Wednesday, August 8, 2012

things that have been said to us that make my heart ache a little...

Please don't read this and then fear that you have to be careful about what you say to me, lest I mock it in a future post. First, I'm not mocking any of these statements. And second, I am thankful for comments that surprise me - even the ones that bother me - because they make me think. 

Let's talk. I won't turn your words into a post. I promise.

"Well, of course she's stubborn. All Chinese kids are."
Wow, where do I start? She isn't Chinese. She's actually about 50% Puyama (a tribe indigenous to Taiwan), about 25% Dawu (another tribe indigenous to Taiwan), and about 25% Han Chinese.

Okay, so she is Chinese. A quarter Chinese.

But, even if she were 100% Chinese, here's a quick lesson. Any statement beginning "All _________ kids are" is always wrong.

Well, almost always. The statement, "All Dingle kids are cute," is absolutely true.

"I bet you're glad you got her so young so you don't have to deal with all the problems with orphans who are older."
Um, yes, we're glad we got her young. There are definite benefits to that.

But we planned to adopt an older child. And we still hope to do so someday.

Because I know people know this already, but it's worth saying: those older children who (might, but might not) have problems? They're orphans.

As in, they don't have a mom or dad or other family member caring for them.

That's a problem.

And, quite frankly, that's a problem that many of us could solve. Not for every child, but for one, either through adoption or through supporting someone else's adoption.

"It's so cool that the ministry where Zoe lived works with many mothers to help them parent their children so that they can have an option other than adoption."
Yes. That is very, very cool.

The reason this one makes my heart ache is that not enough ministries like Morning Light exist. At Morning Light, their focus isn't adoptions. Sure, they facilitate them, and they do it well.

However, their purpose is to function as a crisis pregnancy center. That involves not just counseling mothers to choose other options than abortion, but it also means they support moms after they choose life. If that means providing housing, they do that; the mothers' home is a three story building with dorm rooms. If that means they need something to eat, they have a food bank that includes, yes, food but also diapers and formula and other necessities. If that means they choose adoption but need counseling and support as they move forward, they have it. And if it means that they don't want to meet their child's adoptive parents or see their child again after she is born, well, they honor that too.

Oh, how I wish we could have met Zoe's first mother for so many reasons.

As I started to write this, I didn't mean to end it in this way, but I really, truly, wholeheartedly love the missionaries who served Zoe and her friends so well... so if you are willing to sacrifice something to benefit this precious couple who is sacrificing themselves daily to serve the people of Taitung (and I forgot to add above, sharing Christ with those they serve, in addition to meeting their earthly needs), here's where you can make a tax-deductible donation to the crucial work they do:

P.O. Box 219228 
Houston, Texas 77218-9228 
Include a note that the donation is for: Luke & Deana Pan/Morning Light

In addition to one-time donations, they are in need of donors to sponsor mothers in the mother's home with monthly donations. We'll be doing that starting next month.

Let me end this post by saying, once again, please don't be afraid to say something to us, lest we be bothered by it. We want to be an open book about what God has done in our lives through adoption, so feel free to ask away!

And here's another post for you adoption-loving folk. Shaun Groves will be mc'ing for the Together for Adoption conference in Atlanta in September, and I've heard great things about it!


  1. Here is the comment that always makes me squirm for 22 different reasons:

    "You are so awesome for adopting. I'm so glad you found your calling."

    A, I'm not awesome, any more awesome than for having getting pregnant. B, it 'relieves' them of having to do anything about the orphan crisis, because it's not their 'calling.'

    1. Yes.

      That's part of what brought about a post earlier in our process - I was scared that people were so convinced that we were awesome (we aren't) that they wouldn't realize we needed encouragement too:

      (PS - I've been following your blog for a while and praying for your adoption and mourning with you that she's not home yet. I almost commented on your comment on Shaun's blog to say, "I'd gladly pull out my shot at going so that Missy can go," because I know numb is a hard place to be.)

  2. Hi. Found this link from Shaun Groves' blog. I can appreciate the 'things that have been said'. I have a child (possibly two, we're awaiting diagnosis) with ASD and people have said things which are less than helpful, sometimes through nastiness, other times simply through ignorance.

    Missy, please don't assume that anyone who is not adopting is not doing so because they're making excuses. I've read the same about people not being missionaries. I feel those same things about people's lack of interest in helping vulnerable adults, which my husband and I have a 'calling' to. It's not your burden to wonder why or why not. You can't do any more than you already are and you are already doing enough.

    God bless and thanks for this thoughtful post.

    1. P.S. I hope that doesn't read as accusatory. It was meant very gently.

    2. Thanks for commenting, Zoe! (Love your name, of course, given that it's our youngest child's name.) We serve in special needs ministry, so I've heard many stories from parents about ignorant comments that have been made intentionally and unintentionally. Breaks my heart each time, just as it encourages me every time I see attitudes changed as our church becomes more and more welcoming.

      As for Missy's words, I didn't read her comment to be assuming that people who weren't adopting were making excuses. First, she was talking about people doing nothing about the orphan crisis, not simply "not adopting" - so many friends supported our adoption through prayer and money and meals and hand-me-down baby items, and each of them did something about the orphan crisis in that way. Second, I think she was specifically talking about those who express the attitudes of me/Missy=awesome=adopting vs. them=notawesome=notinvolvedinorphancare, using false modesty as a reason not to get involved in orphan care in some way.

      Either way, though, I don't think your comment was accusatory, but thanks for adding the note to make sure your intentions were clear! I agree that it's not helpful to wonder why someone is or isn't doing something... you know, the whole speck in their eye, log in my own thing from the Bible.

  3. (Sorry if this double posts, but I tried to enter a comment and got lost somewhere on a log in screen. Don't see it coming up yet so I will repost.)

    We had many of the same issues with domestic foster care and adoption. Our experience did not go well, and it certainly wasn't helped by people around us who thought that our foster daughter's severe behavioral issues could be dealt with the same way as parenting their biological children. I never said anything because I knew the advice came with the best intentions. But it always made me feel inside as if in some way in was belittling the severe trauma and abuse our foster child had endured.

    We are now attempting to adopt internationally- this time from Eastern Europe. We hosted a wonderful little girl from an orphanage and spent 4 wonderful weeks with her (if you want more back story check out I know we will encounter many of these same issues. But I am also confident that relying upon the Lord, each other, families, and our community we can give Alex a safe, loving, stable home.


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