If you have ever visited my blog before, you know I am an adoptive and foster mother to 8 children. What you might not realize is that I am also a social worker and conduct home studies for fellow parents out there looking to adopt. The other day I was finishing off a home study visit with a family when they stopped and asked,
“Are we normal?”
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The question caught me off guard at first and I started laughing. I think I laugh far too much in my home study visits, but hopefully this calms their nerves rather than makes them think I am a lunatic. I wasn’t sure what they meant, so questioned them on it. I can’t say I think I am normal myself, so I don’t think being normal is the goal, but I wanted to understand what they were referencing. They began to explain to me that as they told their various friends and family about their adoption plans, people repeatedly responded in a discouraging manner. Many said they were crazy, many asked why they would adopt while they had young children, and many questioned why they would want more children. This family was not alone in the questions they received. I have heard COUNTLESS other questions and comments from other adoptive families as they shared their news to their family and friends.
“Won’t they burn the house down”
“I don’t think I could ever love someone who isn’t my own child”
“Why would you add more to your family?”
“Can’t you have your own children?”
“Why would you take on more?”
“You know how incredibly hard this will be, don’t you?”
“Aren’t you worried about your own kids?”
“I could never do that. I want to give my children the best life, go on vacations, and afford time with each of them. I don’t want to reduce their quality of life”
Other adoptive parents have told me far worse comments, some less hurtful comments, and I have personally heard everything in between on our own adoption journey. So when I replied to the couple I wholeheartedly said:
“NO! Your’re NOT normal, and THANK GOD you’re not!
If being normal means thousands of children in BC have to go without a forever family, then I say forget normal!
If being normal means children grow up in orphanages, tied to cribs and never getting hugged or touched, then I say forget normal!
If being normal means another child ages out of foster care and enters the sex trade, turns to drugs, or commits suicide, then I say forget normal!
The important thing to remember about adoption is that it allows a child to have a family forever. It is not saving the child, or rescuing the child, but it is also not purely about growing your own family. Today’s view on adoption needs to change. It is about providing a stable, loving and permanent family for a child that currently doesn’t have one. If everyone remains in their comfortable life, with their perfect 2.5 children and yearly trips to Disneyland, then who is left to provide a family for a waiting child?
Just to clarify, I don’t think everyone needs to adopt. I don’t think everyone should adopt. There are certainly many other ways to support children finding forever families that don’t entail adopting. However, we still desperately need MORE people to make the decision to adopt. 34% of Christians have considered adopting, yet only 1% actually do it.
And at the very least, we need people to STOP condemning those who are making the decision to adopt. The truth is, I won’t argue with anyone about how difficult adoption is. The process is difficult, the trauma attached to kids in adoption is difficult, the journey is difficult. But it is also BEAUTIFUL! It is one of the most amazing journey’s I have ever been on (clearly evidenced by the fact that I have 8 children!). It teaches me. Stretches me. Humbles me. Inspires me. And most importantly, it allows me the opportunity to love on one more child on this earth.
SO…to answer the question “Am I normal?” I say NO! EMBRACE your inner freak, throw away your comfortable life, let the crazy take you, and get the opportunity to be blessed through the love of a child desperate to have a family to call their own. Who wants to be normal anyways?
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Cheryl Wild says
Thank God for Not being Normal ! I have a biological son (25 yrs old) and an adopted 16 year old daughter (special needs from Russia) who I adopted when she was 4 years old. I am in the process of adopting 2 unrelated boys from Bulgaria 7 and 13. The 7 year old was beaten by his parents at 11 months of age into a coma. He has been in foster care since then, with physical disabilities and longing eyes. My 13 year old has been in the “system” for many years and has nearly lost all hope for a family. He desperately wants to be adopted… How can I say no?
As a divorced, single mother with a big home and a bigger heart, I have taken my share of negativity from my closest family members. “Why would you spend your money like that?” , “What about your daughter’s college?”, “You’re throwing your life away.”
How sad… for them.
I am glad to know that others face the same challenges. I try to remember that the enemy tries to “hit” you the hardest when you are close to making an impact in God’s Kingdom.
Thanks for your blog….
Reigns Raney Raney says
Thats True Cheryl…..
Keep up the good work ….. 🙂
Great article! Not being normal is indeed refreshing! Thanks for your honesty and great examples.
Your post just brought me to laughter and tears.
I am adopted too and also an adoptive parent with 3 beautiful children. Lost my adoptive mom2 years ago and that’s when I realized how blessed I was to be born from her heart. I could’ve gone to an orphanage but instead, she accepted me wholeheartedly. And the moments I shared with her adopting my 3 kids are priceless. I do experience that crazy questions a lot too and there are still times that I get hurt from the inside but I know that one can never understand unless they stand in our shoes.
So to you, thank you for sharing your story esp to us who at times need some inspiration like this too. I will definitely pin this and share this on my wall so I can go back to this when moments like everything is not working out. This post and ice cream will definitely do the trick