Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Snappy Comebacks

When we first started out homestudy, one of the ten thousand eight hundred and forty two documents we had to read gave some of the most indispensable advice we've received yet. It basically said, "Have a snappy comeback ready for some of the questions people will have about your adoption." It's crazy what people will say/ask. I guess it's a lot like those insensitive statements that people make when you're pregnant. You know, the ones like, "are you sure there aren't two in there?" or "Your nose is HUGE!" or my personal favorite "I knew you were pregnant before you told anyone because your hips started spreading out." (that one was from a co-worker when I was preggers with Clayton).

Let me preface by saying, we know a lot of people think we are crazy for adopting. We also know that they think we are especially crazy for adopting a child with special needs. We are totally fine with that. People thought Noah was crazy when he followed God's command to build an ark. We feel like we have received a command from God to adopt, so to us ignoring that call would be crazy to us. So I'm not upset or mad that people say insensitive things about our adoption, but I just want make sure that I use that as an opportunity to explain what we are doing and gently call attention to the more insensitive comments, especially the ones that may hurt Clayton or John Sergeant when they are old enough to overhear and understand.

Here are some of the comments we've encountered and my "snappy comebacks." I'm sure I'll be adding to this list as we get closer to our travel date and after we get back to the states. Feel free to comment and add your own!

Question: "Have you thought about that a child with DS will be your child for life?" (meaning they may not gain complete independence...this one is by far the most common we have received)
What I want to say: "Why no, we never thought of that. Thanks for sharing your insight. We went into this not knowing A THING about DS, so people like you really help educate us about what to expect." (Dripping with sarcasm)
Snappy Comeback: "All of my children will be my children for life."

Question: "Isn't it expensive? How are you going to pay for that? You know you could use the money to help a lot of kids instead of just one if you donated it to a charity."
What I want to say: "That's none of your business!!!"
Snappy Comeback: "The cost is minimal considering it will prevent a human being from being warehoused in a mental institution. We will pay for it with money. We have chosen to grow our family through adoption and we will continue to support charities of our choosing regardless of our decision to adopt."

Question: "Are you not able have more children of your own?"
What I want to say: "I'm assumming by "have" you mean produce biological children. If so: Are you serious?!? You really feel entitled to know that very personal detail of our lives? And since you are already so concerned about us "buying" a child, you should understand that if we pay that much money for him then he's ours." (again, dripping with sarcasm here)
Snappy Comeback: "John Sergeant IS our own child." And sometimes I'll add the following just to make them realize how inappropriate it is to ask ANYONE that question. "I was diagnosed with a chronic illness when Clayton was three months old. It makes it risky for us to have biological children. However, that did not play into our decision to adopt. It is something we have considered since we were dating. But since you asked about my reproductive health, I'm giving you an answer in the hopes that you will understand how personal and painful that question might be for some women to answer."

And since we're on the subject of reproductive health:

Question: "Well you know what's going to happen now that you are adopting. You will get pregnant."
What I want to say: "Do you know anything about how babies are made?"
Snappy Comeback: "We have taken measures to prevent that from happening. But if it did, it would be a blessing, just like every other child on this earth."

Question: "Have you looked into adopting from (insert country here) instead of Russia? My third cousin twice removed adopted from East Bumfuzzle and it was cheaper there."
What I want to say: "We aren't really discount shopping for a t.v. set. This is a human being."
Snappy Comeback: "We have already committed to a specific child and have carefully considered any cost associated with his adoption. There are a lot of factors that played into our decision besides the cost."

Question: "Aren't you concerned about Clayton (his reaction, not getting attention that he is used to, not having a "real" sibling, the list goes on and on...)?"
What I want to say: "Would you be asking this if I was pregnant??? I'm almost certain not."
Snappy Comeback: "John Sergeant will be his "real" sibling. We have thought a lot about how Clayton will adjust to a new sibling. We are preparing him for the addition of a child to our family. We expect that he will be a great big brother. We are trying to raise him to be compassionate and loving, and we feel like growing our family through adoption models those qualities."

This is a statement, but it's probably the one that bothers me most: "I'm glad you aren't adopting a (biracial, black, or other ethnicity besides Caucasian) child. Is that why you are adopting from Russia?"
What I want to say: "You are ignorant."
Answer: "There are children of all races in Russia, just like in the United States. Children are children, regardless of their race. It just so happens that we are adopting a Caucasian child from Russia."

We don't expect everyone to understand or respond positively to our decision to adopt. Most people have no clue about how much preparation, reading, research, etc. goes into the decision. I think when those people hear someone say, "We're adopting" they automatically think that it was because that person/family wanted to be like Angelina Jolie. Or that the person/family made the decision rashly without much consideration. Newsflash: that's ususally not the case at all. In fact, most adoptive parents are far more prepared in their decision to have children through adoption than parents who have children the "normal way" (to use the words of another insensitive person). In my opinion, going through all the preparation to adopt is a far more labor-intensive process than getting pregnant, no pun intended. (And I've done both). I have even had someone leave a negative comment on this blog about our decision to "adopt a retard so we can pay someone else to raise them." Not sure what was meant by the "paying someone else to raise them" part. I'm guessing daycare (which by the way John Sergeant will not be attending but even if he was...)? Again, nunya...as in "none of your business." I can't imagine what misery that person must live in to say something so evil and ignorant. However, I do hope that we will give gentle answers to such people and help them to see how a little sensitivity goes a long way in talking to adoptive parents and their children.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Birthday John Sergeant!!!

John Sergeant's newborn pic. Not sure when this was taken, but it is the earliest pic of him we have.

Today Sarge turns two. I thought it would be a good time to show off the few other pictures we have of him. It is breaking my heart that he is somewhere in an orphanage and can't be celebrating with his forever family. I wonder if they even acknowledge birthdays in the orphanages. I feel certain that they do not; but a little part of me hopes that at least his caregiver gave him a birthday hug today. It's been really bittersweet for me today, thinking about how different it will be this time next year. I am so excited for him to get here, but it is so sad to think about the days that he will spend in the orphanage until then. So say a little prayer for our Sarge today! Next year we will have a big party to celebrate!

Friday, September 11, 2009

If You Think Adoption Can't Change a Life...

Read this article about a young man, Alex, with CP who was adopted from Russia. Alex was originally named Sergey, just like our little Sergey, who will be known as John Sergeant when he gets home. Holly, get out your kleenex! :)


And make sure to watch the accompanying video:


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Doing Back Flips

We have loved listening to and reading the words of Francis Chan lately. What a gift he has for boldly speaking God's word and challenging us to live courageously for the kingdom! Greg and I both feel that God has used his messages to speak to us on God's will for our own lives. This is a short clip of one of my favorite analogies I've heard from him. Also, let me give a plug for his book, "Crazy Love," which I just finished last night. It is so full of scripture and I love the simplicity of his writing. May God continue to use Francis for his glory. I want to be doing back flips on that beam...how about you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another Heart-Felt Thank-You

We have more money in our Reece's Rainbow fund. Thank you so much to whomever donated. We feel honored that you would help us in our journey to get John Sergeant home! We may never know who you are; how Christ-like that someone would give generously without any expectation of recognition. Your rewards will be great in Heaven. Of course, you already know this.