I realize that when one enters the journey of adoption, one becomes quickly immersed in the well-intentioned comments of other. Generally, they are full of kind intentions and subtle wounds. Nothing is "meant" by them, but they hurt on some level just the same.
The other day at my son's soccer class, another kid's grandma was talking to him and he spouted, proudly, that we're adopting a new sister. He threw that little tidbit out with his usual excitement, positively bragging about this neat new kid sister he's looking forward to having. The lady stopped, looked taken aback, and then turned to me for confirmation. Her face was a mask of obvious shock and disbelief. "You're adopting?" she asked me, cautiously. "Yes," I gushed. "We're adopting a little girl from Bulgaria. We hope to have her home this summer." The woman looked flustered. Finally, she seemed to gather her wits enough to say "Well, I merit you!"
Thanks, I suppose, but I don't want to be merited. I don't want to be treated like I get "extra credit" for this. See, I'm simply adding to my family. I'm adding a child, specifically. No one would tell me what a saint I am if I said I was pregnant. No one would say "what a good thing you're doing" if I told them I had gone off my birth control. The news of a new biological child would be met with happiness, congratulations, or celebration. There might be some high-pitched squealing and jumping in place. Questions about names, dates and gender would flow. They'd ask how I feel, how I'm eating, if I'm sick. They'd smile and nod knowingly about stretch marks and swollen feet and just be happy for me.
Calling me a saint for taking this child into my home implies that she is a burden in a way that any biological kid is not. There's the implication, and sometimes the outright statement, that there must be something wrong with this kid. Because if there wasn't, they wouldn't need to be adopted, right?
I told hubby how I felt about this little encounter and how it bothers me when people seem to think our new daughter qualifies us for martyr status. He asked me, so very astutely, "What would you rather she said?"
"Congratulations" I said. "Just like any other pregnant woman. I just want the world to be as happy for us as I am."