How to Handle the Questions That Come With Adoption
by Christine Rhyner
“Do they know their families?”
“Do you have any of your own kids?”
“How much did you pay?”
This is a small sample of questions I’ve been asked in front of my kids since my husband and I adopted our son from Vietnam and our daughter from China.
As a follower of Christ, I wanted to find a godly way to handle repetitive, hurtful adoption questions. Of utmost importance to me has been the protection of my two children from the negative ways these questions might affect them. I needed to empower them to have ready answers for those who would engage them as they grow and are on their own.
We can successfully handle adoption questions by first examining the motivations behind them. There will always be those who are curious. For many it is completely outside of their life experience. They may only have incorrect information about it. Some may have considered pursuing it.
One good way to do this is to respond to a question with one of your own. For instance, if someone wants to know how much you paid for your kids, you might say, “Oh, are you considering adoption?”
Getting a potential why to what we are asked enables us to extend grace—or let others off the hook—even while their unsolicited nosiness about our families makes us bristle. This is the first step toward forgiveness which is at the core of a Christian’s faith. For when repetitive affronts pile up and we allow resentment to build and anger to take hold, we negate what Christ has done for us on the cross and His forgiveness of our own sins.
Proverbs 29:11 tells us that “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
When handling adoption questions, we must keep a cool head, set our emotions aside and consider the source. This is our duty as Christians and our responsibility to our children who are keen to observe the ways in which we deal with others. Modeling to children sarcasm, which is a form of anger, or silence when engaged by others may alarm children, make them overly wary of strangers or give them the impression something is wrong with them. But providing someone an appropriate, calm answer in front of them defends them while equipping them to respond to such questions on their own.
In some instances I’ve had but a split second to decide whether I will respond to a hurtful question. These are the times I launch my “rocket prayers,” or on-the-spot appeals to God for good judgment and a wise choice. No prayer is too sudden for His attention. Sometimes I have a sense of “stranger danger” and must walk away. But most often, I am given the opportunity to share truth and dispel adoption myths. This can be most rewarding.
If our hearts have been drawn to the ministry of adoption, then we should ask the Lord to place us in situations in which we may be used by Him to make a difference in this area. It should come as no surprise to us then, if we have prayerfully asked Him to do this, that we find ourselves facing unexpected and difficult moments. But these affronts may be opportunities for us to share the beauty of and need for adoption and enable us to grow spiritually by helping us to perfect the Biblical mandate to forgive. We experience freedom as we continue our adoption journey and raise the children God has blessed us with and entrusted to us.
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