Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heather's Helpful Handbook of Hurtful Things Not To Say....

1) You sure have your hands full! What I say is "yes we do, and our hearts are too". What I think is, "man , that's a good one, I hadn't noticed, and I surely have never heard that one before". What I wish is that people would stop pointing out the obvious. If I look a little flustered or am carrying 2 kids and chasing down a third, please don't remind me how 'full' my hands are... lend me one of yours, or at least just give me a knowing (non-condemning) smile.

2) Are all of these kids yours? We don't get asked this nearly as much as you think.. I'm pretty sure that's because someone is calling me "Mommy", "Momma", or "Mom" at a rate of once every 10 seconds. You don't have to watch us very long to figure it out! My answer when asked, though, is "absolutely"!

3) Are they brothers and sisters? Now this one bugs the tar out of me, especially when asked in front of the kids. Because of course they are brothers and sisters! They live together, eat together, fight together and love together. They are true siblings in every single sense of the word. It undermines everything that we are trying to instill in them to even care which ones are blood related, so please don't ask... it truly does not matter!

4) How do your real kids feel about you adopting so many more? Another doozy. They are ALL my real kids. They all have 8 brothers and sisters. They all share a bathroom. They all sit rather cozily around the kitchen table. They all 'sacrifice' some extras. No one asked Jamison, Jorah, Stella, Beatrice, Elias or Ishmael if they would like to be adopted. We were very open about our desire to adopt with Nathan, Hope and Emma, but we did not ask for their permission. We are the parents, we are led by The Lord to lead this family. Incidentally, however, they are as passionate about adopting as we are and are already on us about who our 'next one' will be. They remind us that there is room for one more around the table and in our van.

5) What happened to their parents? I understand the curiosity, really I do. But this is one area that is private, each child's story for themselves. They will learn the entire story when they are older, and they can make the choice who to tell, and how much they will share with whom. Something about the children being orphans at one point in their lives makes people think that they should be able to know all of the details. It's true, at one point in each of their lives, they didn't have anyone advocating for them, anyone to protect them from danger. But now they do, they have Steve and I. In order for a child to be in an orphanage, or placed for adoption, something very traumatic and hard had to have happened in their young lives. Their life here will be hard enough (learning English, learning a new family, being in a trans racial family) without people whispering behind their backs about their pasts. So please just don't ask, it matters, a lot, to THEM but we just aren't going to be telling YOU. Please try to be understanding about this.

6) Where do they all sleep? I want to tell people that we have plenty of room, because, hey, they all sleep on mats laid out in rows on the floor. Or maybe that we believe in co-sleeping and they all share our bed. The question does carry with it a certain amount of doubt that we can adequately care for all of our children, or at the very least an amount of curiousness as to how big our house is (therefore how much money we make). Most of the kids do share rooms, but we have space for everyone. (My next post will be "What does a home with 9 kids LOOK like", so stay tuned).

Now most people are just curious. They ask questions because they are interested and care. They may come across as insensitive or rude. But I have to remember that they are not educated in politically correct terms. They haven't been made to attend hours upon hours of training to in order to be deemed worthy of raising their children. So I smile, answer their questions as honestly and forthrightly as I can. I know that we are a conspicuous family when we are out, but to us, this is normal, this is just our family living life together.


Julie said...

Nicely said, I think this part is harder than the actual process! Mainly due to your kids being present when asked most of the time.

Lauren said...

Welcome back. Two posts in two days...wow. Thanks for the tag...I'm a bit stumped though, so it might take a day or two.

Heather A. said...

Amen, Amen, and Amen again. Hang in there sister. I'd like to tell you that it gets better, but it doesn't! LOL

You're doing what you're called to do, so don't let others with preconcieved ideas of what makes the perfect family get you down. Your family is beautiful.

April said...

I must apologize, as I think I probably have said some of those things out of curiosity with the attempt to adopt in the future, you are my guinea pig and hours of training :-). Thanks for posting, and I will get hopping on my tag post, although I fear I am quite boring

Amy said...

Great post Heather! Great to hear from you- I can only imagine how busy life is now with 9, but I'll bet you're having a load of fun in addition to the massive loads of laundry!