So on Saturday while I was waiting in line at the post office a sweet older woman behind me in line decided to strike up a conversation with me. She began talking about her family and how she wanted to take her adult daughter to Italy to see her brother. She kept on talking about her children (all grown) and then she smiled at me, and said..."You're a mom arent' you?" then before I could answer her she smiled at me, touched my arm and said. "Yes. I can tell. You look like a mom."
It was not the first time I had been asked if I was a mom or had kids, but it was the first time that somebody told me they could tell I was mom. And, you know what, I feel like I truly AM a mom already, and hearing it felt really good.
Her comment made me so excited and I went on to tell her about Randy and I's process of adopting a child from Russia. While she continued to smile at me, I saw that her expression had changed a bit. I could see it in her eyes...and then, she said to me, "Oh, honey. You need to be REALLY careful. Your child could have problems..." And that was the end of our nice moment, and my feelings of warm & fuzziness. I just smiled, nodded, and that was the end of my conversation with her. And unfortunately, for the moment my feelings of joy and excitment.
She had been a very friendly, sweet, woman and I know she meant well, but in just a sentence she made me feel like now, all of a sudden, I was less of a mom.. or no, worse, my child was somehow less worthy as if I had a biological one. : ( So, I had nothing more to say to this woman. What I wanted to say to her was.. "Well, my child's problem is that right now he/she is alone and living in a baby home halfway across the world!!!!." Or to say, "Well, I expect that my child is going to have some problems.. it's called, Um. Life?!!!" I don't know any child that grows up and goes through their life problem-free?
As I stood there, I began to really think about what she meant by this and I knew that she meant that my child would somehow be damaged by being an orphan. I know there are developmental delays, possible attachement disorders and malnutrition that may come with my child.. yet I truly believe once these children are in a loving home with the attention and love and care they need, they will thrive! Besides, we all know plenty of families that DID NOT adopt their children internationally... and still have things they are dealing with. Truth is when you decide to become a parent, whichever path you take to get there, you never REALLY know what is coming do you???
I could have turned around and told her about my friend who's biological child has a rare genetic disease that causes him to spend more time in the hospital than he is at home. Or, about all the students I have had in my first grade class over the years! The ones who have to take medicine every day for their diabities, asthma, and ADHD??! Or, the ones that are allergic to pretty much every food imaginable, and let's not forget all the kids that have been diagnosed with some form of Autism, or have learning disabilities? These children were born and raised by their biological families, yet still had problems. The truth is, you never really know what's going to happen with your children do you? My parents had two biological kids. My younger brother and me. I was the picture of health and had no academic issues. Drew was diagnosed at age six with Dyslexia and then at 25 with Leukemia. Here I am living my life, about to start a family, and he passed away from his illness at 27 years old. So do you ever really know? There is no such thing as problem-free. Especially when it comes to kids. All you can do is love them with all your heart and hope that they have a happy healthy life.
I know there are people out there, and even people who really care about us and love us that are not going to consider our child.. Truly ours. I mean, I have had SO many people say to me that maybe after we get our baby from Russia, we'll get pregnant and get to have our "own" child. Or they tell me about this one or that one that got pregnant and had two or three kids after they adopted. Then, there is the "well, maybe after you have this one, you guys will consider trying again for your own?" Ugh!! We are going through hell and high water to get our child home with us, and they are talking to us about trying to have a child biologically after he/she is home!!!! Hello!!!
Although I smile and keep my mouth shut, I really just want to dope slap them and say, "So, what you are saying is that this child is not going to be ours??!!" Or "Wow! How about you be happy for us that we are becoming parents and be excited about THIS child!!! Yet, they are already talking about how we should try to get pregnant again after the baby is home?!! It blows my mind that people would or could think that I or Randy would love this child any less because it didn't come from inside me or because we didn't "make it".
Seriously? I don't understand that way of thinking at all!!! This child that is coming into our lives, is a true blessing! He/she is NOT a replacement for the pregnancies we "lost" OR a "stand-in" until we can have one biologically! That is NOT our plan. Our plan is to have a family, to be parents, to love our children and we don't care how they come to us. We will love and cherish them with all our hearts. We both truly believe that THIS is the path we were meant to take to parenthood, and not just this one time! We don't plan to "try again" once we have our child home. When we are ready to have another child, and financially can afford to do it, we will be adopting again!!! It actually hurts me to think that people feel that if I am not carrying a child for 9 months or if our baby does not have our DNA that we will somehow be less of a family? Or worse, that somehow adopting a child doesn't count?!!! Yet, I know I need to let it go. Not everyone is meant to do what we are doing I guess, and not everyone gets our decision, and I guess they don't have too. This is what we want to do, this is how we are meant to become parents!