Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Do You Have Children?"

Photo: © 2010 Jupiterimages Corporation

Recently a question between birth mothers came up:

What's your "go to" answer for questions like "Do you have children" and "How many children do you have"?
Before I married, this question was very difficult for me. I would have loved to be the person who could confidently acknowledge my pregnancy with R and explain about the adoption. Sadly, I wasn't that person. Occasionally, depending on the level of trust I had with the person asking, I might tell the story, but more often than not, I would reply that I simply didn't have children.
I feared that I would make the other person uncomfortable. Sometimes I wondered if they would question why I would tell them that, maybe thinking I expected some sort of response or attention from them. 
As the years went by I, in one sense, became more open - open on Facebook, getting involved in various adoption communities, telling close but new acquaintances - yet at the same time, I became more hesitant. My husband preaches, we have one son together and a daughter on the way (any day now!). People assume that's the whole story; they have no reason to believe anything else about me. 
Is that easy for me? Definitely not. The first year we came to this church, away from our family and friends, was the first year I went without an update for R's birthday. Not having the understanding of those near us was very difficult and I would have benefited from opening up to our new friends.  
So, we're still navigating the waters I suppose. My husband thankfully fully supports openness about R, and now that the adoption has become more open, who knows how our lives will play out. We intend on our own children knowing they have a half-brother and we still plan to stay active in the adoption community, so I have reason to believe I may work up to being more candid when asked "How many children do you have?"
On the other end, a friend of mine shared her own experiences. You may relate more to her feelings on the matter:
"I usually share it casually with anyone who asks. I'm comfortable talking about it and it just doesn't feel right when I say "no." It is a huge part of me and my life and it feels like a lie when I don't acknowledge it. It makes some people uncomfortable when they find out sometimes, probably bc they just don't know what to say, but others show genuine interest and it always gives me an opportunity to share a little bit and shed some positive light on something that most people just don't understand and I really want more people to more comfortable talking about it. Of course it is really personal and some days are harder than others, so sometimes I give a simple no. & I have had plenty of people say the "wrong" thing and have felt judged more than I would if I didn't share, but it feels good to be open about it."

So, what's your answer?

1 comment:

  1. With one child adopted out because of the coercion of a family member, and the other taken because of the lies of an evil doctor, I am so full of rage that if I can't get even with these people, I am just going to wear a necklace with 2 baby pendants with their birthstones and just say to anyone "they died at birth" because that's really what it is like.
    That goes for telling idiot doctors my medical history too.