Friday, July 22, 2011

Words Matter.

"Are they brothers?'
"Why were they given away?"
"Are those your real kids?"

When we were first home, these questions enraged me. It seemed so insensitive. Somewhere along the way, I found some grace. Now I usually answer the question with a little humor and kindness. "They became brothers when they were adopted." "They weren't given away, their birth mom chose a better life." "All 4 of my kids are real." It became important for me, and Ryan too, that we can use words to educate the non-adoption community. To the outside world, I know that people don't deliberately think that the choice of words like "give away," and "real" matter much. No one means to imply that my sons were not wanted. The gal from church didn't want my boys to think Molly and Blake were more cherished because they were born of me. That family in the checkout line of Target didn't intentionally say that a sibling is defined by bloodline.
I also know that sometimes the people in our community, our family, our circles think that we make too big of a deal about this issue. I am SO aware of this. So most of the time, that is why I just keep my replies lighthearted. But it matters. Little (smart) ears are listening.
I was cutting potatoes in the kitchen and the entourage was spread in various corners and counters around me, chatting. The conversation was insignificant, but Etienne's statement was huge. He said, "My birth mom didn't want me, right mom? This stopped us in our tracks and it's been lying heavy on my heart since. We have never, ever said something like that. We have always told E and Zeke that their birth mom LOVED them. That she wanted them to have food, clean water, a home and a school.
So if a 4 year old says "My birth mom didn't want me," it may just be words now. But when my boy is 11, will he think he wasn't wanted because he wasn't smart or handsome or fun? No one should fill unwanted. And that is why I correct your words

1 comment:

  1. You are sooooooo right and on the other hand, that is sooo sad... first of all because people say such things to begin with! Second of all because little ears ( I think esp. smart little ears) hear them and then begin to take them in as the truth! So, keep on doing what you are doing and hang in there! I love YOUR answer to the boys. ;-) Hang in there!