Sunday, May 15, 2011

Overly Sensitive?

Not too long ago we read a book called Adoption is a Family Affair. I asked my parents to read it also, which they did. (In fact, most of our family has read it by now.) My Dad and I were discussing the part where adoptive parents were telling some of the thoughtless things that people have said to them. We agreed that many examples were valid and in some cases people were being overly sensitive.

Often times when people hear about our plans to adopt, they say "your kids will be so lucky". I know that this is normally said with the intent to be supportive. And I greatly appreciate the immense amount of support that we have received. But you should know that most parents don't really like this compliment. I can imply that the child doesn't deserve everything that they have and that they don't have a right to normal childhood behavior like tantrums and teenage complaints. Most parents will reply "no we are the lucky ones". Now if someone says this to me "your kids will be so lucky", I usually just smile and say "thank you" as I know their intentions are good. After all, why be oversensitive.

Just this week a good friend referred to an adoptive mom as having 2 children "of her own" and 3 adopted. Now I know she was just trying to tell about why this woman is a special woman and I didn't correct her. But it really is a big deal. Why? Because the 3 children were adoptED. Past tense. They are no longer different than the other 2 children. They are all really her children and nothing less should ever be implied. Now this family was not around. But what if a child near by was adopted and you didn't realize it. Could you do damage with your words? Absolutely.

I have always realized that there are two categories: words that are said to us/parents and words that are said in front of our (someday) kids. Recently I read a blog post that really explained why the latter is so important. I hope you will read it. It was written by Tracy. I found Tracy through the world of blogs. She was the first person that I had ever heard of adopting 4 siblings at one time. When our first agency was not supportive of our hopes to adopt 4 siblings at once, it was Tracy that I turned to for advice. Here is a little bit of what she wrote and a link to her blog:

I'm not at all questioning anyone's motives, just informing them that, in their ignorance, they are being used as a tool of Satan to plant doubt and mistrust into the mind of a child.

but whoever causes one of theses little ones who believes in Me to stumble,
it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck,
and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matthew 18:6

Orphans are serious to God--those who have been redeemed have an incredible call and purpose in their lives and the enemy is continually out to cause them to stumble.

So, since we all have questions---

Here is a small dose of enlightenment---simple facts that can shine light on some of the wonderings about adopted kids, mine are from Africa, but it could apply to anywhere:


  1. I've been struggling *alot* with the power of words (specifically regarding our adoption) this week. If I can get so tripped up by careless and insensitive words, how much easier will it be for our precious children--biological AND adopted?? Already my tenderhearted boy doesn't like the "your own kids" distinction being made and our kiddos aren't even home yet. It may make me seem obnoxious, but I lovingly educate people who say inappropriate things (even with good intentions) not for my sake, but for the sake of the child who may here them next time.

  2. Our words are often careless and even cutting when we haven't walked in the shoes or carefully thought before we speak. You be the bridge to understanding. It takes infinite patience over a really long period of time. Most people will love you more for it.

  3. I fear I am guilty of some of these phrases. Not at all meaning to be insensitive. But our words are so powerful and often times not thought through. Thank you for posting this!


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