Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Let's get real - and - what I really want to say.

It's Tuesday, so let's be truthful.

When I first started this blog I wasn't quite sure what direction it would take. It was initially started as an adoption journey journal. Many people keep several blogs. One for adoption, one for homeschooling, one for recipes etc. I don't homeschool (yet), but I do have other interests and passions. Certainly not deserving or interesting enough to require their own blog however. So, I have decided that this blog will simply just resemble me! With a main focus on adoption, and other bits and pieces thrown in for good measure! I am a researcher at heart, granola wannabe, and I think I'm a decent cook - so from time to time, I will throw out some product recommendations, green ideas, and some recipes. Because...the truth is, I would do the same thing if you were sitting here in my kitchen having tea. (or wine ;)

Another thing which I have teetered back and forth on... is about how real I should present myself. And here are my thoughts.

You know those blogs... the ones where the person behind the keyboard eats glitter for breakfast and lunch?

Where nothing bad ever happens?

They live in a fluffy world where the glass is always full?

The ones that make you want to vomit in your mouth?

Yeah.. those ones.

Well, here's the thing... I don't think they help anyone really. It certainly can't help the writer to be in denial about reality - not ever able to unleash some dissatisfaction. (Every therapist will tell you, journaling is good... get your feelings out!) AND - I know, as a reader it really actually only makes me feel bad about myself or my situation.

No... the fluff doesn't rub off, it just aggravates.

What does make me feel better is to read that others share in my own miseries. To hear of their shitty experiences and how they overcame them! And let's be truthful - if you are not being honest and truthful about your adoption (etc.), your experience - then really, you are misleading others, and you are not helping. In fact, you could be causing damage. Most people blog to journal or to help and inspire others... Fluff does not have category. Sorry.

So, here I am in all my glory. (No bells, whistles or firecrackers... lol) What you see is what you get. In my everyday life I live authentically. I think everyone should own and accept who they are. I don't have a secret me, or a different personality behind closed doors or with different people. If I'm angry with the hubby for example, you will know it. If I am excited, I can't contain it. If I have a problem, I will voice it. The thing is - it is what it is, and nothing else. I'm not perfect and I'm not afraid to admit it. I have nothing to hide. I realize this may rub people the wrong way, and I'm okay with that too... cause I can only be what I am. I won't put on a facade because that's what I think you want to see. It's more important to me that I am content with who I am, and knowing that I live my life as genuinely as possible.

By my own admission, I suffer from an uncanny ability to be negative... so bare with me. I am a work in progress and have been making strides in being able to see things in a more positive light. Adoption, surprisingly is a good exercise... you have to be able to find the positivity and the hope, because without it, you have nothing.

Wow... now that I've rambled on way too long about myself, I would like to put out there exactly what I would like to say to people when they ask stupid questions.


The other day, I had a woman come to my door to pick up some stuff I was selling. We got on the topic of adoption. She asked where we were adopting from, and I no sooner got out, "Well, we were going to adopt from the US...." and she interjected with "Why aren't you adopting from the Ministry?".

Standing there with her lovely 2 yr old on her hip (after informing they that they are trying for another)... she announced she was a social worker and really started to make me feel as though she was grilling me for making the wrong decision. In her eyes, I should be adopting from the ministry and everything I had to say about it - she answered with, "That is not always the case...".

So, although my typical response is to be polite and defend myself, I need to strategize here. I want some real humdinger responses. I want to answer a question with a question. Not to be rude, or to hurt. But to make them think, "Did my mouth just say that?". Educate... not hate. I don't have these answers yet... I'm still working on it. BUT - I do know what that little voice inside my head says and what I feel like saying...

Said by social worker lady...
Why don't you adopt from the Ministry? Why don't you?

Said by my lawyer's legal secretary...
Why would you want to do that (adopt from Kenya)?

I don't know... 147 million orphans in the world. 50 million of them Africa. 1 in 5 will die before their 5th birthday. The lucky ones? They will suffer from famine and disease. They will be raped and abused. They will survive only by salvaging what they can from landfills and by selling their own bodies.

I guess you and your children are just darn lucky to have been born in the Western world so you didn't have to suffer the same fate - because if you were, you would really have to hope that there were people in the world who weren't as ignorant as you and actually gave a shit.

Said by family member...
Why don't you adopt from China? 

Do you know how racist that sounds?

Do you have a problem with Africa or Africans?

Why the HELL not Africa?

Said by someone I know...
Why do you want to travel and adopt from Africa? Africa is full of AIDS, there is a good chance your kid could have aids too.

What?! Are we living in the 80's here?! Your right, there are a lot of people with AIDS/HIV in Africa. Most orphans are AIDS victims. Although all the children are tested for HIV, there is a chance that they could have HIV. HIV is manageable with medication and many HIV positive people are able to live long, healthy, normal lives. It is almost a non issue nowadays. The only issue, unfortunately, is the stigma attached to it, created by people such as yourself. (Which unfortunately, is the only thing that gives me pause in considering adopting a positive child!) HIV positive children are just as deserving as any other orphan.

Now, as far as your worry about travelling in a country 'full of AIDS', you must be concerned that I will catch it. You will be happy to know that I do not intend on having sex with anyone there (other than hubby that is), nor will I be sharing needles with anyone. You will also be happy to know that outside of these 2 activities - my chances of catching HIV is MUCH lower than getting struck by lightning. That's right... you should be more concerned about the local weather patterns.

