Several months ago I had a great conversation with a friend about "correct" language when talking about adoption. She gently told me that she was afraid to even have a conversation with some adoptive parents who get offended easily by those who are not educated in the proper semantics that we pick up and learn through the process. It made me resolve to give grace in these awkward circumstances when good intentions are clear (and reserve the right to be a little snarky when strangers are just plain nosey) so I can always have a dialogue with my loved ones. But also, I still want to pass on some specific terminology--ESPECIALLY to my friends and family who will be in my child's life on a regular basis. There are just a few terms that I want to avoid to make our child feel loved and a part of our family indistinguishable from his/her siblings.
THIS article, I think, is written quite frankly, but not with malice. It focuses on the term "your own" when referring to biological children--as is very common. I know I've said it. But "your own" and "real son" are two phrases that I'm working to delete from my vocab. Our child born in Thailand (let's say it's a boy) may not be our BIOLOGICAL son, but he will be our REAL son. He will be OUR OWN. And I don't want him to ever think otherwise. I'm sure we'll all slip up a few times, but I hope we can encourage each other and kindly correct out of our shared love of this new little one.
Another article that I have been wanting to link for months is just too awesome to just post a URL. I'm going to copy it (with just a few lapses) for you here. I want to make clear that this is an excerpt from Missy at http://www.itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com/. It is SO GOOD--for any Christian parents, not just adoptive ones. Please read it. (And if you have time, go to her "best of" list and read "The Marriage Bed." You'll cry laughing.)
Recently we were told by people whom we love and respect why they oppose
our plans to adopt. One of the reasons given was that we would not be able
to pay for your college education. It's true.
You all have college funds--college funds which recently took a terrible
hit--but "they" say that by the time you're 18, college will cost anywhere
between $200,000 to half a million dollars each. You might as well know
now, we won't be covering that. I'm telling you now, babies.
The people said that the day would come when you would look at us with
resentment because you had to apply for school loans while many of your friends
got a free ride from their parents. Maybe you will. Maybe you'll
resent us. I really hope not. But maybe I should tell y'all now why
your dad and I have decided to do what we are doing.
I know you're going to think I am going off topic (I do that a lot) but
several years ago I saw a story on a TV show about how the latest trend was for parents to give their daughters boob jobs for high school graduation (I don't know what they gave their sons). When interviewing one of the moms, she said "I just
want my daughter to be happy." And as I tossed a throw pillow at the
television, this really huge thought occurred to me: I don't want my children to
My goal as your mom is not your happiness, sugars. In fact, I spend
at least half my day making you unhappy. If I had a nickle for every tear
that falls in this home on a daily basis, we wouldn't need to worry about
college tuition at all.
Happiness is fleeting, sweet babies. That means it doesn't
last. It's a quick feeling that comes from a funny movie or a heart shaped
lollipop or a really good birthday present. It's great. I love to be
happy. But happiness is a reaction that is based on our
surroundings. And our surroundings are so very rarely under our
control. Even when--especially when--we think they are. So no, I
absolutely don't want you to spend your life chasing something that has so little to do
with your own abilities. You'll just be constantly frustrated.
There are two things I desire for you, precious loves. There are two
things that I spend most of my time as a mother trying to cultivate in
you. Happiness ain't one of them. (This means, sorry, no boob jobs
The first is, I want you to be content. Being content is so much
different from being happy. Being content is not based on your
surroundings. Being content comes from within. Contentment is a
spirit of gratitude. It's the choice you make to either be thankful for
the things you do have, or to whine about the things you don't have.
Being content and grateful leads to consistent joy.
As you know, because I've told you lots of times, Paul talked about being
content. Paul said that he had "learned the secret of being content in any
and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in
want." And Paul was in some rotten situations, kiddos. Really
Which leads me to my second desire for ya'll.
I don't want you to be happy, I want you to be holy. That means, I
want you to seek that God-power to make you content. I want you to want
the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom. And that's hard, babies--it
is so hard. And that usually means passing up a lot of what the world
considers happiness. But it means that you will achieve blessings directly
from God that most of the world never dreams of because they are too occupied
with achieving happiness.
Darlings, we love you so much. You will never grasp how much we love
you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it and then you'll
apologize for the ways you treats us. ;) But our goal is not to please
you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the Bible does the Lord command that we save our money to send our kids to college.
But the Lord does command us to care for the orphan around fifty
times. He does tell us to care for the poor around 300 times. He
does tell us that when we care for the neediest, we are caring for Jesus
Himself. And in chapter six of Matthew, He tells us to seek HIS kingdom
first, and let Him worry about the rest--like college tuition. Because
it's all His anyway.
They said that one day y'all would resent us for using "your" college money
to go and get your sister out of an orphanage in Ethiopia and bring her home to
But I know my babies. Even at your tender age, I know your hearts,
and I have already seen you weep for the least of these. I know the
prayers I offer up to God that He and not the world would shape the desires of
your hearts. I am trusting Him to answer those prayers.