Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This post carries a disclaimer

I need to begin with a disclaimer that this is not a pity party. I am also not angling for tangible items/gifts as my kids lack for nothing, but the question has bothered me since the birth of our daughter 12 years ago.

I have debated posting this for a long time, but it has nagged at me since Richnigthder and Jerome came home on April 30th. When Madison and Thomas were born, NO ONE offered a baby shower for our new bundles of joy. Not my mom, sisters, friends, NO ONE. Please don't get me wrong; my kids had everything they needed tangibly and intangibly provided by Marc and me, but why did no one acknowledge their arrivals as if I had given birth??? Fast forward 12 years to Richnigthder and Jerome's arrival and only one family acknowledged their presence in our family with a card and gift. That family has no idea just how much their card and gifts meant to us. Someday soon I will tell them. No friends, no neighbors, no sisters, no brothers, no grown neices or nephews, no MIL or FIL.........only one family thought enough of us and our two little boys to acknowledge their addition to our family. This makes my heart ache. I feel as if their arrival is as inconsequential as if I had bought a new pair of shoes. Hell, my dog died 6 weeks ago and I received a half-dozen sympathy cards.

So this is my question. Is it because they are adopted? Is it Marc and/or me that no one likes and fails to recognize our two little boys as snubs to us? Is it apathy on everyone's part that it is just no big deal? I really don't know so I am seeking answers. Our adoption journey has been a very public journey, both to those close to us; i.e. friends and family, and also known to those who have stumbled upon our adventure through the blogging world. I realize the world is a busy place and we all have obligations tugging on us, but why on earth have those I love and sacrificed for, failed to acknowledge my precious children.

I want the world to know that just because all 4 of my children came to us through adoption, they should not be perceived any differently than if they had grown in my uterus. I thank God for my children, their health, and the things we have been fortunate enough in life to amass. Is it just me, or is it because they are adopted? What could be the reasons for the lack of even a Hallmark card to celebrate a new family member?

I am jealous when I hear of birth mom's or adoptive mom's having baby showers. Thank God I have never needed the possessions that are 'showered' on the mom's, but it sure stings that no one cares enough to send a card. This is an open invitation to all readers to leave their thoughts as to my questions? My heart aches for my kids who are blissfully unaware of my stings. I need other people's insights and thoughts. Remember this is not a pity party for myself, but a public sharing of some raw feelings and a need for answers.


Laurie said...

I experienced the same thing & feel it was because they were older children, almost 3 & 5 years & additionally they were not my first children. A couple of co-workers adopted from Ethiopia & China & brought home young babies (both their first children) & work hosted beautiful baby showers for them.

I never expected anything from others & it was a good thing because that is what I got. My sister didn't even make a trip to see them until they were home 10 months.

It doesn't matter - we got the best gift of all, our children home & anything else is gravy but not necessary.

Sorry your feelings were hurt by the lack of acknowledgement. I am thrilled for you that your boys are finally home.


Brent and Lori said...

I think the age of the child has a lot to do with whether people think of things like that.

I think with our international adoption it feels like we've been "in labor" to "deliver" these kids for 19 months now so by the time our kids finally arrive people are so used to the discussions and the situation that there's nothing "new" to celebrate for them.

How did your first two adoptions work - did you know before hand that you would be getting these two babies when they were born or was it a sudden "we have a baby. is your family available?" sort of thing?

My only sister just had her first baby and I think, to some extent, I've been a bit reserved about the whole thing. Even though I've dealt with the fact that it will never be me in that situation it's still not an easy emotion to go through.

And, by the way, if one more stranger says, "Oh, you picked the EASY way to have kids" when they hear we're adopting....

Julie said...

I am truly sorry that no one in your family acknowledged the boys. It is strange, this adoption journey and I've only just begun. I sent a note to my rather large extended family when I got my update on my son and gave some info and a few pix. Only my aunt emailed and said how happy she was for me. Not my mom or my sisters or any other relatives. I was upset! I've wanted children for twenty years and they all know what a rough journey it has been so I assumed they would celebrate with me. Perhaps they don't know what to say, or I don't know, because at school whenever a mom sends a few pix around I always email back and say how cute or something. And all my friends at school (I'm a teacher) sent me lots of notes and congrats when I shared. Maybe they are better at email:)

So I have a smaller scale idea of what you felt and I hear ya, it stinks! Children come from God and our hearts, and who gave birth to them shouldn't matter when it comes to celebrating their arrival. I have loved hearing about your family on the family forum and from your website. I'm thrilled the boys are home and you are all together!

