Thursday, October 18, 2007

Changing Our Adoption Language

I'm home today because C has the stomach flu. J got it Monday night, C got it Wednesday night, things aren't looking good for me tomorrow night. I am so tired of someone in our house being sick. I think someone (mostly me and J) has been sick every week since the end of August. It hasn't been this bad since C was a baby the fall of 2002. I'm wondering if C is carrying a bunch of new germs home and infecting us? I hope things turn around here quickly.

The family that we heard on Saturday had a letter included in our notebooks that the agency gave us. It had some good ideas on how to handle questions from others about adoption. She also shows how to change our language to make adoption positive and not something that sounds negative. None of us are familiar with this process so we need to be educating ourselves as much as possible. We have an opportunity to become advocates for adoption and adoption educators every time we discuss this situation with someone else. Most people have good intentions, they just don't realize how some of their questions/comments come across. This is our (when I say our I mean our entire family Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, friends, etc)chance to educate them on what a miracle adoption is.

My and J's goal is to have our children (including C) grow up knowing how much of a blessing they are and how blessed we are to experience the best of both worlds. I think the hard part for me will be wanting to tell everyone my child is adopted just because of how great it is, but yet not making adoption be the first thing someone thinks of when my child is mentioned. It's going to take some work to figure out the balance.

Ways to turn negative into positive or just to avoid uncomfortable situations:
The baby is given up or put up for adoption.....Say the baby is placed for adoption or the birthparents made an adoption plan
What about her Real Mother/Father.....Say, you mean Birthparent
Birthparent kept the baby.....Birthparent chose to parent the baby
Natural Parent....Biological parent
Where did all that red (black, brown, etc) hair come from.....Say it runs in the family
Do they have real siblings....Say you mean Biological siblings. C will be their brother, any biological siblings will be referred to as biological.

This next one is a big one for those adopted and adoptive parents. People are just curious by nature. A common question is what is the baby's story. People will want details on how the child came to be placed for adoption. This is something that is very private and not everyone needs to know the full story. We will even have to sign an agreement with our agency saying we will keep this information private. Once we know the whole story J and I will choose what others need to know. The rest will wait until our child is old enough to understand then it will be their decision to share their story with who they want. It is important when you are asked by others to explain that every baby has a story and once ours is old enough they will share it with who they want.

On Saturday the 16 year old girl was asked how she felt about adoption and she summed it up this way. If her earthly family loves and accepts her this much even if she isn't their biological child - she knows how much greater her heavenly father loves and accepts her.

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