No, not our Divine Miss M, she’s just goofing around!
But “they’re crazy” “what? oh they’ve lost their minds”….this is the sort of comment we run up against, in various forms, all too often.
And this past week, with the whooping announcement of our new baby boy, waiting for us in Ethiopia, we had a little swell of this sort of phrase swept our way…usually blurted out before the person caught themselves and offered some form of tepid congratulations.
I’ll admit, another child for us is a surprise to many. Especially to those not as close to us and considering our already full house and ok, our not quite as young as we used to ages (40’s….but hey, that’s the new 30’s right????). Some people are tactful, some are truly thrilled for us, some are politely neutral, and some, a few, are downright disdainful.
You know, I touched on this a tiny bit a few posts ago, in “Why adopt…Again.” But after this past week, I think it is not just an adoption thing. This sort of reaction of disdain, scoffing, or just dismay and dismissing me or us as “a little nuts” goes deeper. Even folks who are completely supportive of adoption tend to often have the reaction that perhaps we are taking this too far.
But what? Taking WHAT too far, exactly? Adopting again? No, I don’t the objection is to adopting or even adopting again. I think it is a number game. A sheer number bias. And that shocked resistance to more, to the larger numbers, to MORE kids is pervasive. How many of you have had people say “oh boy, you’ve got YOUR hands full!” And, “wow, I have two kids and that’s PLENTY for me.” Or, “well, don’t you think you might be taking away from your other kids? You have to think about them too.” Hmmmm. Or there is the cliche, “you know, I knew this person and they just adopted a baby and bam, then they got pregnant!” This is always related as a horror story. Like they somehow blew it in their planning and somehow it’s a bad mistake and maybe even a twinge of rating of the kids. Oh….this makes me nuts. There is an bit of an insidious undertone in these last two.
You know, I am the first to say that “yup, two kids (or one, or three, or whatever number) CAN be a handful and boy golly, that can be plenty” from a “whew, this is a lot of work” standpoint. All kids and all families are different. There is no perfect family or perfect number. NO FAMILY SIZE IS AUTOMATICALLY BETTER THAN ANOTHER (so please don’t send me nasty messages about how I am being rude or self righteous, I am SO not meaning anything like that). However, what I object to is the idea that smaller is more sensible or easier or somehow more “right.” Smaller is fine. But why is it crazy or too much to have more? It’s not. It’s this bizarre culture we’ve evolved into that has woven that message into our cultural psyche. And I, we, reject it.
Instead I know, we live, the fact that for us, larger is better. It is awesome. It IS a lot of work. My hands ARE full. But in the best way, in the way I was made for. The very best gift anyone can be given is a child. Period. Not a Ferrari, not a mansion, not an island in the sun (don’t get me wrong, that last one especially has a strong appeal…ahhh). It is a child. Nothing else brings that deep, core tingling, whooping joy. And for those who say “what about the other kids?” Well, the very very best gift they can be given, is a sibling. Period. One of our children has some issues that are a bit more high maintenance. And even with that, the time they take, the difficulties in interactions even with their sibs…..even so, the best gift any of them has is each other. Period.
As a Catholic (you knew I had to bring it in), this is part and parcel of it for me. It is being open to life. It is the Catholic stance (and of course so many other’s) that ALL life is precious and has value, inherent distinct value. All life. The ones that God might send me through my own body and gene pool and any others that he brings to us, whether they are here or half a world away. Teeny babies or older. Babies and kids who are perfectly healthy and made like that old “Ozzie and Harriet 50’s” stereotypical family framework, and babies who might have different needs or who are abandoned or who are from a different part of the world. It is a conscious letting go of the “we determine” our family, and instead letting God determine it. Which, in a weird way, is radical.
It is a tough concept for a control freak like me to get used to; and in fact took me YEARS to be willing to do it. And then, I finally did, and by that time, we were looking at adopting. Maybe that was part of it, because if you think you are in control of everything; of your body and deciding when to get pregnant and how it will work out best and feeling in charge of the whole deal…well, try stepping on to the adoption road and watch that sense of control be ripped out of your hands and placed in someone else’s….meaning oh, the social workers, the caseworkers, the doctors, the FBI, the taxman, you name it…they all have input. Yikes! But the funny thing is, it was never REALLY in our hands in the first place. I think, for me, it took starting the adoption process to figure that out. And then the beauty of that stance got it’s chance to unfold. And here we are, about to bring home number seven. And we are once again, still, whooping with joy.
So, I guess this is a whole long venting built up after a few days of high emotions and joy at our news. And a response to that whole “you’re crazy, when ya gonna quit?” kind of response. Frankly, I think THAT knee jerk reaction is a bit crazy. Nice people say this to me. But really, the ingrained, learned perspective today, is that we are all in control of everything: our bodies, our destiny, our choices, our kids, how our families will be formed and our lives lived out. And really, this is a ruse. We don’t have nearly as much control as we think, we have choice. Which is so much better, really. So, we choose being open to life, which often results in a big old family, and that’s seems a bit crazy.
It’s nut’s, right? Yup. We are crazy, in the best way. And, well, a big mixed up family is a whole LOTTA life, every day!!! And we love it and if that’s crazy, then I guess my new answer to “are you nuts?” will just have to be “you betcha!”