An adoptive-mom-friend reached out to me this week, expressing her frustration and despair from an extended family that is largely unsupportive of her family’s impending adoption. She had picked up on statements I’ve made on the blog (here and here) indicating that we have similar
haters criticism in the periphery of our lives, and was seeking advice on how to handle it as they progress in their adoption journey.
It’s true, there are a few members in our extended family who have made their disinterest in our new child crystal clear and have been unsupportive of our expansion of our family. One actually had the audacity to inform us that not only would our sweet son not be a part of their family, but “is not y[our] son.”
And this, dear friends, is where clear lines have been drawn. ‘Cause here’s the deal: You don’t get to pick and choose which of our children are a part of your lives, they’re a package deal. We would never intentionally expose ANY of our children to such ignorance, hate and rejection. It’s not healthy for our adopted OR biological children. If this sounds a lot like an ultimatum, it’s because it is: If you reject our son, you reject us all.
I have another adoptive-mom-friend with extended family that sends Christmas gifts only to her two biological children, neglecting to similarly acknowledge her three adopted children. What she has shared is that this deliberate slight is as hurtful to her biological children as the ones who are actually slighted. After our little guy comes home we won’t be introducing him as our “adopted child”, he’ll just be our child. Period. Parents don’t feel the need to similarly explain the mode of delivery in which their other children joined their family, “Hi, this is Little Danny-boy, he’s our cesarean section born child.” or, “This is Sally, our 41 1/2 week gestation home-birthed child.” I love what my friend, Laura, who was domestically adopted as an infant has to say about this. They’re all our own.
To be clear, much of our family has been wonderfully supportive of our adoption… praying for us and our son from day one, expressing enthusiastic interest and celebrating the milestones with us along the journey. We are forever grateful for their loving encouragement.
Ultimately, we answer to God. He has put this desire in our hearts. We are hardly concerned with the judgement of folks who profess a completely different worldview than us. How can they comprehend a forgiveness and redemption that they have never experienced? They just don’t know what they don’t know. Jesus Himself warned of division in families as a result of following God in chapter 12 of Luke’s Gospel. We pray for them, and while standing our ground have left the door open for their change of heart.
Adoptive families, take heart: Do not allow the scornful appraisal of skeptics deter your focus from God’s calling on your life. And remember, Jesus Himself endured rejection here on earth. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33