted children, I am fully aware that I will encounter ignorance, misinformation, and just plain…well, for lack of better word, stupidity…. related to the adoption of my children.
Ok, that may be a bit of a harsh way to start a post. I will back track a bit. I have been very open all along about our plans to adopt children, most likely a sibling group, and what that would mean. It hasn’t been until we have actually been matched with these three cuties (Seriously, I can’t stop looking at their pictures!) that I began hearing the type of statements that make all adoptive parents cringe. The kind of thing that makes a to-be-adoptive mother get either really sad or really protective REALLY quick! Before when I would hear of people saying these things I would be sad that people thought this. Now that I have experienced people saying things I can’t believe people would even think, I become like a disturbed mama bear.
I fully understand that the general public is not always going to completely understand the complexities of adoption, especially adoption of older children. My husband and I are the ones that choose this path, we are the ones that wanted to learn about the complexities and how to meet the needs of the kids that are coming into our home and our family whatever baggage they come with.
What I will not stand, what I cannot abide, is people perpetuating some false information to my children. False information such as they are not “really” your children until you go to court (9-12 months after they move in). Until then “anything” could happen and… well it got quiet then as if I could fill in the blanks. I understand the perception, but that is not what is true in my heart or in the system. Should anything happen during that time there would be services available to aid in he transition and while the children are not “legally ours” we have signed a legal document stating our intent to adopt the children.
This is not a single situation type problem. I have been surprised by the comments and off-hand remarks that rub me the wrong way. I may be overly sensitive (this is another post, but I have a question, can you have pregnancy hormones when adopting? I am nesting and moody and all that!) and overly protective of what my children may hear. Our family will be having a rough start and a huge transition and baggage of trauma on all sides waiting to be dealt with, that comments about how we are not yet a family and other such comments are not going to be helpful!
I am beginning to realize that when these comments are made I, as an adoptive mother, have a couple of choices. I can ignore it, reframe it for the person, or educate the person. I am hoping that some wiser people out there can help me figure out how to know when to do which.
There are people, people who love me and my children, that I have no problems simply explaining how what they said came off and how they could say things instead. These people I know would not be offended and would say things out of ignorance. Something that can be easily forgiven as it is no one else’s job to be sensitive to the subtleties of adoption but mine.
However, what about the other people, the acquaintance or “friends”. What then?