Keeping Up Appearances
People often ask how things are going with Lindsey, and the truth is they are going really, really good. Better than I could’ve imagined, in fact. But even if I had given birth to Lindsey, there would be times when she would act in a way that frustrated or aggravated me. I feel like if I mention those times, people will think it’s because she’s adopted. It always seems to be the negative stories that get publicity — rather than the stories with happy endings. So I feel that if I vent about something with Lindsey, people will take it as a reason NOT to adopt, and I want to encourage people to consider it, not discourage them!
The thing is, I don’t want people making assumptions that aren’t true, so I tend to gloss over things sometimes.
It’s not just with Lindsey that I do this; I’ve done this for years. I can remember Kathryn having a meltdown in the church parking lot at three years old, and I assumed everyone would think it was because I was a divorced mom. Soon after that, I started working at a preschool, and realized that pretty much every three year old in the world has a meltdown every now and then, and that anyone who has ever had a toddler would understand that tantrums happen. (Not that it’s any less embarrassing for the parent at that particular moment!)
Sometimes people expect that there will be trouble in a family like ours. I do have some close friends I can discuss parenting stuff with, knowing they realize these are things I deal with just because I’m a mom — not because I’m a divorced/remarried/blended-family/step/adoptive parent. There are challenges, but usually not the ones you’d think, and when we let God lead our family, it all goes really well. But, doesn’t that apply to EVERY family?
Other friends feel this way, too: one of my friends is also the mom of an adopted child, and for a long time, she felt that if she complained about her two-year-old acting like a two-year-old, people would think, “You should’ve known what you were getting into when you decided to adopt this child.”
Another friend is expecting her seventh child. She and her husband do well enough financially, but they require their kids to raise their own funds for mission trips, summer camps, and things like that. (Which, by the way, I think is a fabulous idea even if they were rolling in money!) She said she feels like people sometimes think, “You’d be able to pay for those things if you’d stop having children!”
Sometimes we do act judgementally, even if we don’t realize it, but much of the time I think we simply don’t trust each other enough. Why do we do this to ourselves, and to each other? Let’s get real with each other, and support and encourage each other! I want to be the kind of friend others can talk to without concerns that I am judging them in any way, and I want to stop assuming that folks will think the worst.