"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Breaking An Adoption Rule...Keeping it Real

(Grace at a really cool park on a "not very special" day at home)

The week after our fabulous Easter, we were able to spend a lot of time at home.  It was the "big" kids' spring break from school.  We were able to sleep in, relax, and spend time together.  Grace was taking a bath on Monday morning (THE DAY AFTER EASTER!) when she said to me ...  "I sure hope we do something special today (dramatic emphasis on special), because yesterday was really not that special (dramatic emphasis on that). We only did three things (dramatic emphasis on three)."
I about lost my mind.
What has happened to this little girl from Ethiopia???
Then I proceeded to break one of the rules that my social worker (If you are still reading our blog Mary, you were right) told me I would be tempted to break...
She explained that as adoptive parents, we would be tempted to bring up the past in a way that gave our child a sense of "you are so lucky to be here" sort of way.  Ummm...totally did that.

I started by telling my spoiled little diva  sweet Grace that I think we DID have a very special day the day before.  I asked Grace if she thought she would have been able to have a day like that while she lived in Ethiopia.  I explained that doing any ONE thing made for a special day, but three special things?  Are you kidding me???  I went into a little rant about how the kids in her old orphanage probably spent the day.  I asked her if she thought they hunted for Easter baskets, went to the zoo, or went out for a fancy dinner...
I was so crabby with her.
Then I got to thinking...why is it so much harder for me to stomach her not being appreciative?  If my other (homegrown) kids had said something like that, I probably would have ranted a bit, but it really socked me in the stomach more when Grace said it.  
I think I expect her to appreciate things more because of where she has been and what she has already endured.  That is wrong.  I know better.  It is not fair for me to expect that a five year old girl can distinguish the difference between the blessings we take for granted and the life she used to live.
My heart was sad, but the bottom line was a struggle that I continue to have daily...I repeatedly question who really has it better; all of us living in the U.S., or the beautiful people I met in Ethiopia?  This question may sound crazy to people who haven't been there, but when I saw the pure joy and hope that exists in Ethiopia, it makes me crazy to think that we want more here...we expect so much...we are so darn overindulgent!  
Well, I don't have the answer to the question of who is better off.  I know that we are richly blessed with food and medical care in the United States.  I know that I would not last too long as a missionary in a third world country (I AM very soft in many ways), yet I long for the joy and hope that I saw in the faces of those in Ethiopia.


  1. Oh Deena, we have all walked down this road. It is different, it just is. I wonder though if sometimes we struggle because we ourselves have not truly been changed by what we know? Have I sold everything and given it to the poor? Well, Jesus has asked me to. I tithe, but do I give sacrificially? No. Our girls do not remember where they came from. They are now products of our American culture and all that goes with that. Still, it's hard and my Grace is by far my most demanding child and I wonder about that.

  2. Deena, we also struggle with this daily! Lincoln and I OFTEN make snide comments and little rants to each other when our boys leave the room. We feel bad about it, but its important that we can express those frustrations. In fact, we just said last night, maybe we could write a book about our under the breath comments for other adoptive parents to make them not feel so bad about themselves! ;0) You. are. not. alone.

  3. Thanks so much for the honesty. I can totally see where that would be an issue. We've often said it would be better to raise our children in a third-world country than in the materialism that surrounds us here!

  4. Yep. Done this. Several times. :-( In fact, just this morning on the way to school Avé was complaining about how school is not fun. (she actually loves it) My boys agreed and that was enough to launch me on a 7 minute tirade about how LUCKY they are that they GET to go to school and included ranting statements like, "You know what SOME kids are doing today??? They woke up, DIDN'T eat breakfast, and took off on a 3 hour walk to get WATER. After they fill a dirty jug with dirty water, they have to walk 3 hours back home. And THAT is what THEY will be doing what YOU are "not having fun" at school!!!"

    Ungratefulness gets me every time. Bio OR adopted.

    So... I've got your back, Deena!!! ;-)

  5. Oh, my word, yes! Our two little treasures, ages 4 & 6, have only been home six weeks and we are already seeing those attitudes in them. My 11yo son went to ET and when my husband asked him about his observations, he said that the kids in the orphanage were the happiest ones on the planet. This is where our girls had been for over a year. I understand what you're saying about the joy in the hearts of the people there. I am seriously struggling with these very same issues and I also wonder who has it better.