This week we announced the adoption of our 11th child (yes, ELEVEN). This will be our 10th adoption. We understand how mind boggling this is for some people. We’ve heard most all of the intrusive questions there are about the way we live. We absolutely see where those people are coming from, where the difference between what they KNOW and what we ARE is so enormous that they feel compelled to ask, or to judge. Because, if the life someone else is living is one you never lived, or can’t picture yourself living, then it must be wrong. Right?
That’s not what life has taught me, but if I’m going to be the tolerant person that I profess to be, then I have to be tolerant of everyone, even the people who aren’t tolerant of me. They have a right to their opinion. In turn, I have a right to write them out of my life.
After our boys made their sweet little video, I got, literally, hundreds of comments of support. I heard them, I cried over them. I attempted to embrace them. From several important people, there was only silence. I understand it. But, it echoes. For every one person to say they’re genuinely excited by Gigi’s impending adoption, the silence echoes tenfold in my heart. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I should be used to it. There was always something people found a reason to be upset about.
A black child?!? You’re white!
Another one so soon?!?
Oh, thank God, a girl! But still…
From Ghana? YOU’RE GOING TO AFRICA?!?
OLDER CHILDREN?!? ARE YOU NUTS?!
Your baby is DYING! They’ve told you that! Why are you doing this to your children?
Then, the silence began.
Fine. Do it again. You seem to have it handled. You ask us for nothing. Your children have proven us wrong every single time, but, for whatever reason, that’s not enough. So, we will say nothing.
It will never be enough.
We will never be enough for some.
I can’t prove to the world that our family is okay. It can’t be done. I will always be met with disapproving silence. I have accepted that. It hurts, yes, but I no longer shed tears over it. You become hardened to it after awhile, much like, I suppose, people do who are constantly beaten down over issues like their skin color, who they love, or how they were born. We don’t have to justify our family, or our children’s existence in it, to anyone. No one should have to justify themselves for living in a way that causes no harm to anyone else.
The rub this time is, my kids hear your silence.
They hear it when you won’t talk about their new sister with them.
They hear it when you won’t make eye contact with them.
They hear it when you refuse to say ‘congratulations.’
I’m working on teaching them to hear the joy, to hear the celebration, to hear the support. It will take time, and it will cost them relationships with family. My kids will be alright. They’ll live. They’ll love. They’ll move on. The noise, the love, the joy will enfold them. I truly believe that.
We’re going to make some noise of our own today as we celebrate our girl who has always only heard the joy. For anyone who has chosen not to celebrate her because you don’t agree with the way we live…
that will have to be your loss.
–FullPlateMom, who is choosing joy.