Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Family Affair

We recently went on vacation with Hubby's family and of course the first question from everyone was "When are we going to have little people from you guys?" Every single person pulled us aside or brought it up at the dinner table at some point throughout the ten day vacation. Hubby has always been great at fielding these questions for me and he went to bat against his family for the millionth time. We got lots of wonderful advice and many suggestions like take a cruise or forget about it or stand on your head.

This time was different though. We got brave this time and tested the waters a bit with adoption talk. One of our main fears for a long time has been his family's reaction to us adopting, especially if we chose to adopt internationally or if we adopted a child of a different race.

At first the conversations were okay. Everyone agreed that it didn't matter if we adopted or where we adopted from. They all encouraged us to do what we felt was right and assured us they would love any child of ours no matter what.

This lasted about two days.

Then we found ourselves pulled aside from time to time to discuss the issue. "Why couldn't we at least adopt in the US?" "We'll support whatever you decide, but we really wish you would choose a child that would fit with our family." We understand your feelings about adoption, but don't you owe it to yourselves to try again for a biological child?" "We'll love whatever you bring home, but you owe it to the child to try and find one that looks like you."

We both fielded these questions as politely as we could. I was proud of hubby for not losing his cool. He held his own which surprised me because I often feel like he doesn't listen to me much about this stuff.

It took about a week after I got home for everything to really simmer.

To be fair, we have enjoyed many opinionated conversations with my grandmother too and at one point I decided I would refrain from any family expansion attempts until she had passed because I couldn't bear to have her say something to me or my child. Since then I have realized that it isn't up to her or anyone else for that matter. This is our child. A child we want and ache for every single day.

It infuriates me to have someone give me permission to parent a child much less under certain conditions that make them feel more comfortable! At the same time my old fears surface. I am terrified to bring a child into our family that may be subjected to these opinions and feelings. How do I do that? Is it fair to my child? Do I truly consider these close minded opinions on which child will be most preferred in our family? I want my child to feel equal and loved and cherished by every one of his or her family members. Even though we see most of these people two or three times a year, I don't want my child to feel different or unloved in their eyes. I know in our house, no matter where our child comes from or what our child looks like, that child will be ours, is already ours in God's eyes. The stork just took a different route.

Has anyone else dealt with these issues? How did you manage to keep your anger and frustration at bay? Did you take their feelings into consideration or did you find a way to tactfully tell them to kiss your tush?


Amanda said...

Wow. I would not have been able to keep my cool with all of that. They should be ashamed of themselves for saying anything. I think it is a natural concern, particularly from the point of worrying about how the child will be accepted by the community that you live in. No one wants their child to suffer discrimination, particularly not from family that should love them. I don't have any advice, but if it were me, and I had made it to the point of adopting, I would probably seriously reconsider the terms of my relationship with those people... or just not having a relationship.

Deb said...

We have to worry about family opinions and comments as well. Some more than others. I think for us if there was only 1 person that was on the peripheral that felt a certain way we would ignore the option. Unfortunately that is not the case. One of the worst offenders has actually passed on recently but we still have several in all four of our family units. Our biggest concern is our parents so we made a choice when we started looking into adoption that we would avoid situations that would make them extremely uncomfortable. It was out of respect for them and our relationships with them. Will it limit our adoptions situations? Absolutely but since there is really only one scenario that we are eliminating it wouldn't be as bad as if we said only a child of our complexion/heritage. I know it sounds horrible but our families are already complicated enough with drama at every turn, I don't really want to place a child into the fire. No, it isn't fair but it also isn't fair that we can't just build our family the way the majority of people can. I admire those couples/individuals that do not need to worry about others in there choice but unfortunately that is not our world. We know that even if an adoption situation comes up that doesn't yield a child that looks like us there are still going to be comments, opinions, and battles for that child to be accepted. It's awful but reality.

Deb said...

Ooops, that was supposed to say ignore the opinion if there was only 1 person.

Elisa said...

Sometimes family members especially older ones can be the most inconsiderate and least understanding concerning sensitive things like infertility or adoption. I was diagnosed with PCOS 9 years ago. My husband and I still talk about having our own biological children, but we also talk about adopting. I know we would find some opposition from both of our families. But, I think whenever we take the leap to adopt...we will do it on our terms. I'm sorry to hear that some of your family are so inconsiderate concerning your desires to adopt and even what your adopted child might look like. I think you and your husband's happiness is more important here. I wish you the best of luck.