There are five people on earth that I love more than you could ever imagine. I love them to the moon and back, or at least that’s what I tell them. To be honest, I don’t even know how much I love them. The way my love for them feels in my heart would be much further than just to the moon and back.
I love my wife. I love my oldest son, Reed. I love my second son, Nash. I love my third son, Will. And I love my baby son, Tuck. I love them so much, so sometimes it’s a little interesting to me that when we go to church, not everyone seems to agree with our nontraditional (or conspicuous) family. A conspicuous family is one in which the family has an obvious difference. For us, the difference is that my wife and I are caucasian and our four sons are Taiwanese.
We first laid eyes on our son, Reed on March 27, 2007. We thought he was beautiful and now that he is a big boy, age 5, he is very handsome. So, it was a little surprising when we were asked by someone at church why his "real mom" didn’t want him.
Answering this question is tough. We wanted to respond in love, but at the same time, maybe a little sarcastic (sorry, it’s just my nature!). However, my wife explained that his real mom did love him very much. After all, his real mom is my wife. Without missing a beat, she further explained that his birthmom also loved him very much. TIP for Ministry: Help educate your congregation that a child’s real parents are the ones that parent him or her.
On April 29, 2010, we got news that the baby girl we were waiting on was actually a sibling set of a 2-year-old boy and his newborn brother. Reed was going to have two little brothers joining very soon. To be completely honest, we have very little issue with answering people’s questions, as it is exciting to see people’s hearts turn toward adoption. The questions can be hurtful though at times. A friend of mine recently shared that someone had asked her if "she remembered the war" implying that it was inappropriate to adopt a "non-American" child. TIP for ministry: Encourage your congregation to be accepting of kids and familiies from all cultural and racial backgrounds.
The day after our third son’s birthday we received an email asking us if we would consider adding to our family again. We were pretty excited to find out that the birth mother was expecting a little girl. We were then really excited to find out that it wasn’t a girl, but another brother! So, that leads me to probably our most commonly received question: Are they brothers?
Depending on my mood, the answer can be as simple as "yes," but sometimes I elaborate by saying "They are now." In the interest of tweaking their answers, they clarify by saying: "I mean real brothers." Ouch! Yes, they are real brothers.
Now, I know that what they are really asking is "are they biological," and because not all of our boys are biological brothers, we have chosen not to discuss their blood relation. For right now, Reed, Nash, Will and Tuck are brothers, plain and simple. There might be a time when they need to know that some of them are biological, but we don’t think its too important right now. TIP for ministry: Help your congregation to know some questions, just don’t need to be asked. Just assume some information unless you know the person well enough to know the answer anyway.
This is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to questions that adoptive parents get asked. And because I know I’m not the only adoptive parent in ministry, I want to open up the discuss to you. How would you respond to these real-life questions we’ve been asked in church:
1. How much did you pay for them?
2. Does it bother you that they are not the same race as you?
3. Do they know they are adopted?
4. Why didn’t you adopt an American baby?
5. Why didn’t you want real children?
I’ll follow up at a later date with my responses to those questions. For now, you can enjoy pictures of my beautiful family at www.jeffandabbey2001.blogspot.com.