Ordinarily Extraordinary » Faith, Art, Photography.....Life

Just Don’t….

I rarely share much about our son here on the blog anymore. Part of the reason I first started blogging was to share photos of him growing with out of town family. Now that he is older he hates to have his photo taken as you can see in one of the photos from our trip to Asheville. My blog has been an evolution to where I find it now. Now that our son is growing older it becomes more of his story to share instead of mine. So today’s post is a rare one and I will probably never blog about it again. I don’t feel it is my purpose to blog about this topic.

This is part of our story I have never shared about here. I have never felt like I needed to. We do share it from time to time in real life, but after a twitter conversation last night I decided I should. To at least educate some on the outside of this topic although I realize most who read this know these things already.

Almost twelve years ago we brought home an amazing, precious gift. Our son. There was an incredible young woman who chose to do the hardest thing a mother can do and place her child for adoption. And she chose us to be his parents. Most days I forget I did not physically give birth to my Squirt. If you see him with my parents or my sister or my husband’s father you would never think he was adopted. He favors each of them in ways. If you knew me and my personality you wouldn’t think of adoption because he is so like me. He also has personality traits that are like my husband. Only if you knew him extremely well would you realize there are a few ways in which he is nothing at all like us.

Why am I sharing this now? Because there are things you just don’t say to the friends or acquaintances you know who are trying to adopt.

There are many families adopting now days. God calls many to adopt internationally and others domestically. Many adopt after having children biologically. And of course many are not able to conceive and choose adoption to start and grow their families. It is a beautiful thing no matter how or why adoption is chosen.

Why am I sharing this now? Last night a twitter friend who is going through the adoption process tweeted this. “Please don’t ever ask adoptive parents why we aren’t ‘birthing one of our own’ – please. There’s so many things wrong with this question.”

I do not know the person who said this so I am not going to assume their motives. But as an adoptive parent my heart hurt for my friend who heard these words. There are just things you do NOT say to an adoptive parent.

If they are adopting to start a family please do not ask them why they can’t have children. For the love  of all that is good please do not ask. Some will be open about sharing the reasons, but others may not be. After what is most likely many months of trying and testing they really do not want to discuss yet again the medical reasons that stare them in the face daily. Unless you have been through it personally you have no idea the emotional aspects that go along with infertility. They have those close to them they will talk to when they need to and want to. If you are a close friend of someone adopting you will know if they are comfortable with you asking.

Do not voice your concerns or share horror stories about the type of adoption they choose.  Whether they choose a closed, semi-open, open, international, domestic through the state or private or private agency I assure you they have anxieities. They know the pros and cons of each if the professionals they are working with are legitimate.

Please do not debate how much better breast feeding is than formula. An adoptive mother is just as sensitive emotionally as a mother who has just given birth. Arguing about nursing versus bottle fed doesn’t help the insecurities that are inherent to being a new adoptive mom.

If you know they adopted their only child do not ask them when they are going to adopt another child.

And lastly never, ever, ever refer to the birth parents as the “real parents.” Just as with the nursing aspect we do not need to be made to feel as if we’re not enough. If you say this to me I can assure you profanity will escape my mouth. And yes I have had people refer to my son’s birth mother as his real mother. While I thank God every day for her and the gift she gave us I am a real mother. I changed the diapers, gave the bottle and fed him. I wake in the middle of the night when he is sick, chauffeur back and forth to activities, hug on, love on, read to. All of the things mothers do.

This is just what I have experienced personally. I am sure there are many others.

I also realize that most people are sensitive to the adoption process and most things are said unintentionally and for some adoptive parents these things may not bother them.

Really just think before you speak and be sensitive to the words you use and how they will be received. If you are in doubt it’s probably best to remain silent. If an adoptive parent is open to sharing they will soon enough.

What are some other things you would add to this list?  

Life: Unmasked

  • hayley @ the tiny twig - November 16, 2011 - 6:59 am

    thanks so much for sharing this. i have a close family member who got to choose the family her baby girl would go to…and she just adores that woman for raising the little girl she couldn’t.ReplyCancel

  • floyd - November 16, 2011 - 7:26 pm

    I’d say that is a pretty good guideline to follow. Birthing a child does not make a person a parent anymore than wearing a pair of sunglasses makes a person cool. One has nothing to do with another.

    I often refer to my daughters. In fact that is exactly what they are, even though the oldest two have a dad from my wife’s previous marriage. I’ve been there dad for since before at least the youngest can remember.

    I don’t have a problem sharing the truth. I also don’t want to take away anything from our relationship either.

    I appreciate your honest open post. Your son is a gift from God, and God’s blessed him with the parents He selected for him before the foundations of the universe.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel @ Grasping for Objectivity - November 16, 2011 - 7:59 pm

    Great post, Amy. I’ve found that people just “make conversation” way too often. I do it too. Anytime you’re just trying to fill space, you run the risk of being ridiculously insensitive. Having gone through infertility myself, I remember it all too well. Some people just assume you’re being “selfish” and chide you for not having babies already, having no idea that you’ve been doing everything you could to make that happen for years. All that to say, I’m sure that adoption is the same way – there are so many things that people just “say” to fill space, and probably half of it comes across horribly. I am so sorry for that.ReplyCancel