First let me say that this is not directed at any particular person and I hope I don't offend anyone, but since this is my blog, I figure that I can get on a soap box every once in a while and tell you what I feel. Since we have brought our boys home there have been 2 phrases that people say that just rubs me the wrong way. The first is introducing our boys as "Garth and Carmen's adopted sons." There have been about 5 times where this has happened and I don't know about you, but that kind of drives me crazy. Yes, they are adopted...that is pretty obvious since they are from Africa and Garth and I are about as white as you can get. The fact that they are adopted goes without saying. I think the reason it bothers me so much is that I feel it sets them apart from biological children. I mean, have you heard anyone introduce their biological child by saying "and this is my biological child (insert name here)." Have you? No, I didn't think so. They say "this is my son/daughter..." Right now the boys don't SEEM to be affected by being called our "adopted sons" but if they hear it enough they may begin to feel inferior, like they aren't a real part of the family. They are as real a part of this family as they would be had they been born of my body.
The 2nd statement that I have heard a LOT more is how "lucky" the boys are to have us. First, I can't stand the word "luck." I don't believe in it. Luck to me implies that it was total happenstance that the boys came to be with us and I know for a FACT that God brought us together. It was HIS plan. Luck had nothing to do with it. That said, I know that the people who say this are trying to be complimentary but the reality is that I feel that Garth and I are the ones who are truly blessed. In order for the boys to be brought into our family, they had to suffer great loss. They lost the only family they knew, were sent to an orphanage where they didn't know anyone except each other, then sent to another transition home where again they only knew each other, where the people spoke a language that they didn't know, and they had to learn 2 languages at once (Amharic to be able to communicate with the caretakers in Addis Ababa and Jeremiah was also learning English to try to be able to communicate some with his future parents). After living at that home for several months, they were visited by complete strangers who they had only seen in pictures before. They spent about 10 days with Garth and 3 weeks with me before I moved them to Yebsabi Guest House with me...one more change. After about a month at Yebsabi with me, we then made the transition to Nebraska. I think you will agree that having all those changes at such a young age would not be considered "lucky." As exciting as adoption is, for adoption to happen there is some tragedy involved. In addition, if kids hear how "lucky" they are enough, they begin to feel like a charity case, like we are only doing it to feel better about ourselves. Our boys are cherished members of our family...they are NOT charity.
I posted a blog last year that talks about the do's and don'ts of cross-cultural adoption. I encourage you to reread it here. Even if you haven't said the two phrases above, there are several more do's and don'ts that you should be aware of.
I am now stepping off my soap box. Thank you for your attention.