Most everyone I know and meet are genuinely excited about our adoption. That being said, most people are clueless as to what is actually happening here and how we're feeling about it. Our case worker warned us about this--that generally, most people's ideas about adoption are based on stories they've heard and made for TV movies--and so part of our job would be to educate those around us. So here is your first lesson.
1. Our adopting a child is not a noble thing. Or at least, it is no more noble than any other couple that starts a family. Parenthood is noble in and of itself. We're not adopting a child because we feel pity for some forlorn child in war-torn Sub-Saharan Africa. Even if we did feel called to adopt internationally, it would be because that is simply how God ordained to draw our family together. I'm pretty sure pity is a poor excuse for love.
2. We didn't come to adoption as a last ditch effort. Adoption is not our "Plan B." We haven't been cornered into adoption by our infertility. Yes, our chances of conceiving naturally are on par with our chances of winning the lottery, despite our not purchasing lottery tickets. Yet, when we've purchased tickets (or used assisted reproductive technology), we've been successful. Maybe not every time, but we do have Henry. Also, we didn't choose adoption because it is less expensive than IVF, either. Because it is not.
If I were to be accurate, I would say that adoption chose us. In the beginning, as the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters, God's plan for our family was to blend together both biological and adoptive children. We He created both Sloan and myself, it was with both Henry and our adoptive child in mind.
3. No, we aren't grateful that we have at least one real child. Well, yes, I mean, I am ever so thankful for Henry. He makes me laugh so hard and brings so much joy into our lives I can't imagine how I was ever happy prior to his birth (though I know I was). But before I punch you in the face for saying this to me, let me breathe, and let you in on the 411. Our adoptive child will be a real child. And I will be his real Mommy. The only alternative would be to be an imaginary child. Sloan will tell you that I've had imaginary children for awhile. As in, before we even got married I tried to have discussions with Sloan as to where our children would go to school and would we make them pay for their car insurance on their own when they turned 16. (I also made sure he had a back-up mother for these imaginary children in the event of my death. This still holds true--he is to marry either Auntie Robin or Auntie Stef in the event of my untimely demise. They are aware of this plan. I do not understand why they laugh at me when I talk about it and say things like, "Oh, EJ...")
Our adopted child will be our real son or daughter. And not just in some Velveteen Rabbit because they are loved sort of way. Our child is our child for the same reason Henry is our child-- because God gave us to one another. Will our child have a biological mother that he or she will share DNA with? Yes. Will he or she look like Sloan or me? Probably not. Will my son or daughter have gifts and talents that are rooted in another family? You bettcha. But she will be mine. And I will be hers. And there will be nothing imaginary about our relationship.
I've thought a lot about Joseph lately. Joseph the carpenter, not the one with the fancy coat. In as much as it is important to understand that we are adopted into God's family because of Jesus, I'm also beginning to understand and love that Jesus himself, on earth, was adopted by Joseph. He did not share DNA with Joseph, and yet it is Joseph's status as his father, his real earthly daddy, the one who wiped his nose and taught him how to hold a saw, that ensures that Jesus fulfills much prophecy. Joseph is the reason they go to Bethlehem. Scripture tells us that Joseph is a descendant of David, and refers to Joseph as Jesus' parent. After Jesus' birth, the Bible doesn't say Mary, his mother, and that guy Joseph she was engaged to. No. It definitively calls Mary and Joseph, collectively, Jesus' parents. Jesus' mother and father. And it is through his adoptive status into Joseph's line--the line of David--that we are all blessed.
Chew on that, imaginary people.