It has been awhile since I have sat down to write a Say What? post. It's not because I have suddenly stopped having people say silly things to me. I've gotten some good ones lately. Some funny and some not so much. It's more that I always want to make sure I am not writing from a place of anger. Rather, I want to approach this from a place of love and grace with the goal of extending a friendly hand for those not super familiar with the adoption world and all its nuances.
And so today I want to address a question that I have gotten a few times since our referral.
"So...what's wrong with him?"
Eeeeeeeek. Nails on chalkboard.
Before I say anything else, I want to pause and clarify something. I know what people mean when they say this, and I know that (most of the time) it is not coming from a place of judgment or hostility. I know people are curious and are likely asking if we are pursuing a special needs adoption. We are not doing that this time around. However, "special needs" and "wrong" are not interchangeable terms. There is nothing wrong with children who have special needs. They are deserving of love just as much as their typically developing counterparts.
Still, even with that in mind, I want to say that this question has the potential to be extremely hurtful if you find yourself on the receiving end of it. The implication is that in order for your child to be placed for adoption that there must have been something "wrong" with him. Ouch.
Most of the time, for missteps like this, there is some other way to word the question, but for this, I have to say that there is just no appropriate way to ask. Mainly because this is an incredibly personal question. I have talked before about the reality that adoption is born from hardship. It exists because we live in a fallen world. That is a heavy weight for an adoptive family, especially the adopted child, to carry. There are countless articles and studies that have been done on adoptees and their feelings about being adopted. And I'll be honest; it's a struggle to read through some of them. There is a lot of hurt out there. I pray ALL THE TIME that Bradley will always feel loved, treasured, cherished and fought for in his family.
But there is a part of his life story that is hard, and for it to be implied, intentionally or not, that that part exists because there is something wrong with him...
Well. That is not OK with me.
Adoption is something that happened to my son. It is not something he picked. He did not do anything or say anything or have anything "wrong" with him that led to this outcome. We live in a hard world, and difficult things happen every single day. I know B's birth mother made the best decision she could. I know she loves him, and I want it to be known that I honor his birth mother for her choice. I applaud her for it. And for all my days, I will tell my son that truth. He was and is so loved and cherished. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with him. He was designed and created by the Most High God.
So today I want to kindly implore you to steer clear of this line of questioning. It won't get you too far, and it will likely result in some hurting hearts, especially if these questions are asked in front of the child. Please, please put the best interest of the family ahead of curiosity.