I read a post last night on a wonderful blogging friend's site. Candice, who is adopting from Russia. As I read her post, I felt like I had written it! And I think I did... almost word for word! I looked for the post today in my draft file and it seems it has disappeared. I likely deleted it upon the realization that I would never be able to 'tone' down the anger and negativity enough to post it.
Since she was able to capture my feeling so eloquently... With her permission, I would like to quote her post.
Three years ago if you had asked me what I thought about the orphan crisis in our world
I would not have had much to say.
Truthfully, I knew nothing about it
and if someone I knew had said to me, "I'm adopting"
I would most likely have said, "that's nice" and thought nothing more about it.
Today however, I have A LOT to say.
(as most of the people who see me on a regular basis can attest to, poor souls.)
Knowledge is a funny thing, isn't it?
The way it will sneak in there and change you.
In just a couple of years, my beliefs and my values have changed so freaking much
that I don't always feel like I am the same person.
I know things now, that I never dreamed could be happening.
And it makes things like paying $5 for a mocha
or worrying about where I buy my clothes seem really REALLY wrong.
It makes the years I spent acting and wanting with every little fiber of my being
to tread the boards at the Stratford Festival
seem very inconsequential.
That was a hard pill to swallow, let me tell you.
And it has made me think of family, and what constitutes a family, very very differently.
The range of reactions I've received to the knowledge that I am adopting have been varied
to say the least.
I had a mom at the studio hand me a little pattern book and ask me to pick my favourite one
so that she can stitch it up for LB as her gift to us.
(Come on! How awesome is that?)
And then I hear of a mom at the studio who was "completely offended" that I would try and sell
my fundraiser tshirts at the studio.
Offended? Wow. The seems really harsh.
There are plenty of offensive things in the world,
but raising money to bring an orphan into a family is not something I would necessarily call offensive.
Maybe its just me.
I have received donations from people I barely know
and then had a co worker at the lodge say to me,
"I don't understand why you'd be fundraising. Shouldn't they make sure you have enough money
to adopt before you start the process?"
(that was a fun one to respond to. Sheesh)
I had an 8 yr old student hand me a wrinkled little envelope with $2.86 in it to
"help bring home my baby"
(Melt my heart)
and I have family that have never even bothered to ask how the process is going.
And I get it, or rather, I am trying to get it.
I understand that my priorities may not be your priorities
and that what I see as a ridiculous expense, you see as a necessity.
And vice versa.
I question your desire to own an expensive car
and you question my desire to spend thousands of dollars to bring a child over from Russia
when I could 'just make one myself'.
Where am I going with all of this mumbo jumbo?
Not really sure.
Truthfully, I don't think I even have a point.
(Isn't that gloriously anti-climactic?)
I believe she does in fact have a point. Perhaps several of them. Let me elaborate on one.
People who are adopting have experienced an 'awakening'. The plight of the orphan has been placed into our hearts. When you have this knowledge, you can no longer turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions of children around the world. We become dedicated and passionately driven to change the situation, even if for just one child. I cannot explain enough how this consumes our every waken moment.
Please humor me for a moment while I try to explain to you how this feels.
I recall the 'aha' moment when I first opened my eyes to the orphan crisis. It was when I acknowledged that these children... the ones orphaned, abandoned, struggling to stay alive, could very easily have been my own children. We are lucky to be born in the Western world, but the tables very easily could have been turned. These are children. Children, just as precious as yours or mine.
I cannot fathom the thought that my 9 year old would ever feel hunger so deeply that she sells her young, innocent 9 yr old body for a piece of stale bread.
It makes me sick to think of my son going to bed not just hungry, but scared and alone with no one to tuck him in at night and assure him that everything will be okay.
Just step into our world for a moment.
Imagine what it would feel like for me to take your child away for a couple years. Place them on the streets to beg for food. Place them in abusive homes. Place them in orphanages where it's survival of the fittest, and you can call yourself lucky if you get one meal a day. Strip them of any sense of security they have ever had. No family. No home. No education. No hope for the future.
What would you do to bring them back to 3 square meals a day, adequate health care, a safe, loving family and a future?
How personally and emotionally charged would your journey become to get them home?
Would it offend you if I came to your house for coffee and didn't ask you how your journey was going?
Would it offend you if I didn't ask if there is any way I can help you bring your child home?
Would it offend you if I declined your plea for help, or declined the opportunity to support your fundraising endeavours?
Would it offend you if I not only openly failed to acknowledge the fact that you are simply trying to give your child a home, but treated it as if it were absolutely unnecessary and indulgent?
Would it offend you if I asked why you would want to do this?
Would it offend you if I asked you why you don't look for a different child in a different country... perhaps China?
Would it offend you if I told you that you shouldn't bother bringing your child home if you have to fundraise to do it - because obviously you cannot afford it?
Imagine how your view of me would be?
Now. I daresay that you think I'm being melodramatic, and this clearly is not the situation. Of course you would assist me if my child were to get kidnapped and be forced to live in such horrible conditions. Right?
please.... Listen to me.
This is my child.
And this child is living in horrible conditions.
This is how I feel.
You don't have to understand it.
If you care at all, you will take my word for it.
This IS how I feel, and this is my journey to MY child.
If you don't acknowledge it or support it - I will be deeply offended. I will never forget, not only the harsh words you said, but also the words you didn't say. These words and actions cut deeply. They are painful and they are ever lasting. Unfortunately, I already have too long a list of them carved out in my memory. I fear they will never leave me.
I will try to forgive you and give you the benefit of the doubt. I will try to understand that you didn't realize the magnitude of your actions or lack of. But here I am now... laying it all out in the open. Putting it out there in hopes that it will clear up any misunderstanding you or I may have ever had... and in hopes that it will eliminate any in the future.
I am putting every fiber of my being into 'giving an orphaned child a family'.
I am not working towards going on some exotic cruise.
I am not raising money to buy a hot air balloon.
An innocent child who needs a family and a future.
It's that simple.
If you would like to know how you can support your loved ones through the adoption process, please stay tuned for part 2, which I promise will be much more upbeat and positive!