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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unveiling Expectations in Adoption Series

This month I’m sharing lots of stories, tidbits, and helps on Adoption. November is a busy month preparing for holidays but it is also National Adoption month and I can’t overlook it. I’ve shared with you my Precious Daughter and My Courageous Son and today I’m sharing expectations from others.

 In life we all have expectations. Some expectations are okay such as drivers not driving drunk but sometimes unrealistic expectations can really hurt us if others don’t do what we expect of them. A major issue in adoption is having lots of expectations of others. When they aren’t meet it can create family and friend drama, discord and hurt relationships.

 Please, be patient with others around you. Most at the beginning won’t understand, most will be leery of your adoption, some won’t want it to happen at all, some will ask rude questions and some won’t help you at all. I’ve found that this  for the most part only happens at the beginning of your adoption process. People are uncomfortable with the unknown and adoption is a huge mystery and unknown for most people in your life.

Expectations from Others:

Expect others to not understand
When my husband and I first began telling people about our plans to adopt we were bursting at the seam with joy. We waited several months to tell people and when we finally told people we expected them to be just as excited. Some where but some were not. They didn’t understand why we were adopting. Why we would adopt before we had ‘biological’ children. Why we would want to do such a thing. Someone told us that these kids would never be ‘fowlers’ because they didn’t have ‘fowler’ blood. Relax, give them time. Pray that they would see the Gospel and our adoption  through Christ. My response, by the way to the ‘blood’ questions is that, “I’m a Fowler” for life. My family is the Fowler family. It’s apart of me and yet I have no Fowler blood. I was not born a Fowler but became one through marriage.

Expect others to be leery 
Expect family, friends, co-workers to be leery. People, by default are leery of the unknown. What will this look like at Christmas, you are bringing two more children in, spending has to go up, more birthdays, more room at the table and so on. Expect others to be leery of their behavior not being appropriate and scared of how they might act.

Expect others to not want it to happen
Believe it or not expect others in your life to not want adoption to happen. Again, many people just fear the unknown and what it will look like for them. With pregnancies they can expect the outcome, 9 months of waiting and then comes baby, and several years before dialogue and it’s a long process before they are older. With adoption you can gain an instant baby, three year old or older child overnight.

Expect others to ask rude, uncalled for questions
People will ask rude, uncalled for questions. Just expect it. Don’t let it bother you. Predict the questions, prepare for them and prepare to respond, creatively and with humor. In my hometown I’ve been met with lots of questions because my son is now 8. I’ve had people tell me, “I thought you disappeared your senior year!” I just laughed after the third time I heard that. I actually would have disappeared a few years prior to my senior year to give birth to a now 8 year old and I didn’t disappear, I just co-opted my senior year so I was only in school half a day! In some ways adopting a child from a different ethnicity is a little more easier for people to understand without asking questions but having a child from the same ethnicity and your yourself looking young anyway will prompt lots of questions.

Expect others to not help
When a mother is pregnant others will come out of the woodworks to help. They will bless them with showers and send meals after the birth. They will expect the family to be MIA for a while. With adoption don’t expect others to jump through hoops to help. Reality is it’s new for them and a lot of times they just don’t think of ways to help because they have never been in this situation.

Pray for them. Be patient with them and try to help them see why you are doing this, in a graceful manner. It’s easy to be defensive and angry that they don’t understand why you have such a heart for those who are orphans and how we were all once orphaned but don’t. Love them. Help them. Pray for them. Minister to them in every way possible. 

Tomorrow a follow up post will be posted. I want there to be an understanding of expectations of how people might react negatively but also encourage you with the ways people with react positively. I’ve had lots of the list above, the rude and hurtful questions but I’ve also had so many who have encouraged me with not asking ‘those’ questions and loving on me and my kids!

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  1. Jos @ Joyful{in}ChaosNovember 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Even though it is expected, I must admit, ignorance is just annoying. I must pray to work on my own attitude. Like I'm going to talk to a complete stranger about my childbirth planning…

    Bless you for sharing from the depths of your heart…

    1. I think my problem was that I didn't expect it at first! I was just totally floored and didn't care about my attitude. I thought everybody would be on board. The Lord has used those reactions of others to really define why I'm pursuing adoption, to give a defense for it and really love people who disagree with me. It's not easy, but it's worth the pain of loving others as Christ loves us when we're so blind about obvious things in our lives. Thanks for your comment and your love for adoption!

  2. Love this, Marcie! Thanks for sharing. I wonder sometimes what people truly think of us adopting a baby. I mean, we have 4 biological children, so why in the world would be adopt!? Maybe I don't really want to know what others think! I look forward to the comments or questions when I am {most likely} carrying around my black son with my 4 white kids! "Is he yours?"…ugh!

  3. I often wondered if the introduction of the baby, we think that people truly are. It's not easy, but it was blind to the obvious things in our lives, when Christ has loved us, other people's worth the pain of love.