Shortly after bringing home our second child from China, I had one of those moments. Since our first international adoption in 2007, our family had grown accustomed to the second glances at the grocery store, park and school functions. Because, as my daughter says very matter-of-factly, “Our skin doesn’t match!” Anyone with transracially adopted children knows that when you sign those papers, you are also signing up to be a walking billboard for adoption. I had enrolled my youngest two (Chinese) kids in a daytime gymnastics class. My husband was at work and my oldest (bio daughter) was at school. This was the first situation where people only knew me and the Chinese contingency of our family. In chatting with the other moms, I noticed something was different…no probing looks and no adoption comments. I also seemed to be oddly included in discussions relating to pregnancy, birth and babyhood. Interesting. Then it occurred to me. Everyone assumed that these were my biological children and that my husband must be Chinese (he most definitely is not).
A few weeks went by like this and I found myself enjoying the anonymity; basking in the idea of being completely unremarkable. Then one day we were discussing my son's small size and someone asked, "Was he a preemie?" I paused, I stammered, then, as if on cue, my little guy darted off. By the time I sauntered back to the group, the conversation had shifted to another topic. But I couldn't get the interaction out of my head. Why didn't I want to tell the truth? Why didn't I just say, "Oh, he's adopted and I have no idea if he was a preemie." Probably for a couple of reasons. First, there is certainly a component of grief in adoption. For my adopted children, I was not the first to hold them, smell them or kiss them. There are times when thinking about this makes me overwhelmingly sad. Secondly, not everyone believes that adoption is a valid (and beautiful) way to build a family. Most of the time this does not bother me, but that day it did. To be honest, I feared being exposed as some kind of mother-impostor. Sounds a little ridiculous now. And in case you’re wondering, I did eventually come clean with the women in my gymnastics class and was not stoned or shunned in the slightest.
Whether or not my fears are based in reality, the world can be lonely place for adoptive moms and dads. Experiences like this tend to leave me with one conviction; we desperately need connection with other adoptive parents! I am so thankful to find it in God's church. Here in Indianapolis there are 14 adoptive families and our backgrounds run the gamut: domestic, international, foster care, special needs, newborn and older child. A couple of years ago we got the idea to start meeting together as a sort of support group. Not regularly, just here and there. Then we started exchanging resources or quick advice in the fellowship (or perhaps even tears over coffee). And guess what? As it turns out, I'm not the only one with insecurities or puzzling emotions. And neither are you!
It is our prayer that this blog will become a source of encouragement for adoptive families all over the kingdom. A way to gain some inspiration, find resources and make connections with others in your stage of the journey. Maybe you are thinking about embarking on your own adoption journey. You are also in the right place! Hear from professionals in the field as well as other families who have adopted or are in the process of adopting. Thanks for joining us and we hope you’ll check back often. Happy connecting!
Chat Room for Forever Families
If you are interested in joining a private chat room to meet other disciples who have adopted children. Please Click Here and fill out the form. As soon as we have th room up and running we wil contact you.