Mar 19, 2011

Over-sharing or Under-sharing

As I've written before, Jeremy and I had been in the adoption process for almost two years. Our agency was/is terrific at encouraging it's prospective adoptive parents to at least consider what life will be like after the adoption. They gave us a heads-up to the types of attitudes, misconceptions, and falsities that surround the adoption event. They also helped equipped us with lots of accurate information and powerful, positive examples to the beauty of adoption so that we would be able to stand strong in the face of negativity or have grace when correcting a misunderstanding.

This equipping began almost as soon as we signed the paperwork to begin our adoption process.  At this time, we decided that we were open to adopting a child of any racial decent. We felt/feel that the love for children that God has given to us and the desire to be parents is not influenced by the color of a child's skin or their cultural background. However, we were not blind to the fact that being a family of mixed cultural backgrounds would have been noticeable.  Therefore, while we waited we started preparing ourselves to be a family that "looked different" from most other families.  We read books, articles, blogs. I researched skin and hair care information and looked into local school diversity statistics, etc. However, the biggest, most constant preparation was the almost daily development of what would be our "adoption conversation" - I guess more accurately, it woud be "adoption conversations." There is the adoption conversation that we have with our child, the one we have with family and friends and the conversation we would have with random people on the street that ask about our child. For two years we had been prepping ourselves mostly for the latter conversation. The former two are mostly dependent on the actual situation that would come our way. 

Our dilemma was this - how do we be open and positive when we talk about our adoption, but not be too open and lose all sense of family privacy? We were helped in the knowing that we were not the only ones to ever have that question, in fact we have a few close friends that are in the very same place. We knew that they would be open to helping us make the transition necessary to be a multicultural family. [Man, I feel like this part is dragging on forever, but it is important to the question I now have been struggling with.]

Ok, so I said all that to give the background for what I spent a few weeks working out in my brain ... our son looks like us! Now, don't get me wrong, I think he is the most adorable thing in the world, I know that God planned him for us and we are so in love with this little boy, there is no hesitation what-so-ever in claiming him as our son. But, I didn't plan on him looking like us! :oD I struggled with feelings of guilt that I wasn't sharing at least some of our adoption story each time someone said, "He is such a cute baby!" "He's how old? Wow, you look good (obviously assuming that I had given birth)!"  As if maybe it would appear as though I was trying to hide his adoption. It took me a while to realize that our family story was just that, our family's story. I don't have to share it with everyone I come in contact with and I can choose when and if I share it with those outside the family.

Jer and I are very firm with keeping some of Micah's story just for him and letting him learn how to decide when and if he shares it. I think it's kinda funny/neat that God had me experience just what I'm sure Micah will go through once he learns all about himself.  I hope that as I learn I will remember to share with him in his joy, excitement, confusion, frustration...whatever he may feel at that moment he decides to take ownership of his adoption story.


Kim said...

Beautifully written. You are all so special!

Linda said...

I like the idea of it being "our family's story". The important thing is Micah is given to you by God (like all babies).