Friday, September 11, 2009

Have you ever wanted to say. . .

This is a guest post. Again. I tell you this right off for two reasons: First becuse I don't want to confuse anyone and have you think that your usual blogger has lost some of her style, wit, charm, etc. And also because I want to make sure that if you are critical of this post, you know who to direct it at. . . .

I'm sure we all get them: The innocous comment by a friend, family member or neighbor. They range from the ever popular "You are doing such a good thing! (by adopting)" to "How lucky she is that you brought her here from Africa".

They touch on my deepest thoughts and feelings relating to adoption. The incredible mix of love, protectiveness and anxiety I feel about my daughter. The sadness I feel for the poverty in Ethiopia and the sacrifice her birth family made. The happiness I feel as she has grown and settled in to our family. The questions I will have for years about what comes from nature vs. nurture.

I'm just still not sure how to respond to many of these comments. Often I take the easy way out. Smile, nod, make some vacuous comment about how much our daughter has given to our family. How blessed we are by her place in our lives.

I want to say "stop". It's not about "doing a good thing". We all need to wake up and realize that there are children that don't have enough to eat. There are families without water, heat and light in the twenty-first century. We will not solve this one child at a time. I want to tell them to learn about and support AHOPE. To think about the poverty in Africa, South America, Asia. And not to stop thinking about it because it feels 'too big'.

It is big. But it will only get better one person at a time. We need to say 'enough'. We need to talk about it. We need to make this a world where families in poorer countries don't need to make this awful choice.

But how can we on a micro level, make a macro change? I don't know the answer to this, but some of the strongest people in history have begun change with simple acts. And out of simple acts, they have begun to change their worlds.


rebekah said...

Jud, is this you? This is beautiful.

How about if we figure out a way when someone makes those comments to quickly turn the conversation around to our shared humanity and what can be done, one act, one small person, at a time.

I hate the emphasis on 'helping those less fortunate' especially when applied to my son or his Ethiopian family! It's not about that. It's about respect for humanity. Period.

Yes, we are connected quite tightly to Ethiopia, but everyone is connected. And I've often felt that when someone sees our family, they begin to see that. SO, can we verbalize that with strangers in a helpful way?

Leslie said...

Beautifully written. You are both so talented at putting your thoughts and feelings into words.

Because we adopted a Caucasian child in the U.S., the only questions we receive are along the lines of, "Where did she get her blond hair (or straight hair)?" Miriam and I "adopted" the habit of looking at each other and saying, simply, "It must be in the genes."

Not that I am in any way comparing your experience with ours but I've had just a glimpse into the experience.

Your title, "Have you ever wanted to say..." is one I would have liked to use when confronted with a serious illness. The comments one receives are unbelievable. Even more than a decade later, my anger stirs just thinking about it.

Which brings me back to what you and Rebekah have already said: it's about educating one person at a time.

By the way, you should consider translating this phenomenal blog into a book.

Love to all.