Friday, November 4, 2016

Those Business-Minders

Last week, I chased my youngest up and down the sidelines as my oldest ran in his school fundraiser. We cheered, we threw snacks, we dazzled onlookers with our delightfully cheerful mother-son relationship. (Because, you know, it was one of those days with very little screaming so I had a smile on my face and he was going full-on dimple.)

As happens just about every time I am in public with one of my two younger sons, I was approached by a total stranger.

Said stranger felt perfectly comfortable assuming he was adopted and asking me where he was from. (Some days I dream about asking people how they conceived their biological children just to illustrate how inappropriate their intrusive questions are. If I continue down the route of my current grumpiness, this will happen soon.)

I shared, tersely, that he was from the United States and tried to make it clear that more questions about his story weren't particularly welcome. I don't know this person. And his story is his own story to tell if and when he chooses it. Given that his only three words at this point are Mama, Lawnmower and Elmo, I don't think he'll be sharing any deep thoughts on his adoption any time soon.

She went on to share that she knew someone else who had adopted three kids because of infertility.

And then she said this:

"Later, she got pregnant with triplets. We like to say that since she saved three kids' lives, God decided to give her three more kids to reward her."

Me: ........

At that painful and horrifying moment, my youngest decided to attempt to make a break for it out onto the track with 100 running fourth graders, so rather than respond, I sprinted off after him assuming I should intervene and prevent his imminent trampling injury.


Holy Crap.

Friends, let me make some things abundantly clear because, frankly, there is a whole lot of really seriously awful shit in that statement.

(1) People who adopt children are not necessarily (and possibly rarely) saving someone's life - the stories of why and how adoption happens are as varied as your own biological children's birth stories. Adoptive parents are not heroes any more than biological parents. God does not look down upon them with some kind of special favor and say "Wow, you are really an extra special kind of human; Well done, Creational Me." This kind of thinking is why the adoption industry is fraught with corruption and why birth parents are frequently villified or mistreated and, horrifyingly, ignored as a part of the adoption triad. It's saviorism and it's inexcusable.

(2) God does not work this way. He does not play our game of "let me be awesome and see how God gives me good stuff in return." Infertility is a serious biological issue that causes tremendous emotional ramifications for those who suffer it. And it is only one reason of many that someone might think of adopting, to be honest. Thinking that God would reward someone with a biological child because of her willingness to adopt is flat out blasphemy. My God is a God of grace who gives good gifts when He chooses to. NOT because we have done something to earn or manipulate them into being.

(3) And speaking of biological children, why is a biological child the ultimate gift? Her statement makes the assumption that the happy ending exists because they ultimately got pregnant. I cannot state enough how frustrating that way of thinking is. How hurtful it would be if my son could have understood what that woman was saying. "See...your mama brought you home and God was so pleased with her good works that he finally gave her what she really wanted." So many people during our own years of waiting on adoption would say "Oh, you know that once you bring that little guy home, you'll finally get pregnant." Um, no, we don't know that. And whether or not it happens that way for anyone is completely beside the point. Our children are our children - all three of them are amazing gifts to us. We are happy with our family's story

If I had known this woman better, I might have attempted to walk back over and share all this with her, once I got my speech (and toddler) back. But, more than likely, I was never going to see her again and when your toddler is attempting to eat dirt as a hoard of older children run by him, you concentrate on that and just move on. You sigh internally and hope the next stranger who approaches you just tells you your kid is cute and moves the hell on.

So friends, when you see a family that maybe looks a little less "typical", it's ok to just smile at them and say "hi." It's ok not to ask intrusive questions. It's ok to just be a normal human who minds his own business. My guess is if you eventually become friends with that person, he or she will open up a little more about their family's story. Just like you might about your own.

When, you know, you have a relationship that invites that kind of intimacy.

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