Normal and Natural

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! NORMAL.

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.


Julie Martin said...

I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from! As a mom of an adopted child myself,I can tell you, you will NEVER think of those beautiful faces as anything but yours. Over the years I have heard the same comments (even from 'family' if you can believe that!)but we know that children grow IN your heart, not UNDER your heart!

Keep your head high and remember... you are going to be mom and dad soon and that is all that matters!


Yarnsmith said...

Thanks, Julie! I appreciate that!

Katherine said...

Chris, it is good that you want people to understand how you feel. It is right that you would want to educate us. I would imagine that most people who say 'normal' or 'natural' are not trying to hurt your feelings. Myself included. Personally, I think you are doing something great and, perhaps holy. You are taking two kids into your home and giving them a family. It isn't a normal or natural thing, just as Christ adopting us into His family is not normal or natural. It is a great thing. It is loving and amazing. Does it make your kids abnormal, or not natural? No, it makes them much-loved and wanted. You have gone through much time and waiting for these children, and I'm sure you love them even now, though you've not seen them face to face. You and Lee will make awesome parents; you will have some of the same struggles that people who bear their own babies (perhaps you could tell us what the PC term is? I forget). You will have some of the same joys. Anyway, all this to say that most people (I imagine) who say stuff to you are not trying to hurt you, but love you.

christophertadhankins said...

I have no idea what it would be like to either adopt or BE adopted. I can only speak to the level of love I have for my own children. And from what I've learned in the short time I've known you and Lee, I have no doubt that you will cherish and love these children as if God left them on your doorstep at birth.
I agree with one of the other posters here, some people probably don't mean any harm with their comments, they're probably just unsure of how to tread lightly or be more p.c.
Sorry we won't see you guys again this weekend, we'll be in St Louis, but looking forward to catching up the following Sunday if you're at church!

Ann said...

Very well said by the other poster....Children do grow IN your heart, not UNDER your heart! You and Lee will be fantastic parents, and just like those of us who gave birth you will have awesome days and then you will have stand at the bottom of the stairs kicking and screaming days (if you know what I mean ;-)...but at the end of any of those days, they will be YOUR children...no matter how they arrived! Praying for you and Lee as the days draw nearer to meeting those little people behind those great big smiles!