Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Loaded Question

I know, I know, it's been a long time since I last wrote about the most common questions The Boss and I hear about adoption. If you read my last post, from Monday, you'll know that I have spent much of the last two weeks cleaning, anti-bacterializing, and running laundry. I'm fairly certain the last of the germs have been vanquished from The Gang's abode. So I'm going to try to jump back into intelligent discourse about the themes of adoption.

"How Did You Know
What Kind of Adoption
Was Right For You?"

We get this a lot, mostly from very well-meaning, simply curious folks.  I'll get to the answers I give to those sweet folks in a minute. If you will allow, I have a bit of a soapbox to step on regarding the "not-so-well-meaning" questions that I get. The ones that come with a barb or a dig.  You know the type. Whether it's about an adoption, or a parenting technique, or a choice of what car you bought, you have heard "the tone" in another's question. And you know how that made you feel. Even though it's not completely answering the posed question, I am really feeling the need to share this darker side of the "commonly asked questions" conversation. It's made me far more aware of how I question things, how I sound when I inquire in a conversation. Take it for what it's worth - my opinion borne out of my experiences...

Occasionally, we hear this question from folks who seem to have a bit of an agenda behind their words. Often, we can tell simply by their tone or their posture that there's "more" to their question than the simple words they've chosen to inquire. Often, the question comes loaded with the "With all the kids stuck in our state's foster and child services programs, why do you feel the need to cross the ocean and take one of their kids home?"  Spoken or unspoken. Or something like that.  An agenda. One that I'm still working to understand and prepare myself for - as I know it happens and happens often, especially when you are a more "conspicuous" family like ours. (By that word, "conspicuous" I only mean that it is fairly obvious when one sees The Whole Gang together that Li'l Empress is not biologically related to our gene pool.) 

So far, it's only happened to us on a few occasions. However when it does happen, I'm a tad embarrassed to say that I still don't have a good, prepared response for them. Growing up, my mom was GREAT at preparing a response to sticky situations and being comfortable saying that and only that.  I, however, am still working to acquire that particular skill. When I am in my groove, rolling along my day and a question like that comes at me, I get rattled. I blather on and sound defensive. Or uninformed and ignorant.

But here's some things I WANT to say. Some things I am working on rehearsing for those that come to the question of international adoption with a bit of a chip on their shoulder or an agenda at hand:

  • "We have always tried to be open to any kind of adoption that the Lord might lead us toward. But once we heard about the stability and accessibility of the China program, we knew in our hearts that that was it for us. It felt right."
  • "I know a lot, certainly not everything, about domestic adoption and for our circumstances, it didn't feel like the right answer at the time. I am open to learning more about it, should our circumstances change."
  • "I don't know, have you had much experience with domestic adoption? I'd love to hear your experiences and learn more about it."
  • "When researching the many different kinds of adoption, we just couldn't get past the way that we kept being drawn to the different Asian nations. China felt like the best fit."
Those are just some of the things that I think about when I feel as if our decision to seek out international adoption, and the China adoption program specifically, is called into question. I can say them in my head, and I do. And with varying degrees of sweetness and sincerity, (or not!) depending on the circumstance. But I'm still working on how to say them and then say NOTHING else. Because, my feeling is this: if you really want to know my family's story, you will come to the questions with no "tone" to your queries. You will seek me out and sincerely question and then listen. The "tones" that I detect in the insincere, agenda'd questions are ones that I need to deflect. My family's story is precious. And I need to be better at not casting it out there for just anyone. Especially those who will not receive it as precious. I'm working on it - especially considering that with this coming adoption, we will be more "conspicuous" both because of our size and because we'll be going en masse as 8 whenever we leave the house together. 8 is a lot.  :)
Stepping off my soapbox, now.... Hope you got my heart in that one. It's a hot topic, especially now that folks are starting to hear that we're adopting again. Put THAT issue (and all its surrounding issues!) with the fact that we already have 5 kids (and all THOSE additional issues!), and for some reason, folks start short-circuiting and the "good manners" wire between their brain and their mouth seems to be the first to fry.
 Heh, heh. I crack myself up.
But.  I've gone on too long already. So come back tomorrow and I will give you some of the answers I've learned along the way toward answering the sincere inquiry of how we knew what type of adoption was right for This Gang.

How's that for a cliff-hanger?
Not as good, and not nearly as suspenseful
but not bad, eh?


Aus said...

Oh I know that question - I've had it come as plainly as "Haven't you heard that charity begins at home?"

I am - however - maybe more like you mom - and tend to zing back. On that particular day I was 'in the groove' - and my response was "What makes you think adoption is charity? You may go away from me now."

Ok - not polite - but precise - and when their "good manners" wire fries mine does too! (and that was a good one!)

Looking forward to tomorrow - and now I'll go read Steph's (yeah - I read you guys first!)

hugs - aus and co.

Selma said...

I love the thought of 8 kids in a home. We take having or adopting children with the thought process of 1 at a time, after that we'll go from there. My mama's heart knows we are not done having children. They are such a blessing, such a joy.

Now, at some point, I hope you address the whole expense of adoption. I'm working through that in my heart right now and I'd love a perspective on it.

I'm enjoying your series, keep writing!!!