Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I knew this day would come.  Since starting our adoption process in 2012 and even before, I have followed many adoption blogs and read the stories.  I have heard tale of this in Facebook groups and shuddered at it.  I knew it was only a matter of time before it was my turn.

Twice in the past week I have received inappropriate questions and comments about my children while out and about.  Last week, we went to get Lily's hair cut.  I took all four kiddos and ran in right at lunch time, because Lily badly needed a trim.  We were the only customers in there, and there were two very sweet stylists.  They were enamored with the twins and with Lily and Bella.

And then the questions started.  I know in my heart that neither woman meant anything hurtful.  They were genuinely curious, and they were rooting for our family.  But they asked questions that are not okay.  I was so thankful that the older girls were zoned into the movie, because I do not want Lily and Bella to hear this sort of stuff yet.  We are open, and we will be very open in our family, but quite frankly, those things are none of those stylists' business.  I was stuck, and I did my best to navigate the conversation in a way that was honoring to my children and their birth mother.  These women passed judgement on many a soul as we conversed, and I did my best to evade and be positive.

I really just wanted a hair cut.

But, I know that this is part of what we signed up for when we became a transracial family.  I have a learning curve ahead of me, and I am praying that God equips me with the right responses.

Yesterday was the bad day at the dentist.  We had been there about 45 minutes, and a family was walking right past us as they left the waiting room.  There were three generations there, and the granddaughter was coming over to stare at and try to touch the babies.  She seemed sweet.  Her grandmother said, "She really wants to see the babies.  She thinks that you bought them."

She followed that up with, "Well, actually - you did buy them.  And you got to buy two!"

This was quite a loud comment made in a waiting room packed full of listening ears.  I was stunned and didn't say anything in response at all as they made their exit.  It still makes my blood boil to recount.

As I was driving home, I began to process this experience.  I started to pick apart this woman and her comments in my mind.   Her ignorance for what adoption really means was staggering.  I cried.  I prayed.  I replayed the words and was horrified all over again that she really could apply that to my precious children whom I adore with my whole heart.  Who are mine, just as her family is hers.

I just kept hearing "You bought them."

Then, in my heart, I heard something else, this time from God.  "I bought you.  And I bought her too."

You are not your own.  You were bought at a price.  

That price was Jesus' very life.  Because of his great love for us - he purchased us with his life so that we could be free from the debt of our sin.  I would be nothing without this great fact.  

The comment was truly horrible.  It really was.  But - I don't think she meant it to be.  I don't think that she is horrible.  (Though that is always possible, but I am guessing with further interaction, I would not find her to be so.)  She is one of God's creatures who he values enough to have bought for a very high cost.

I have a fine line to walk in the future as it relates to how I handle these comments.  The girls were engrossed in Toy Story 3 in another part of the room, and the babies are far too young to comprehend what she said.  I know there will be times when I need to say something corrective just for the sake of my children's listening ears.  I always want them to know how valued they truly are by their parents, and that will take precedent over a stranger's feelings.  I have a strong bit of Mama Bear in me, and I know that I will not hesitate to say something in response if I feel I need to.

But - I want to remember that we all need grace.  We all have places of ignorance.  We all say the wrong thing at the wrong time at some point.  I want to reflect Christ in my response and not just be an angry Mama Bear, and that will require a lot more of God's grace in my own life.  I'm hoping and praying he will equip me as we walk this road.


Kristin Murdock said...

I really like this Carol. My favorite parts are where you acknowledge that people's intentions are good and not to hurt, and that we were bought by God. Great reminders. Great truth. Xoxo

Carmen Smith said...

Two hard things to balance: The instinctive, protective Momma Bear response and a graceful response.