For three months now I've been gracefully trying to figure out how to write this post with tact. I'll be honest and tell you that it isn't easy. Mostly because we are talking about my daughter. But also because I am striving so very hard to break down the barriers of adoption. In fact one of the biggest reasons I haven't just stopped blogging on this blog is because I don't feel like God is finished with it yet and I firmly believe that God wants to open the eyes of those who have never adopted. So if you have never adopted, please open your mind and heart to what I'm about to say.
It began on our way home from Georgia. I noticed the glances in the airport, and the looks of confusion when a white mom brought a dark child to her breast. Even though Xiomara was pretty light-skinned right after birth (something that is very common), people knew she wasn't my birth child. It's not that I want to hide it, but I also don't appreciate the furitive glances and the stares. Now mind you, because my heart is turned towards adoption, I do realize that many times you may be for adoption and just naturally curious. However many, while still for adoption, lack the tact in what to say to an adoptive parent.
The number one thing I get asked is "What is her nationality?" I would love, love, love to be snarky and respond that she is American just like you. However, for the most part I have held my tongue. First of all though, I'd love to correct you and say "You mean her race"? If you are going to have the audacity to ask me that question, at least ask it correctly. But in all seriousness, what does it matter what her nationality is? Or her race? She is but a babe with darker skin than her mama, daddy, and sisters. But the color of her skin doesn't say or define who she is on the inside.
Also, please do not ask me about her birthmom. I have the upmost respect for "J" and it really is none of your business what she is like, how old she is, if she was "clean" in her pregnancy, etc., etc., etc. I could go on and on here with the insensitve and sometimes clueless comments or questions I have gotten about her birthmom. It all comes down to this: It's none of your business. Her past is her past, just like your past is your past. We refuse to define her by her past, and I hope you can too.
Please don't think we are "special" or she is "blessed" to have been adopted. Can I just say right now this one really grates on my nerves. There is nothing "special" about what we did. Xiomara is also no more "blessed" than our other daughters just because she is adopted. Once again, adoption does not define her.
Don't "remind" me of the better life Xiomara has with us. We seem to get this one a lot and it leaves us scratching our heads wondering why you are telling us this? Are you thinking we feel guilty for taking her away from her birthmom? We don't. In fact, "J" gave her to us. Willingly. Was it hard? You bet. Did I feel sad for her? Enormously. But that doesn't change the fact that we have no idea what her life would have been like, except for the fact that whether here or there, she would have been loved.
Which brings up my next point which is a HUGE one. Yes we love her! Just as much as we love our biological daughters. She feels a part of us, because she is a part of us.
At this point many of you may be either:
b. shaking your head in disbelief
c. feeling dumb because you have said one or more of these things to us
d. doing all of the above
We honestly have gotten all of this and more. Let me just say that if you answered c. above, don't feel bad. We've had lots of friends and even our families say some interesting things to us and we realize that a lot of it is ignorance. Thus, we write this post.
The reality is we've only just begun and it sucks. I hate that I'll be fighting for her and these dumb comments the rest of her life. Yet, I love who I am fighting for. I love what I'm fighting for.
I don't plan to stop anytime soon. The barrier has to be broken. And it starts with you.
Would you please do me the favor and pass this on by E-mail, Facebook, or Twitter? More people need to hear this. To understand it!
For more great reading on this subject. Hop over to read about How much did YOUR kid cost?