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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Introducing the Amazing Kookaburra / Questions and Responses

My friend Kookaburra came over two weeks ago for a few hours of uninterrupted chatting, sans Tongginator. Kookaburra, like me, has a June 2006 log-in date with China, although she also peruses our adoption agency's special needs list each month. She has also been waiting around 600 days since she entered the long line to adopt from the China IA program. But, unlike me and the Husband, she and her husband GumTree will be first-time parents when they finally reach the end of this epic wait.

I view Kookaburra as a spiritual role model in a lot of ways. She possesses an incredibly strong faith and an inner sense of peace that I find difficult to emulate. You'd think that, having already been through the process once, I'd be the one on a more even keel. Alas, no ... that would be Kookaburra. I'm as Type A as they come. Of course, she does experience her emotional days and the like, but my ranting and moping days far outnumber hers.

One aspect of this wait that she -- that all of us -- find especially trying involves the Question. It comes from family, from friends and neighbors, from co-workers and members of our church community. Some people truly Get It. They do ask the Question occasionally, to remind the waiting parent that they remember, and that they care, but they also Listen to the Answer. The Answer usually goes something like this: "the program has practically screeched to a halt. I don't expect to hear anything for two more years. So, while I appreciate you asking me, because I know you care, please don't bring it up again for a couple of months." And those who Listen tend to offer a hug, or a shoulder, or a funny comment to lighten the mood.

Unfortunately, there are always people who Don't Listen. Week after week, they cross paths with the waiting parent and ask the same Question, again and again.

Week One: So, how's the adoption going?
Week Two: Heard anything new about the adoption?
Week Three: What's up with the adoption? Haven't you been waiting a long time already?
Week Four: When do you think you'll hear about the adoption?
Week Five: Hey, weren't you guys adopting?

The Answer remains the same, but somehow they forget to Listen. It's enough to make a sane person run screaming to the nut house. Even Kookaburra, as even-keeled as she is, dreads running into the people who Don't Listen.

Sometimes even worse than the Question are the Reactions to the Answer. Between Kookaburra, myself and a few other close friends who are currently waiting in the China adoption line ... well, we've heard them all:

-- You should adopt domestically. So-and-so did and they got a white baby. Maybe you
would, too.
-- Maybe this is God's way of telling you that it's just not part of His plan for you to
be a mother.
-- You should just feel grateful that you have (insert name of child).
-- I don't understand why people like you don't just adopt a foster kid. There are plenty
of American kids who need homes.
-- If you had adopted through the special needs program, you'd already be home by now.
-- They are just lying to you and taking your money.

Yes, at least one member (if not more!) of our circle of friends has heard the individual comments listed above. No, I did not make up any of them.

There is really no right way to respond to these types of comments, but I've decided to suggest to Kookaburra that next time someone Reacts to the Answer, she should just laugh, eat gumdrops and count the monkeys who Don't Listen.


Special K said...

I've also heard "Why don't you just get pregnant instead?"
Or worse "Why don't you just get MARRIED and get pregnant?"

It's not a fertility issue with me cuz quite frankly I've never tried so not sure if I could or not. But why say it? What if I did have fertility things going on?

And the get married one is not a good thing to say to a single woman who's decided to do this on her own! LOL!

I've actually thought about printing up an info sheet about how long the wait has gotten, no I don't know why & can't control it, no I don't know when, etc. And just handing it to people when they start with the questions. LOL!