Saturday, May 15, 2010

Not the "A" Word Again

I want to be totally upfront: I love talking about adoption. I love following people on their adoption journey. I love, love, love watching all the miracles that happen in adoption. If you ask, God always shows up. Always. Read a few blogs (check out my favorites on the side) and you'll see some pretty awesome miracles. I also love the support of the adoption community.

Now with that said, when we were in Florida on Spring Break, Princess got a lot of attention. I wondered if people are curious about her because she's Chinese or because she has a cleft lip. Her grandpa says it's because she's so darn cute.

My kids love to swim, so we went to the pool every day. On our first day, an older woman jumped out of her chair and started talking about adoption. She had adopted several children and now was the proud grandma to several adopted kiddos. She had an amazing story, and honestly, I did enjoy hearing about it.

The next day, we went back to the pool, and she jumped out of her chair again and handed me something she'd printed out about parenting adopted kids. She went on to explain that she wanted to encourage me.

Her intentions were good.

Then the third day, she told me about a book she had worked on and wanted to send me. Again to encourage me about adoption. This is all fine and I really don't want to sound ungrateful.

But, and this is a big but, Princess is three years old. She is standing right there, and this well meaning lady keeps trying to encourage me about adoption. As if Princess is harder to parent than my two boys.

And to be fair, in many ways Princess is a little more challenging to parent. And I do look to other adoptive parents for guidance, especially well-seasoned parents. But these are not things I want my daughter to hear strangers talk about at the pool.

I am not naive enough to think that her adoption will not have real, significant effects on her life. I get that. What I don't want to have happen is for adoption to be the only thing that defines her.

There is so, so, so much more to her.

By the fourth day, I avoided the pool lady.

I love adoption talk. But the pool lady taught me something. I want my girl to have the chance to swim at the pool without the "A" word coming up. And it's my job, as her mother, to protect her from those uncomfortable conversations and prying questions.

Oh, and I never got the book the pool lady promised she'd send me. But I do have a lot of pictures of my girl in the pool. I guess, in the end, she did end up just being one of the gang having fun splashing around.


  1. This is so what happened to me, when the Tongginator was the same age your daughter is now. Sometimes strangers might think I'm not comfortable talking about adoption (heh - my husband wishes), but it's really that the Tongginator is so much bigger than adoption. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a huge life event for her, and it shapes her, but it doesn't define her. And the Tongginator has made it clear that she doesn't want people "talking adoption" at her and around her all the time.

  2. That is so true. I feel the same way. Thanks for putting that into great words and sharing your experience.

  3. Yes, I totally agree!!

    My biggest gripe lately is this comment:

    "It's a wonderful thing you are doing."

    I plan on writing a post addressing this...