Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Richard speaks out....

When I wrote this post, Debbie B commented, "I'd love to hear Richard's responses to those questions if he ever wants to be a guest blogger!!!" I asked him and to my surprise he said, yes. So, here is my husband, Richard.

My wife, Tracey, has been encouraging me to do a GUEST BLOG so, bare with me. I'm a blog virgin! Tracey said she blogged about our Adoption Night Panel and that you all would like the answers to the questions I was asked. So..."LIVE FROM ALBUQUERQUE... IT'S BLOG NIGHT!!!!!"

What was the best part about being adopted?

The best part about being adopted was that I do not share my brother and father's hair or waist lines!! But seriously there really is no best part about being adopted. My mother sat me down, explained where I came from and then explained, "You are no different from anyone in this family. You have all the rights and privileges, but all the duties and responsibilities too." I didn't feel any less or more. I was just a family member who arrived via a different route.

What was the worst part about being adopted?

The worst part? That I'm not genetically linked with anyone I know. Several years ago, I met my best friend's brother. We went out for lunch and I could see how similar they were, despite being years apart. They laughed at the jokes the same way and I could see the cogs in their heads moving. I could see the bond they had that went beyond brotherhood. It was that they came from the same people and shared something imperceptible that went beyond friendship, beyond common past experiences. That's the worst part. I found though, that even if I may never have that, it is the relationship with my wife that is more important. "SMACK!" Just got a kiss for that one!

What is the most common question you get asked?

"What's it like being adopted?" How can I answer that? I don't have a frame of reference. So many people have different experiences being adopted. I was the 2nd of 3. I have a brother born 4 years before me and a sister 1 year after me. Now I'm going to raise an adoptee who may end up 1 of 1? It's not like I remember being handed off from a birth mother to my (real) mother? What's it like being heterosexual? How do you answer that??

Did kids tease you about being adopted?

Easy question. "No." Unlike race or an ugly mole at the end of your nose, anyone you don't want to know that you're adopted, you just don't tell them. It's that easy. SIDE NOTE: though I was the one who was adopted, my brother, Dan, told our little sister, who wasn't adopted, that she was! He told her that there is a "Good Girl" Store and a "Bad Girl" Store. He said that we picked her up at the "Good Girl" store, but it she didn't behave then there obviously was a mistake and we could return her to the "Bad Girl" store, where she would have to wait for a different family to come pick her up. He would pretend to talk on the phone with the folks from the "Good Girl" store and would say things like, "Yes she has been good this week, but she had a few episodes last week and we'll call back next week to see if we've changed our minds!" Needless to say teasing like this would spin my sister, Leslie, up.

How did your parents tell you that you were adopted?

Already covered that one. When my mother explained that I was adopted she said that as I grow up I may not look like or think like my sister or brother but that I am just the same in her eyes. No more, no less.

What do you wish others knew and/or understood about adoption?

Tracey started getting interested in books entitled, "How to raise an adopted child," or "How to treat your adopted child," but I feel that's a bunch of bunk. When you introduce your adopted child you don't say, "This is Sam, my adopted son." You just say, "This is Sam, my son." If he looks different, perhaps a different race, you address it if necessary. You then say, "Oh, I forgot, he is adopted." With all the foreign adoptions going on these days, it may not even cross their minds. I think, some times, we qualify things that we don't have to. Focus on the fact that he's your child, not your "adopted child" and he won't feel different.

FINAL THOUGHT: Though I was adopted in a closed adoption, I prefer the semi-open adoption that we are going through right now. I know my son's birth mother. She has let us in on the entire birth process. I have gotten to know Sam before he is born, by seeing who he came from. "K" (the birth mom) is a kind hearted, young girl, in a difficult place, but she has made a very mature, almost altruistic choice, to give Sam the best start possible. To see the love that allows her to let go of one growing inside of her, is truly inspirational. Her decision to "gift" her baby to us, makes me view my role as his Father that much more important. Also, It has been an ab-sol-ute joy to participate in a semi-open adoption. It has made the wait go by faster and the anticipation mount. I look forward to giving back to Sam's birth mom through stories and pictures after Sam is born and brought home.

Well there you have it. I hope these insights are helpful to those of you waiting for your "Gifts" to arrive!!



Amy said...

Great job, Richard!:)

Tracey...I see many future "guest husband" blog posts in your future.;)

To both of you: Samuel is a very blessed little baby to have you both as his parents.

Big hugs,

Michele said...

That was great, Richard! I have to say though about what you wish people many times the media interjects adopted along with whomever the child is. Here is Mrs. so and so and her adopted child John. I hear it frequently. It annoys me to know end! I try to educate people we come in contact with who may times will say about my boys (they are both Korean so our adoption is very obvious to most folks)where is there real mother? I always explain that I am their real mother. I always say birth parents. Another one is oh you don't have children of your own? My boys are my own and no we don't have biological children. I get weary sometimes of these questions, but we knew adopting internationally this would happen. Our biggest question we seem to get is are they brothers (biologically) I always just say yes!

Debbie B said...

From your answer of how you were told I'm guessing it was at an older age at least older then say 6. I know it's likely just the time that you grew up. People didn't talk about adoption to their kids from the start as they do now.
Will you tell Sam he is adopted from the beginning?

I also didn't realize that you were receiving updates from K. That's great. A wonderful treat for Sam I'm sure when he's older to know that you watched even from a far as he grew in his birth mom.

I've heard lots of adult adoptees mention the lack of a genetic link. That's one of the reasons I like open adoption. And your Sam will hopefully have pics of K for him to see where he came from.

Thanks so much for answering these questions. I enjoyed your post.

Anonymous said...

great job. SBP...

hope548 said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing!

Becky said...

I wrote about referring to children joined their families via adoption as the "adopted" child. I too hate that!
You do not say, "This is Lisa, my C-section daughter." "This is Tom, my a natural, no drugs used child."
And, I prefer the past tense when someone does ask or it comes up. It's important to tell your child and others, "You/he WAS adopted", not "He IS adopted". It's not a continual state of being. It was a process, the child is not a product, if I'm stating that to where it makes sense!

Melba said...

Wow, this was great...THANK YOU!


Peace said...

Just a beautiful response to all of the questions. It really touched my heart. God Bless You.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Loved getting to hear Richard's perspective on things - great job!