I’m Not Offended

1401-22-21

November is National Adoption Awareness month. I’m sentimental about this month since two years ago on November 1st, we told the world that we were adopting. And only two short months later, our precious twins came home, and we became an adoptive family.

I have so many thoughts about adoption. Maybe in my tenure with Houston Moms Blog, I’ll have a chance to discuss them all with you. The thoughts and feelings I have about adoption are already a mile long and will grow deeper and wider as my kids grow older and we continue to navigate this journey as a trans-racial adoptive family.

I’ve seen posts circulating around the internet of “What TO say to an adoptive family.” “What NOT to say to an adoptive family.” “If you wouldn’t say it about a boob job, don’t say it about adoption.” etc… You know what I’m talking about.

While I do read these posts and give an agreeing head-nod, ninety-nine percent of these posts are snarky in a tone that breaks my heart. I’m not offended. I agree with them. But I think of how it makes other readers feel. I wonder if it keeps someone from asking questions about adoption because they’re afraid they may end up in a blog post. So now, every time I’ve gone to write a post about adoption or infertility, I’m careful to examine my own tone because I don’t want people to be afraid to ask me questions. The internet is inundated with posts dripping with offense, and I don’t want to join the crowd.

While my reaction isn’t offense, my goal is advocacy and education. My heart is saturated with love for these precious twins of mine, their birth family, and the other people in this world with the title of adoptive family, adoptee, and birth parent.

As an adoptive parent, I’ve learned that I shouldn’t be easily offended. Most of the world doesn’t understand adoption – the process, the verbiage, the dynamic as a family or adoptee or birth parent. And that’s okay to not understand. If you’re reading this and you don’t understand, that is okay. If you use a wrong word, that’s okay. If you ask a touchy question, that’s okay. It is okay to ask questions. If you search your heart before you ask a question, I’ll promise to answer gracefully. Because I’m aware that not everyone understands this world, I’ve learned not to make my first reaction to be offense.

My first reaction isn’t offense; however, my first reaction and top priority is protecting my kids.

With that, comes gentle correction and guidance.

When someone asks, “Are they your own?” I’ll gently correct and say, “All my children are my own.” There’s no difference between biological and adopted children. The only difference will be the journey that the children who came into our family through adoption will face as adoptees. But for us as parents, the love is the same – always has been and always will be.

When someone asks, “Why were they placed for adoption?” I always say, “That’s their story that’s private for them to share should they choose to.” I’m not holding out because I’m being spiteful. I’m holding out because it’s not my story to tell; it’s a private part of my children’s lives.

When someone tells me “they’re lucky to have you as a mom“, I’ll use gentle correction and probably quote this entire post to give this well-meaning stranger a glimpse into my heart as a mama.

If someone uses negative adoption verbiage, I’ll simply point them to the positive alternatives.

My number one priority is protecting my kids.

Correction isn’t offense. Correction is protection.

I never want my kids to feel like they aren’t deserving of love or a family. I never want them to feel like because they are adoptees that there is a difference in the love they should receive. There is no difference. They’ll have issues to process all on their own, without others needing to bring it to their attention. So my goal, as their parent, is to bring awareness to others, in the most gracious way that I can.

I’m not offended by you, I’m simply an advocate for my children.

Adoption is complicated. We ARE a normal family with normal parenting issues and struggles. But there’s an added element of being an adoptive family. And an added element of being a trans-racial family.

Don’t think that adoption is a fairy-tale.

There is so much beauty that comes from so much pain. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t look at my children and think of the woman who gave them life and what that was like to place them into my arms to be their mother. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of the challenges that my children are going to face as adoptees. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of how we are going to navigate life as a trans-racial family. Yes, our story is beautiful. Yes, we celebrate our children as a part of our family without second thought. Yes, our adoption story is filled with so much joy.

But the joy of adoption cannot be celebrated without acknowledging the loss and heartache that was sacrificed to make our family whole.

I’m going to stop there since I could keep going, but it’s already a meaty post. If anything, know my heart is full and isn’t offended. Offense creates barriers and keeps us from diving deeper in relationships with one another. It restricts us from asking the hard questions and going beyond “how-about-that-weather” chit chat. Offense stands in the way of us getting to know each other and the meat of our stories. Those stories could be the foundation for a strong community – the community that we need and the community that makes our lives rich.

2 Responses to I’m Not Offended

  1. M November 5, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    I only get actually offended when people tell me that my kids aren’t “really” mine. I’ve had people insist on it, and even get angry and call me a bad person, like I’ve stolen someone else’s children. Others roll their eyes and act like I’m playing some kind of semantics game.

    I don’t *love* it when people go the other way and tell me what a saint I am for loving my own children, but at least that’s intended as a compliment.

    • Hannah B
      Hannah B November 5, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      Oh man, I’m sorry you’ve been faced with people that argue with you. I’ve received eye rolls from people who think it’s only about semantics and I’ll admit that it ruffles my feathers because we know it’s absolutely not just about the wording. And I just have to keep reminding myself “Grace, Hannah. Grace.” Phew! It’s hard!

      Thanks for your comment!

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