Lots of hugs!

Melissa said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. VERY few people acknowledged our kids coming home either. I felt a little snubbed as well because other people are on their 50th kid and the entire neighborhood is throwing a shower for them. It is just the lack of excitement that bothered me the most. But, in the end my kids are cuter and smarter than all of their stupid kids that it is them that I feel sorry for!!!:-)

Kristi said...

Thankfully, we have been overly blessed by so many people. Our families are both supportive and Nate school went above and beyond when they found out our niece and nephew were coming at the same time as Kobe and did a huge shower without the "shower" - there was a laundry hamper with three sections and each section had one of the three kid's names - it was overflowing with clothes, books, toys...etc for the kids. My work has been less than enthusiastic about it which is disappointing but I figure we have so many people in our lives who are so excited and have stopped by to meet the kids. I think it's most disappointing because we are so so so excited - excited doesn't even begin to describe how we feel and it's never fun to have a buzz kill. I can understand that it's bugging you - and rightly so but try and let it go. And don't be afraid to throw yourself a party. Now that the boys are home and settled throw a huge bash - for them, for you, and invite everyone you know. We are considering doing that later in the summer as well. But you know me I'm always the one to look toward the bright side.

Walker said...

First off, the new additions to your family are so darn cute! Here is what I have to say about your comment. Having gone through an adoption myself as a birth mother, I know all too well how you're feeling. When Mother's day rolls around and nobody wishes me well, it's a painful reminder. For you, when people don't see a big belly or hear about contractions, etc. they don't think about baby showers or gifts. They don't do it on purpose they just don't connect. It may seem rude and insensitive but 1+1=2, if you don't have the first or second 1 how can it =2. I'm sorry you feel sad and left wondering why. This is what I can tell you, I would have no idea or any clue that you were going through this adoption if it weren't for your family in Oregon. I get all of the updates and am told when there are new pictures. This information comes from a family who is proud and very supportive of your family. Hopefully someday everyone will realize that just because things aren't done in the "normal way" doesn't mean it's not the same thing.

I'm glad your journey is finally over. Enjoy your growing family!

:) Erin

Kathleen said...

Wow! You’re right! I absolutely neglected to send a physical acknowledgment of Jerome and Richnightder’s arrival in the country. Life is busy, but I can’t attempt to make excuses for such an oversight.

I sought Art’s advice in this as both his kids were adopted, too. He said when David came home, because they lived in Alaska and so far from extended family, it was their church that welcomed and showered him. Likewise, when Michelle arrived, again the church brought meals and presents for the baby. Because of the distance from family, apparently there wasn’t any special celebration of/by/for family. He also explained that the family didn’t get to see David until they made a trip to Idaho when he was a year or so old.

Should that make it any less hurtful for you? Not at all. Again, for being insensitive and remiss, I apologize. Art and I will be shopping for Welcome presents for Jerome and Richnightder this weekend as well as Big Sister(Again) and New Big Brother presents for Madison and Thomas.

Geralyn, it’s never my intent to hurt you (or anyone else -- unless it’s some snarky 23 year old blonde with perky boobs). I’m sincerely sorry to have hurt you and your family and am quite humbled by this.

AprilC said...

Right there with you...the only thing that changed this for us is Darline's birthday was a few days after coming home....and on our first adoption I was pregnant so there was a joint Maya/Jack shower....but no one got it and most of the presents 80% were for Jack.

Angela said...

OMG! Geralyn, I am in no way snubbing you, Marc, Madison, Thomas, Jerome or Richnightder. I love you all very much, and without you who knows where your 12 year might be today. I am overjoyed that Madison now has 3 wonderful brothers to take care of her,or for her to dress up and beat on :-) Please accept my apologies for not sending cards and gifts. Your whole family is in my thoughts and prayers daily.
Love you all,

Corey said...

We have one child by birth. When we adopted the first time, we were so over-the-moon excited.. we even sent out adoption announcements. No response, from anyone. It was so, so hurtful. My family accepted her as our daughter, I think that really, no one knew the "right" thing to do. They had no experience.

When we adopted the second time, we didn't make announcements, and no one did anything. The third (and final) time, some other adoptive families gave us gifts, one even sent us take-out food from across the country!

I *choose* to believe that people just don't know what to do, or that they *should* make a big deal about the growing of a family, however it comes about. (I might just be being generous.)