Lo, there are going to be people in life that just don’t get you. No matter how hard you try, not everyone in life is going to like you or the things you do. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we all have to face. Sometimes, however, it’s a lot harder to face it. The more you care about something and have passion for it, the harder you take the criticism.
Admission: I hate the adoption criticism.
I thought I would get used to it, that I would let it all just roll off my back. But I’m not that strong yet, Lo. I’m trying to be, but I’m just not. And I will tell you why I’m not: because I love and care about you. I already have that mama-bear instinct to protect you at all costs. When people speak of adoption, they are indirectly speaking about you- but my mind makes a B-line from whatever they are spewing about right to your heart and soul. I spread my arms around the thought of adoption and you and get defensive to try to protect the very thought of you.
Lately we seem to be facing vitriolic criticism around every corner, and it’s only going to get worse with the more exposure we’re reaching. I understand that people have opinions, and our search for you and putting ourselves out there in the limelight that it comes with the territory. And do not get me wrong, I am more than willing to take the bullet for us to get our forever family. But what drives me crazy is that most of this feedback comes from people who don’t know or understand our story. They don’t take time to read my innermost thoughts to you. They don’t understand adoption, and yet they feel the need to spew their opinions all over other peoples dreams.
This is something we’ll have to face a lot, Lo. Unfortunately, not everyone understands or accepts adoption. I hope to help change that. I hope that when you’re older and you tell people you’re adopted, your announcement is met with love and understanding, not hate.
There is a life lesson in all of this that I want to drive home to you: Be curious, not judgemental. Be that way with everyone and everything you meet. Things are going to be different than your way of doing things or what you’re used to. That’s okay, in fact, it’s more than okay. It’s beautiful. Being different and diverse makes us an amazing pattern on a tapestry of humanity. It should not incite hate just because it’s not something you’re used to.
I want you to be curious, ask questions gently. Don’t form an opinion off of looks, culture or little information. Learn all you can, seek out the information and when you do form an opinion don’t push it on others for the sake of your own gratitude. Be an advocate for others. Never be a perpetrator of hate or injustice. Just because those around you are believing or not believing in something, I urge you to step outside of the circle of your peers and examine life for yourself. Form the opinion and view that is in your heart and mind, not theirs. God gave you your beautiful brain for a reason, use it for good.
I wish everyone had a mother that could teach them those lessons. But they don’t, and instead they push their insecurity and hate on those of us who are fearless enough to have dreams and share them with the world.
People are going to ask you these same questions, Lo. They are going to judge you for our views on life as well. Don’t let this ever get you down.
Let me explain the two biggest ones we’re facing right now- so in case you ever encounter them (which I hope if you do, it’s from people with a curious heart and not a mask of holier-than-thou hatred like we’ve experienced lately) you can answer them with our reasoning.
1. Why are you adopting independently/not through an agency or the state: We’ve gotten this one a lot, and sometimes it is out of curiosity, and on the other side of the coin we’ve heard people tell us that “something must be wrong with us” to have not adopted through an agency or the state, or we’re trying to hide something, or we’re doing something wrong or illegal. Let me assure you, that is not at all the case. Thousands of adoptions happen outside the confines of an agency or the state, and they happen that way for a reason. They are completely legal, done with the care and coordination of an attorney. The reason we are doing it this way is for your benefit, Little One. We want a relationship with your biological family. We want them to have a relationship with you. And I’m not at all saying that cannot or is not done through an agency or state arrangements, it most definitely is and often. But we want control of our marketing, we want control of speaking with expectant Moms. We want them to get to know us through us, not through a profile book (again, not every agency employs profile books or anything of that nature, some have direct contact). We’ve had to go through the same steps everyone else has, the homestudy, meetings with the social worker, the home exams, physicals, everything. The biggest reason is because this is what we feel in our hearts to be right. Other people feel that agencies are right for them: that is perfectly fine. Everyone builds their family in their own unique way, and that is to be respected and honored. Maybe one day we will use an agency- I’m no fortune teller (no matter how hard I wish it to be so). But for now, this is how we’re doing it- and I wish people would educate themselves and respect our decision.
2. Why are you adopting an infant? Why not an older child? This one really, really gets to me. I’ve been called a hypocrite numerous times in regards to this. I think the reason it gets me so angry is because it reminds me of another question we used to get before we started the adoption process: Why don’t you just adopt? (that phrase STILL gets to me). These questions are so hurtful because they minimizes the adoption process. They don’t take our feelings in to consideration. We’re not on a mission to save the world, we just want a family like so many others. Every time I hear this question I just want to ball my fists up and scream back in their face, If it’s so easy, why don’t you have adopted children/teenagers? Because it’s not easy! No matter what age you adopt a child from, it’s a hard, difficult process. I give huge kudos to families that foster, they are strong enough to put those children in front of their own feelings and know that while it may be difficult, it will be best for them to go back to their biological families when they are ready. I’m not in that positon right now. Maybe one day, but not now. I’m also not in the position to adopt a child who has had an abusive past (not saying that all foster/older adoptive children have), or an older child who might not bond with us well. It’s a whole other process to adopt an older child. It requires a lot of other emotional needs for both the adoptive parents and the child, and we’re just not there right now. We don’t want an infant because they are “cuter”, we want an infant because we want to have a family from where we feel comfortable. I’m not going to lie, Lo. I want the experience. I want the diapers, the late nights, the clothes ruined from burp-ups, the bottles and teething fits. Most parents despise those aspects of parenting, but I actually want that experience. Is that selfish? Maybe. But isn’t it selfish to think that just because you feel older children should be adopted that everyone should feel that way? Of course. Pot, say hello to kettle. I want to be in your life from a very early time. I want that bonding experience for you and me both. And if wanting what is best for our future child is wrong, then I guess that makes me a terrible hypocrite.
The point in all this is, we want to build our family the best way we see fit. I don’t come into other peoples lives who are posting pictures of their children or storm into baby showers or weddings or their birthday parties and scream at them, “WHY DID YOU BUILD YOUR FAMILY THIS WAY? HOW DARE YOU! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” Why do people feel they have the right to do that to ours? Why do they feel that just because we’re putting our story out there for awareness and advocacy that they suddenly are welcome to having a hateful opinion on our decisions?
I wish I understood, Little One. But I don’t know if I will ever understand hate or ignorance. But I do know that your Dad and I will teach you better than those people were taught. We are a family built on tolerance, love and understanding. I shudder to think that you would shut someone out just because they have a differing view than your own. People with closed minds don’t get very far in life, Lo. And I want you to soar.
I’m going to vow to myself to try and let these comments roll off my back, and focus on all the love and support we’ve recieved. There has been an immeasurable amount of good wishes and supportive messages coming our way, Lo.
And I’m not tell you this so that in years from now you can read back and feel bad that we’ve been through this, but I’d rather you read this and think, “Oh man, my parents weren’t joking about critical people with closed minds. I’m glad I was raised with love and tolerance.”
And bottom line? Haters gonna hate.
I know, you’re mom is a dork.
With nothing but love,