Said by family member...
There are many children in our own country that need help too, why aren't you adopting one of them?
Seriously? What do you really know about the children in need in Canada? Have you researched this? This is a typical, safe response. But actually shows your ignorance about adoption in the real world.

And, the last time I looked - this was our 'own' planet, and there are many children on our 'own' planet that are in need. There are several reasons why... but I am tired of explaining myself, so let me ask you this...

Why don't you adopt one of these children?

Why do you care where the heck I adopt from?

Wouldn't you agree that adopting a child from Africa is better than not adopting a child from anywhere?

And last, but not least... (words of wisdom from a dear friend of mine - 'xome')

Would you be so concerned about the way I build my family if this child came from my own VAGINA? No...? I didn't think so.


Sharla said...

The question I have gotten a lot in the past few years is the "There are so many children right here in Canada who need families. Why don't you adopt one of them?" drives me bananas! I wish I had the guts to say "I have already adopted three from here as well as my 2 from Africa...just how many Canadian children have YOU adopted?" I have thought it many times, but never actually said it! You are not alone in your frustration!

Thanks for linking up to Truth Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

ohhhh, i love you so!! lol, you took all the words right out of my mouth; happy to have REAL conversations with you and real friendship. Lets not be afraid to tell the truth, b/c otherwise, what do we have? zip. nada. nothing.


Paige said...

I do love that last comment that adopting a child is better than not adopting a child at all... People have too many opinions and one thing I have learned as a mom of six is to ignore the ignorant (or educate the ones that aren't rude, just curious!)

We had the opposite experience when adopting our first, when our adoption agency said to me "why don't you adopt from Africa? You don't need to adopt from China just because they are 'whiter'." That was never my intent. I just knew China was were our children were.

Great post! It is hard to be brutally honest at times...

Jo said...

The frustrating part is that this response is simply a knee jerk reaction to the news that you are adopting internationaly. It does not come from any knowledge on the subject. In fact, they automatically assume that adoption is quick, easy and affordable. They do not know about program requirements, costs, waitlists, or anything about the children that are actually available for adoption here or there. I just wish they could be happy for you and see it for the wonderful thing it is, instead of questioning it!!

I think, in your shoes I would likely answer with a ..."I did. Three as a matter of fact." That would pretty much seal their lips from there on in, I would think. ;)

Jo said...

Shirley, you make me smile! ;)

Jo said...

Paige, Thanks for popping in and leaving a comment!

You are so right. There are multiple reasons why parents choose a certain country..., one of which is simply a "pull" or a "feeling". This cannot be judged - this is just what is right for you.

Interesting to hear that you had the same experience in reverse! I guess we are all not alone in this!!

Looking forward to checking out your blog!


Jess said...

Love this post. I practically snorted at the glitter eating people. Yep, no glitter eating in my life! And I loved the vagina response. Man would I love to try that some time when people ask me why Congo instead of the US, but I definitely don't have the balls to do it!

Jo said...

Thanks Jess... I must say, I loved getting it off my chest! I feel liberated!

Phheewww... I can breathe again.;)

Sarah said...

Such a great post - and my response to that social worker would have been "Oh, so you must have adopted your child from the ministry then?" with a big smile. I hate those ignorant comments. People can be so rude.

Sherri said...

I love the final comment. As well as the glitter breakfast eating. No glitter here, I prefer glue. hahahahaha

If everyone was being honest their lives are not roses and sunshine and lollypops each and everyday and usually not even all day long.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.


Jo said...

Good one Sarah!! I like it! ;)

Sherri - Yep, I think I've proven it pretty well - I prefer the glue too! lol..

Quinn And Zoe said...

haha - I could feel your blood pressure lowering as that post went on! Good one!

We are adopting from Africa as well (just not positive on country yet...) and I work within "the system" in Canada. There are a lot of kiddos here who need families, and I really don't think we can say they haven't had as terrible experiences as a child in Africa. I have heard many absolutely horrifying and quite frankly disgusting stories.Canadian children are not free from harm, it is just easier for us to forget about it here.
BUT... a child is a child. I have had a lot of guilt over not adopting a Canadian babe. But when it comes down to it, adopting a child who has suffered trauma means you need to be picky. You need to adopt only the needs you feel equipped to handle. Wherever that is!

The hard part with peoples' questions is they often do use "why" which evokes a defense response, haha! I suppose we can just be aware of that, and respond with the classic "this is what works for us" statement. BUT SO HARD WHEN YOU WANT TO FREAK OUT AT THEM!

Jo said...

AMEN! Thanks Zoe! ;)

Candice said...

Love this post and your honest Jo! Bravo. :)

Anonymous said...

Just read this today Jolene....

I almost feel obliged to apologize on behalf of social workers. Such rudeness. It's insulting to assume that you haven't asked yourself those questions before.

There are ethical issues regarding international adoption- no denying that. However, if you learn, grow, reflect and be aware these concerns can be addressed and the adoption can be the beautiful, positive thing it was meant to be.

I think when you make certain decisions it makes people uncomfortable about their own lives and why they haven't done the same thing. Not the same thing, but people often try to tell me why being vegan is a bad/pointless decision. I don't have any idea what they plan on achieving by this other than perhaps to reassure themselves that not choosing to examine where there food comes from is just fine.

Oh so many issues.....

All my best,