20 January 2015

How to make adoptive families cringe

2. "Are you going to have any of your own real children?"
I remember standing next to my mother, I was maybe 11, and hearing a stranger ask this question to my mommy.
Eleanor and Ralph, my awesome parents, on my Gotcha Day.
We were in a check out line and this stranger was commenting on my dark eyes and hair and my mother's very blond hair and light eyes. The conversation continued and, eventually, my mom told the stranger that I was her "little adopted angel."
It was then the question came.
"Are you going to have any of your own real children?"
I sank. Pretended not to hear.
My mom, however, smiled sweetly. And then totally let the woman have it.
"Does my daughter not look 'real' to you?"
She continued on. I don't remember exactly what was said. But I do remember smiling and feeling proud of my mom as she blasted this ignorant soul. It was glorious.
I have always known I was adopted. And I have never been ashamed of being adopted.
I have an older brother (from my mom's first marriage) and a younger sister who were not adopted. There were many miscarriages before they made the decision to adopt. It was a difficult process for them - financially and emotionally.
Throughout my life I've heard all sorts of comments from people. Most are made out of ignorance.
The next time you encounter an adoptive family, don't say these things ...

1. How can you love her as much as your other kids?
Seriously? What?
2. Are you going to have any of your own real children?
We already talked about this one.
3. You two look like you could really be sisters.
First of all, God's funny like that. Second of all, we are really sisters.
4. Do you know the parents?
Uh, we're the parents.
5. Aren't you afraid she'll find out she's adopted?
She knows she's adopted. Why would we keep that a secret?

Are you in an adoptive family? What's the worst thing someone has said to you?

01 January 2015


One of the groups I belong to on Facebook is called Friends by choice ... CML sisters by blood.
It's a closed/secret group of "just women coming together to share their CML stories or to even just vent, encourage and let loose and connect with other ladies."
There are 509 of us in the group.
One of us entered heaven on Dec. 30. She had been fighting chronic myelogenous leukemia for 15 years. 
I never got the chance to meet Karen in person. All I knew of her was from what she posted on Facebook. And, quite often, she would pop in to the CML sisters group, post a selfie and simply say "hi to my sisters." It was her trademark. A simple selfie. Her sweet smiling face.
One of her last posts to the CML sisters group was a selfie taken during her ambulance ride to the hospital a few days before she died. Even then she looked beautiful.
In honor of her we are all posting our own selfies to the CML sisters group. #selfie4Karen
It's beautiful. So beautiful. One of the CML sisters counted 150 so far. Wow.
Looking through the posts, here's what struck me about the photos ...
A handful of us are in the hospital.
There's a picture from a hospital bed. A few more are wearing hospital gowns.
But we don't look sick.
We look young. Happy. Beautiful. Strong. Not sick.
I know a lot of us feel crappy - I read it in our posts every day. We struggle. We have pain. We have fears. We have frustrations. We have anger. We have cancer.
I treasure this group of women. They are wise. Compassionate. Inspiring. Giving. Silly. They understand what it's like to live with this cancer. 
And they smile anyway. 
Today, the smiles are for our dear, sweet sister, Karen. It feels like she's getting a standing ovation. 
One of the CML sisters posted "I feel like I just met all my sisters with all the selfies."
Another CML sister said "I LOVE seeing everyone's beautiful faces. I know Karen would love that we are thinking of her and celebrating her spirit." 
My #selfie4Karen