I have been wanting to write something about adoption and what is and is not appropriate to ask or say. Things got busy and I just let it slip.
Blake's on call tonight and I have the computer to myself! So I am going to take a moment to share some thoughts, but this very well may be an on-going process.
First, let me say that when you are talking to me about our adoption I can totally tell where your heart is when you are asking questions, just by your demeanor. I don't want people to be so scared they might offend me that they don't ask questions...we want to share how God has blessed us through adoption. Please know that walking through this myself has taught me so much, so I am not pointing fingers. I just know so many of you have wanted to ask questions and have not known what's appropriate! We think this is a miracle and we want you to be able to experience in it.
So, in saying all of this...I hope this is helpful and answers questions for you.
1. Always remember how incredibly important our children's birthparents are to us. We will respect them in every way possible. We ask you to do the same. These birthparents are FOREVER a part of us and our children. In general it's probably more safe to just not ask questions related to their birthparents. We will give you the info we want you to know about them. As with anyone, as Christians we are to be gracious and show love to everyone, especially someone as heroic as a birthparent. Nuff said, tho I could go on and on here!
2. Before you ask a question, ask yourself, "Why do I want to know this?" If you are wanting this information so that you can judge the situation, then you probably should not ask it. We need no judgement, our children need none either. If you are judging the birthparent, then you are judging our child and therefore us as well.
3. Please do not refer to our children as "real" brothers. This makes it difficult to explain the next child that we will adopt, are they going to be a "fake" sibling. Come on guys! They are siblings because we adopted them and they are both now Shockleys, as will be the rest of our crew. The appropriate term is biological siblings.
4. On the same note, but even more painful...please do not refer to our children as "not your own". This happens more than you would ever imagine. These are our children, just as much as God gave you your little miracles, He did the same with us.
5. Please do not identify/label our children as "adopted". It's obvious that they are adopted, we are very open about this. They know they are adopted, we talk about it almost daily. But just as I never wanted to be identified as a diabetic (and still don't), please do not introduce our children as "adopted". Their adoption is not who they are, but just a part of their story.
6. Owen is almost 3. He understands much more than most adults think he does (Cooper does as well). Please do not ask me questions about their adoption or adoption in general when they are in the room. You might as well look down at those sweet brown eyes and ask them. In fact, I did that the other day when someone just asked right in front of Owen why he was placed for adoption. He clearly stated that he did not want to talk about it and we ended the conversation. Please remember how confusing it is for a child to understand why they were placed for adoption. Help us respect our children and their hearts.
I love you all! Thank you for walking through this with us. Thank you for loving our children and our road to calling them Shockleys. Thank you for loving adoption with us, even in the midst of it's trials. I hope this all came out right and was not offensive. I want it to be informative and helpful.
I know there will be more that comes up from time to time and I promise to post about it again.