It's not that Jackson's adoption is a secret, or anything that we are ashamed of. But, I do want him to be able to share with the people he wants, when he wants. And that is just not possible right now because of the obvious small age difference between them. One of the reasons we decided to not adopt trans-racially was because we didn't want our child's story to be obvious every time we went out with him. We wanted our family to be able to be out and about and not have to tell our story every time we drew any kind of attention. I admire families who are able to do this around issues of race, ethnicity, etc. We just didn't feel up to it.
But, of course, things did not go quite as we planned. We do draw attention, and therefore questions. And so now we are faced with an interesting dilemma. How do we explain our situation without Jackson's entire story being a part of the conversation? First people want to know which one was adopted, then they want to know WHY we adopted - because, of course, if we can have biological children, why would we adopt? That is our culture's understanding of adoption - people only do it as a last resort. Adoption was never our last resort, but it was our answer to the never-ending loss that trying to conceive produced for us. So, of course, when people ask, I feel compelled to tell people that we had trouble conceiving...because I know the assumption behind the question. But is it really their business why we adopted? I love people's open and honest curiosity, I really do. I want our story to be heard, the hope in it is beautiful. I just want it to be done in a way that respects each and every one of our family members.
I am so proud of our family, of how we came together, of the clear hand of God in all of it. We could not have planned out or produced such a unique and gorgeous family ourselves. So, my hesitation at telling the entire story to every stranger has nothing to do with shame! Mostly, I want to protect Jackson. As he gets older, I do not want him to feel like his story is not his own, that every stranger on the street now knows it, that he is singled out as "the adopted one" in our family. So, I have to figure out a way to answer probing questions with vagueness as well as kindness. I know some of you reading have been there, or are currently there, with your children. Any ideas are more than welcomed!