This past weekend, I had the conversation I knew was coming.
In fact, I'd been waiting for it.
Notice, I didn't say 'anxiously waiting'.
I didn't say it because that part isn't true.
In fact, if you want to be completely honest, I'd kind of been dreading it....not because I thought it'd be hard and uncomfortable (it was a little bit of both), but because I so hoped I'd handle myself in a way where what came out of my mouth truly reflected what's in my heart.
Here's what happened.
I was with an older lady whom I'd never met before, and she overheard me say I was adopting.
Here's the gist of how the conversation went down:
Lady: Oh, so you're adopting. Can you not have your own kids?
Me: Well, I actually have two kids and have no reason to believe I couldn't have more in the traditional way, but my husband and I feel called to grow our family through adoption.
Lady: Oh, well you are at least adopting from America, right? Your kids will be American?
Me: Well, we are actually adopting from Africa. But after our adoption is final, yes, my daughter will be an American citizen.
Lady: Africa? But you're white.
Me: Yes, ma'm. I am white, but I have real place in my heart for Africa. I was there twice last year and just love the culture and the people so much. And we really believe God has chosen us to parent a child from there.
Lady: You mean you went more than once?
Me: Yes ma'm, I did. I'd move there if I could. I can't wait to get back.
Lady: But your kid will be black.
Me: Yes, ma'm. She will. But we don't really think of it like that.
Lady: So your kid will be black, and you're white?
Me: Yes ma'm. That's pretty much how it will be.
The conversation continued on for a bit, but you get the point.
I have so many thoughts about this sort of conversation.
I'm not mad at this lady.
I'm not judging her.
To me, she simply represents a whole herd of people out there
who simply don't view adoption the same way we do.
I have so much to say about how so many people view adoption.
But, like anything else in the world, adoption is not something that everyone feels the same way about.
Even among adoptive parents, there are still so many 'hot topics', if you will.
Open adoption or closed?
Domestic adoption or international?
Infant or older child?
The list goes on and on, and I could go on and on as well.
But if I've learned anything as a mother, it's this:
Motherhood is the one of the things people tend to be the MOST opinionated about in life. Everyone believes her way is the BEST way. But as long as your kid is safe and happy and loved, there is more than one RIGHT way. My way or your way is NOT the ONLY way.
And the bottom line is, adoption is not about me.
I'm not adopting because it's fun.
I'm not adopting because I like the fundraising or the not sleeping or the stressing.
I'm not adopting because it's easy.
If anything, adoption will probably be one of the hardest things I've ever done.
I'm adopting because there's a little girl out there who needs a family.
She needs our family, as loud and crazy and dramatic as we can be at times.
God calls us to take care of His children, black, white, red, and anything in between.
And I fully believe this is what God has planned for our family.
I'm not going to be the girl who tells God no simply because something is hard sometimes.
I'm not going to miss out the blessing of being Emily's mom simply because some people out there don't understand.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
Adoption does not exist so parents can have children;
adoption exists so children can have parents.
Yes, my daughter will be black.
Yes, I'm white.
Yes, she's from Africa.
Yes, I'm from America.
Yes, I love Africa.
Yes, there are many days when I'd rather be there than here.
Yes, I realize not everyone will understand this.
And no, it doesn't bother me a bit.
But it would have.
Two or three years ago, it would have bothered me.
And I can't say it won't ever-- when the day comes when someone is ugly to my girls about their sister who doesn't look like them or talk like them, it will hurt. I will feel the need to defend my kids, just like mothers around the world feel on a daily basis.
But God has shown me so much about His character and His will and His plan.
And I can sum so much of what I've learned up into one little sentence:
IT'S NOT ABOUT ME.
It's about Him.
He loves Emily.
He created Emily.
And He wants all of His children to have families, no matter how many people out there don't quite get it.