Nothing strikes dread into the adopter’s heart more than comments from the uninformed. Do we use it as a teaching moment? Do we ignore it and answer as if nothing happened?
I’ve received comments (even today) about “natural” or “normal” children: normal as in “not adopted”. I would hope no one would ever say to a child something about their joining our family by adoption is “not normal” or “not natural.” And, yet, saying these things in the positive immediately draws to mind the idea that “if I am not this, then I must be the opposite of it.” I throw the term “real parent” into this same mix.
I have to tell you, this dance of words takes PATIENCE, beyond anything we have previously encountered. It took all my power to hold my tongue. Lee asked if my eyes dilated like a cat about to pounce. (I think maybe they did.) I am sure no malicious was meant in this case, but that horrible word!
What is natural or normal anyway?
Jesus himself was adopted by Joseph. Jesus is listed in the genealogy of Joseph. Does that mean that the adoption made Jesus Joseph's TRUE SON, with all the rights and privileges, regardless of biology? Something to think about.
The Bible also says that True Religion is looking after widows and orphans. If that is our mandate from God, maybe that will turn our ideas about “normal/natural” on its head.
I guess I will continue to walk the line between educating, assuming no malicious intent, and ignoring bad behavior. And, I suspect, I will learn more about being humble, about being patient, about letting things go.
I realize that we are doing something extraordinary. Nothing like this has been done in our immediate circle before. I want to keep the communication open about adoption… I want people to understand.