Friday, November 1, 2013

Just Like the Rest of Us

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the questions that people ask you when they find out that you're adopting. Over time, Jarrod and I are learning to handle those questions with grace and patience. But after the initial questions, I'm continually struck by how little people are willing to say to you once they know.

A couple weeks ago at church someone approached me and said words that have resounded in my heart on a daily basis since then...And I've decided that I want to share my thoughts on that.

Sadly, there is something about the adoption world that feels isolating from the rest of society. Please don't hear me wrong - yes, we have found an amazing community of people that have experienced adoption and inferility that can walk with us through this process in a way that few others can. That, in itself, has been such a blessing I never expected in all of this.

But there's also a very large part of this adoption process that feels incredibly isolating.

When someone is pregnant, everyone has a million exciting tidbits to share or questions to ask of the pregnancy and the plans for the baby. Most people could talk for hours about a pregnancy, their experience with it, the ultrasounds, birthing methods, etc. ... the list goes on.

However, I've noticed that, after the initial questions of 'why adoption,' the conversation ends.  

No one knows what to say

They can't relate so they stop talking.  Period.

Even some of the people that are closest to me haven't asked me a question about our adoption in weeks. And it's obvious that they're not asking because they have nothing to say. They don't know what to say. So they ignore it or change the topic or stair at their shoes.

This is very isolating. And sometimes, it's very hurtful when it comes from those that you least expect it to.

Now, I don't want to force those that aren't supportive of our adoption or who don't care to know details to ask questions that they don't want to ask.

Instead, (and I think other adoptive moms would agree with me) I want those that are interested or supportive to know that it's okay to not know what to say. I'm not looking for someone to understand what this is like unless you've been through it. You don't have to be able to relate to my story for me to be able to share what's going on with you. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions just because you know that I might not always have a new answer to give you. No, there's nothing growing in my belly, therefore, not all days are different for me. Many days the answers will be the same: "Yes we are still waiting"..."No, I don't know who our baby is yet or when he/she will be born"..."Yes we are excited". But I don't tire of telling you what God is doing in our lives through this. He's doing a lot and I love sharing about it. I don't mind telling you our plans for the nursery or if we've gone shopping for any baby items yet. 

I simply want to feel like my baby is important even though I don't know if he/she has even been conceived yet.

So back to my story from church:

When this woman approached me after the service a couple of weeks ago, we began by chit-chatting about children, families and then a little about the adoption. She shared how excited she was to hear and read about what was going on. And then...she said something to me that touched my heart so deeply. She said something along the lines of the following:

"You know you might not be bringing a baby into your family in the way that most families expect, but nonetheless, you are expecting a baby. You should be excited! You're just like the rest of us."

I could have cried on the spot. 

Those words were unlike anything that I've heard from anyone in this process. I've had other adoptive moms tell me this. But I've never had someone who hasn't gone through this process be able to look at me, look past the initial questions and recognize that I'm an expecting mom too. To see that I'm just as excited as every other mother-to-be to bring a baby into my family. To recognize that my journey to motherhood might look a little different than yours in that I'll have interviews instead of ultrasounds and home visits instead of hospital tours. But I'm still a mom too.

To the woman who said this to me (you know who you are), thank you for touching my heart so deeply. Your words encourage me daily to push through the difficult moments and rejoice in the hope of someday bringing my baby home. Thank you for speaking so much truth into my life, whether or not you knew what it would mean to me. Thank you for letting the Lord speak through you. You have blessed me more than words can express.

For those of you who encounter couples at any stage in the adoption process, I challenge you to remind yourself that they're just like every other parent. That child is as much theirs as your biological child is yours. Don't feel pressured to have to say something specific in response to their story. Just rejoice in that story with them. 

Everyone has a unique story and that's what makes God's work in our lives so beautiful. I just challenge you to be willing to recognize the beauty in differences and the similarities in love.


**Disclaimer: I do not hold anything against those that don't know what to say in response to our adoption and that's not what this post is about. It's simply about awareness. I appreciate all those who are supporting us and have done what they can do show us that.**

1 comment:

  1. I love this Amanda! I can echo so many of the sentiments you shared and I echo your heart. I've actually been encouraged personally by how many people in our lives have asked how things are going and it has provided us a wonderful opportunity to share how God is working in and through this process for us. Others have come alongside in support of us and I truly think they just don't know what to say (much like they didn't know what to say in regards to our infertility journey. This in turn has provided us with unique opportunities to educate others about adoption, so that they are more comfortable). Nevertheless, its wonderful to be treated as expectant mommas cause that's just what we are!