Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Adoption Question I Wish We'd be Asked

I've come to the recent revelation that bringing up adoption is something of a conversation killer.  Most people don't know how to respond when we joke about it or just mention it so the conversation stops and goes nowhere.  This might be a good power to remember when I'm trying to get out of an awkward conversation.  It's not something most people like to talk about.

I think it must be like after someone has a loved one die.  You want to say something but often don't know the right thing to say or don't want to say the wrong thing or make the person feel worse.  I totally get that and have been guilty of it so many times.  You err on the side of saying nothing versus the wrong thing. 

We get asked, periodically, how the adoption is going.  There usually isn't much to say.  Certainly if something happened that we wanted to share then most of the people who ask would already know.  But I appreciate being asked because most people say nothing.  It's nice not to be forgotten.  It's not like we ever forget about it.  Adoption has been on my mind every day for 6 years.  I also have a little boy who prays multiple times a day that we find brother/sister and sometimes tells me he has found them (according to him, they are frequently hiding in the dishwasher).  (Social worker: We do not put children in the dishwasher.)

As much as I appreciate being asked about how the adoption is going, what I really wish is people would ask how we are doing.  That's it.  "How are you doing with the adoption?"  Some people would probably just get the trite "Oh fine, nothing is happening."  And some days that's the truth.  I think it about it every day but just like I think about what to have for supper or what clothes I'm going to wear.  It's a thought but it doesn't affect my mood.

Other days, that's not the story.  I know everyone has their own struggles and people generally hide the worst from people.  It is really hard to share the struggles we've felt since beginning this journey, just like I've never fully understood the struggles of others.  It's impossible to really get it unless you are in it.  I should probably take my own advice and realize a simple "How are you doing?" is better than nothing when I don't know what to say.
Pregnant ladies get asked how they are doing. I know they do because I ask that question often and I highly doubt I'm alone in that.  And I do want to know (within reason, one of the benefits of adoption is avoiding the gross/painful parts of pregnancy and childbirth.  Please don't tell me about any fluids being discharged from anywhere.)  But I would argue that adoption is much tougher emotionally than a healthy, normal pregnancy. For one thing, with pregnancy you know it's going to be over in less than 9 months.  We started the process for baby number two a whole 34 months ago with no near end in sight.  I might not have someone kicking my insides but that would be preferred to the emotional pain that has been so present lately.

Once it hit 50, I stopped counting the pregnancy announcements since we started trying to get pregnant.  That's family and close friends (We have a very fertile circle, apparently, or just a large family.  Both might be true.).  Every single one has stung, at least a tiny bit.  It's not that we can't be happy for other because we are, but until you've wanted nothing more for this long, well it's not going to be easy.  There might be some secret tears behind that "Congratulations!".  (Well, secret before I wrote about it on the internet.)

I truly appreciate every single time any person has asked "How's the adoption going?" because it shows they care enough to say something.  It shows that haven't forgotten we are waiting.  I know it's not an easy topic to bring up and I appreciate anyone who has risked the awkward conversation that may follow.  This was going to be a list of "things to say to someone waiting to adopt" but then I realized that this one question would sum them all up.  Other than "We have a baby for you!", this is what I'd most like to hear.

"How are you doing with the adoption?"

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