So here is an account of what happened "after the show" on Monday night. Once the concert was over, we made our way to the lobby where someone told us that the kids from the choir would be coming out soon. We thought it'd be neat to meet them, and our kids were doing really well, so we proceeded to hang around. Big mistake.
It wasn't long before the comments started coming hard and fast. You know, how I must really have my hands full, etc. Before too much time had passed, I started overhearing a group of people standing right in front of me talking about my kids. Very loudly. Well it was mostly the woman doing the talking--and incidentally, she looked JUST like Anjelica Houston's version of Morticia Addams! Anyway, she was commenting on the kids, assuring her friends quite confidently that my sons weren't twins. I kept ignoring her but she kept going on and on and finally I interrupted her and said, "No, they ARE twins." "No," she said, "TWINS?" "Yep," I replied, wishing the conversation would end.
Then she found the need to point at Yosef and say "Well but he looks bigger." (Thanks, I hadn't noticed!) "That's because he is bigger; they're fraternal twins" I said. "Are they YOURS?" she asked. "Yep". "ALL of them?", pointing at my three. "Yep."
I don't remember the rest of the conversation. She was rude, I was annoyed (but am always too polite to SEEM annoyed, though Kevin can generally tell), and I was wanting to get as far away as I could from this place.
Over the course of the fifteen minutes we were in the lobby, I got all sorts of fun comments (and interestingly most of the people at this event were Christians). One lady who was for some reason really incredulous that I adopted twins from Ethiopia asked if the boys were a girl and a boy, two girls, or two boys. Ouch!
SO, my takeaway from all of this is that I am amazed at how it is, on the one hand, acceptable, important, and a good Christian thing to do to attend a concert put on by Ugandan orphans, and to donate a few bucks when they pass the plate. But on the other hand ten minutes later these same people find the need to treat me like an alien from another planet for giving two orphans a home? Did they not see the video they showed, with the starving children with flies all over them?
Maybe it's comfortable watching that video from your cozy seat in the performing arts center. Maybe it's fun watching the choir and maybe people don't stop to think that any one of those children performing would have given anything for their parents to have lived, or for a family to love them. I don't want people thinking that those who adopt are heroes or saints--because we're not. But you'd think after watching a video on war-torn Uganda, adoption would at least make SENSE. You'd think that if you met someone who adopted two orphans that you wouldn't treat them like they were the weirdest people on the planet.
I guess I left feeling frustrated and disgusted with the seemingly double standards. Part of supporting these causes is supporting others who support them. Why on earth so many Christians find adoption so strange and find what adoptive families do such a leap is beyond me. I'm not saying everyone has to adopt; there are SO many ways to fight global hunger and help orphans/impoverished children that are not adoption-related. But why do I find that Christians consistently treat me the most like I've gone and done something really strange and crazy? To be honest this baffles me. Non-Christians, if anything, seem to think it's cool, or have questions, or whatever, but there doesn't seem to be the same judgement there.
I don't expect people to relate to my life, or want my life, or even understand my life. I DO wish they would be polite and not point at my children, that they wouldn't talk loudly about them saying things that are untrue, and I wish that they wouldn't act like the fact that I'm home with my kids like any other stay-at-home mom is suicide-worthy. And I realize these people don't know my boys' past. They don't know about the mom who couldn't care for them, about the 5 months they spent living in an orphanage overflowing with over 400 kids dying from AIDS. They didn't see first-hand the starving beggars and the women trying to give me their babies.
And they're not there when Biniam gives Yosef a hug, or when Anna tells Biniam she loves him "soooooooooooo much." They're not there to see Yosef's huge smile or how from the minute Biniam wakes up he's calling for Anna. So how COULD they begin to understand the love I have for my kids and for our crazy family? But I just wish they could understand that it's not enough to say we as Christians desire justice and want to help orphans. Because part of that is truly believing in our hearts that orphans are worth helping, that pursuing justice in God's name is worth whatever cost/commitment He asks of us.
I hugged my kids extra tight before bed that night. I can't imagine my life without them.