Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Always on My Mind

I don't think of myself as particularly sensitive when it comes to word choice or up on all the politically correct phrases, particularly when some phrases are correct or not depending on with whom you are talking.  Adoption language is the same way for me.  Yes, I've heard a lot of phrases, some of which I understand, some not, but most of which I try to avoid because it doesn't cost me anything and some people seem to really, really care.  Plus perhaps someday the person who will really, really care will be my daughter.

So this isn't about whether some phrases are appropriate or not, because I don't know, or even about me being offended, because I wasn't. 

This morning after my Bible study a friend was commenting on her 3 year old daughter's hair--"look how bad it is, it looks like she is an orphan."  This led to a discussion about how bad my children's hair always the extent that I got a "compliment" on their Christmas picture of their "sleepy heads."  (This also did not hurt my feelings.)

Then another woman chimed in that she calls her bed head "teriyaki hair" because it looks like she has chopsticks everywhere.

So I "know of" people on-line who would be offended that the plight of the orphan was trivialized or that another person would make a racists comment.  A part of me pondered those responses, but all I felt was sad...and I couldn't figure out why since I knew the speakers hearts' and intent and they are not offensive.

But you know what I figured out?  I'm sad for a few reasons.  One more intellectual sadness is that I'm pretty sure they would have not have said those comments if my daughter (who is not yet here) was on my hip.  I think they would have been conscious that at one point she was an orphan and that she is from China and would have held back potentially problematic phrases...or immediately retreated with embarrassment afterwards.  I don't know what that says about our culture or the actual appropriateness of certain language, but I know it makes me sad.  Partly because it shows she is not on their mind right now (which I find completely understandable).

But a larger part, the more emotional part, is sad because even in the most pessimistic of scenarios (aside from the never adopting scenario) we should be home with a 1 year old in less than 7 months (probably sooner).  That means somewhere in China today there is a baby who is between 2-8 months old...ALREADY an orphan...who has to wait 4-7 months to meet her new family, her plan B. 

And that makes me sad.  

Some part of me each day as I snap pictures, go to MOPs and my photography classes, as I play games with my children, as we go to Nativity plays, dinner with friends, as I enjoy life, a small part of me is always a little sad.  When the timeline was impossibly long and unpredictable, I did not feel this so frequently.  But knowing she has to have be born, has to have been taken to an orphanage, that possibly her caregiver or foster mom are falling in love with her knowing she will someday leave them, that she is hearing a language that should be hers but will be lost, that... 

It makes me sad.  (Maybe a little less sad when I'm arguing homework with my middle child...)

Now, I don't actually want this sadness to go away.  I don't want to go about life and forget her.  I believe this feeling will only help me have compassion for her, particularly during the transition if I can remember what she lost while I lived a life of privilege and joy.

I just do not know how intense it must be for the moms and dads who already know who is going to join their family but are still waiting and waiting to travel.  Someday soon, hopefully, that will be where we are at, so then I'll know.  Even though I expect it to be hard, I cannot wait.

In the meantime, we got 3 little children passports in the mail today...only one should be needed when we travel to China...but 3 passports means we are one step closer to being a family of 6, to bringing home our child and begin healing the wounds created by 1 year as an orphan.

1 comment:

No Greater Love said...

Yes, it's amazing how many words can be said that we don't think about at the time, but that really could be hurtful to people, depending on their circumstances. I can think of lots of scenarios where this is the case.

Makes me want to be so careful what I say. :) But..alas, I am one who puts her foot in her mouth frequently. ;) are also right. It is so sad thinking your daughter is born right now...and you are not with her. :( Soon, my friend. Soon....

Sooo glad you got your passports, though. :)