Thursday, September 20, 2007

You Must Be a Saint...You Must Be Crazy

OK. While I'm off and running on pet peeves, here's one for ya. When you announce to anyone that you are going to adopt older children...maybe several of them, there are two standard responses. Wanna take a guess at what they might be? Oh come on. I know you can get them. Maybe you've already said them to someone, in which case, go away and I'll never speak to you again. JUST KIDDING! But really, it's true. You announce this monumental thing, and these are the standard responses. For clarity and organization, I will address each one.

First, "You must be a saint." This is generally said by strangers, because if anyone knows me even a little bit, they know I am NOT a saint. And it's not like we went into this thing thinking it might improve our saint status. It's nice, kinda...but don't do it. It feels weird, because I am NOT a saint by the definition the commenter is using. It makes me feel like a fraud. It also makes my children feel weird if they happen to be standing nearby, and they are always standing nearby...like parenting my children is a cross to be borne , and if only I can get through I will reap jewels in the hereafter.

Second, "You must be crazy." Now I admit that we occasionally take a swim in that pool, and doing this thing might make you crazier than you were. But deciding to do this does NOT make us crazy. In fact, I'm uncertain what part of it makes us crazy. Is is the sheer size our family has grown to? Some people get wiggy about that. Or is it the money? Lots of kids equals lots of expenses, and we sure don't have loads of cash. Or is it the fact that the children are older, carry lots of baggage, don't look like us? I'm not sure what actually puts us into the category of crazy. And I'm sure that lots of folks just say it with a chuckle, because they don't quite know what to say. I can accept that, because I often say stupid useless things in an effort to lighten things up. But again...don't do it. First of all, it gives us all a complex, because the life we are living right now feels crazy a lot of the time. But we know that we have to swim through the crazy to get to something else. We're just hoping and praying that the something else is good.

Now I've made my point, and I hope you realize the gentle intention I had. But it wouldn't be very good without a suggestion to those of you who find yourselves with these words hanging off the tips of your tongues in similar situations. You may say, "Well, what should I say?" Here are my suggestions:

1. Congratulations! How wonderful!
2. How can we pray for you?
3. You are very lucky/blessed to have such a beautiful family.

7 comments:

Ann-tastic said...

I always knew you were a crazy saint and I am blessed to have you as a friend....now I am even more blessed for having met your newest family members. I can't help but thinking that someone breathed those words "are you crazy?" or "You ARE a saint" to my heavenly Father when he adopted me into his family...HA!

Nobody said...

That's a really good point A, and you can't imagine how many other poignant similarities I find along the way to this adoption of older children, and God's adoption of me as a "troubled older child". I certainly could have been considered hard to place.

Life in Fitzville said...

Followed you over from anti-racist parent, and I am so with you on this. We have 7 as well, our newest, but second oldest , so is from Haiti.

I just get so sick of these 2 comments.

I am enjoying reading through here, and your family is beautiful!

Mongoose said...

Well I don't know anyone offline who's adopting so much as a kitten, so I'm not sure what I'd say, but probably my standard response to everything: "good times." Silence is golden, as they say. :)

D said...

I get the same thing when people find out we're foster parents and adopting after all our girls are grown.
Your right, I am neither saint nor crazy (debateable on some days)
We are just a couple who UNexpectantly fell in love with a little boy who had no one who wanted him. And we provide food, shelter and love for those who need it for a little while. That makes neither a saint nor crazed person.
Just people trying to do what they think God wants them to do, for now.That's really all it is.

Cloudscome said...

I hear the same two comments and can't understand it at all because my little guys are so cute and I am so UNsaintly. People just talk out of their ears. I like your suggestions.

Jess said...

My question is, how should we respond to those comments? I never know what to say. If they say "you must be a saint", do I respond with "yes, I am, thanks" or "who me? Only through salvation!" Or if they say "You must be crazy" do I say "Yup, and loving every minute of it"? Normally I just make a strange half smile and stand there like an idiot.

Any suggestions?