For years I was dictated by what others thought of me. From my elementary days, through Jr. High and High School, into college, and even well into my adult years, this controlled much of my life. Just when I thought I was comfortable with who I was, or the direction I was moving, someone would look at me funny, or make an off-handed comment, and I would fold.
It was paralyzing. Worst of all, I allowed it to permeate the way I viewed my family, especially in public. As hard as it is to admit this, as an adoptive parent, there were many years when I struggled out in public, or places where my family was on display.
Our first three children were African-American. I struggled with looking different from them. It wasn’t a race thing, just a looks thing. As you can imagine, my wife and I got a lot of stares in public when we rolled around town with our three kids. I desperately wanted to not be consumed by this, but I was.
This was me up until 6 years ago. In 2009 my heart changed and so did my outlook. I can’t explain it except to say that the Lord above reached deep into my heart and transformed me by His grace.
Today, I adore how different our family is. You can’t deny that we are a weird family, if you know us- (if this is your first time visiting Confessions, check out our Story page here). Not only do we have 8 children, all of whom are adopted, but some of our children are of a different race, and the 8 total span from ages 5 to age 28. We drive a big 12-passenger van and this past May, we sold our comfortable 4,000 square foot suburban home and moved to a modest 1800 square foot farm house, on the opposite side of town, to save more money. And did I mention that we recently became grandparents?
That’s all extremely weird. Totally counter to our culture of comfort. We’ve had many people tell us so. We don’t care though. We just smile and celebrate how weird God has made us.
NORMAL IS OVER-RATED!
We live in a culture of same. It’s also a culture of copy. Did you know this? Everything is a copy of something else. Every trend is a spin off of a trend before it. There’s very little that’s original. That’s precisely why anytime someone comes up with something original or has an original, amazing talent, the world is blown away. We’re not used to original or weird. We’re conditioned to understand and accept what is the same, what is a copy of what was created before.
Not to knock biological families at all, but adoption is so unique and original. It’s the very definition of diverse, and diverse is beautiful. People may stare and you but it’s more out of wonder (and maybe a little bit of envy) than anything. If they’re staring out of judgement or snobbery (is that even a real word?), I recommend you pull out your phone, take a picture of them, point back at them and shake your head in disbelief. This always gets a great reaction and they usually stop pretty quick! 🙂
WEIRD IS INSPIRING TO A NORMALIZED CULTURE.
There are so many people in this world who wish they could be weird like you and be comfortable doing so. They’re inspired by you. Remember that. We have lost count of the folks who have told us this. It, in turn, inspires us to stay the course and never long for something different, or heaven forbid something “normal!”
Adoption is way more than simply blessing the life of a child who may have ended up in a dark situation. It’s about building a legacy that will last for eternity. That’s one of the most beautiful, and original, facets of adoption. You are single-handedly creating a diverse family tree that will impact the future world.
Even though adoption has received much airtime in recent years, it’s still not considered the norm. So people take notice when they see a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-history family coming their way.
We love our weird, counter-culture family and all of the other weird stuff we are in to. But mostly, we love that we’ve been created to be completely ourselves. In a world that tends to be a carbon-copy of everything else, there’s much beauty found in an original of anything. So adoptive family, celebrate your weirdness and embrace how original you are!
Adoptive families, do you love your weirdness? Got a story to tell? Share it with us.