I was at a bridal shower a couple of weeks ago for a good friend and I sat with a woman who isn’t a close friend but we hang around some of the same people and I enjoy her very much. We started talking and she said “I really enjoyed being your facebook friend while you quit smoking, it was really funny” we then started talking about other fb topics. Of course Little H, my favorite topic always, came up.
She asked some questions about my being so open about infertility and adoption and I told her that I thought becoming or not becoming a parent walks a fine line between private and public. These choices and trials feel very private between two partners BUT everyone can witness your success and struggles. It’s also an area people feel they can comment on and ask questions about whenever they want. They don’t know you just lost your baby and they ask you why you’re not pregnant yet or what’s taking so long. Maybe you don’t want to have children and they ask you questions regarding your fertility or your reasoning. They ask you what’s wrong with you when they hear you’re adapting and maybe you just feel adoption is a part of your story. It’s clear no one is out to hurt or discourage you or make you cry the whole way home from Thanksgiving dinner but it happens anyway. People tend to be less invasive if they know that they are being invasive, they also let you keep some struggle to yourself if they know you’re having one.
I told her my two reasons for being so open, the first I’m sure being the same as every other person with an adoption blog, to inspire or challenge or move someone else to do this. Just one more family would make a HUGE difference, just ONE MORE MAKES ONE LESS! I also want to keep my friends and family informed and in the know about what’s happening with this adoption. I want to share the details of this part of my life.
We talked about how questions are wonderful and welcome but TACT is a must. There are better ways to ask people things and also some questions are just inappropriate no matter how tactful you are. Here are some questions that could have been asked a little better.
- Are you ever going to have a real baby?
- Hey Amber I was just wondering if you’re going to tell her she’s adopted right away? She might get mad at you later if you keep it a secret.
- Can I come with you to Congo I’m really in need of a vacation, and a tan, o and they make good baskets right?
- Does your family like black kids?
- Don’t you want to get married ever?
- Have you thought about how difficult adoption is?
- Why don’t you take care of our own, adopt from this country?
Wow right? I told her how I’d really like to answer these questions though I don’t.
I would like to answer like this, What do you mean “REAL”? Little H is not pretend, I will be able to see and smell and touch and hear her, my hand will not swish right through her like on ghost. She is a living breathing person with emotions and movable parts. And I am pretty sure keeping the adoption a secret from a 4-year-old little girl who is much darker than her mommy who has memories and no knowledge of English could be tricky. I would have to have the Internet destroyed, brainwash her and everyone else I know and remove her memories. And yes of course everyone is welcome to come to Congo with me for a vacation. I am sure the children at the orphanage won’t mind you setting up your lounge chair and getting your ipad and suntan lotion out. Maybe the guys with machine guns can rub it on your back for you while you sip on a martini or margarita.This is not a vacation hot spot, I am not going on safari. I am picking up my sick, scared and starving child at an orphanage in a 3rd world country while trying not to get typhoid or malaria. My family likes kids though I have not actually asked if they like “black kids” specifically so I guess we’ll find out. Yes I want to get married, single moms get married all the time. Yes, obviously I have thought about how difficult adoption is, I have been living it, thinking about it is handled, thank you. And my favorite for last, why don’t I take care of our own? O boy, who is our own? Aren’t we ALL people, no matter if you’re religious, spiritual or a man of science there are legends, fables, fairy tales, the bible, old folklore all talking about some sort of village theme. WE THE PEOPLE are ALL a part of this global village, a child is a child is a child is a child is a child. I started out on the road to foster care adoption but the need in Congo moved me! I hope to foster/adopt someday but right now this is what I’m suppose to be doing. I do contribute to organizations and children’s services right here is my neighborhood and state and country and I’d like to ask some of the people who’ve asked me this insane question how they are “taking care of our own”?
In short (after the long of course) please tread lightly have some tact and keep your audience in mind. Don’t say in front of someone adopting a black child, “o hey did you see that black gal up the road was pregnant again” unless you’re going to start yelling out everyone’s color when you talk about them. And don’t ask someone you don’t know well how come she’s not pregnant yet because you never know if her 3rd round of IVF just failed. Please remember that sometimes the reason people go so public is so they can keep some things private.
One last thing, I love all of my friends and family very much and if you are reading this and have asked one of those questions or said something like that to me, (most likely not because these comments are from strangers) please don’t take offense to my answers. I love you and I know you were not trying to hurt or irritate me. You couldn’t have known, there is no way.