Someone I know has a child with significant issues.
I'm leaving the particular details out of this post because in the end, they don't matter. The issues could be medical, behavioral, emotional, educational, physical, mental...the list goes on and on, but you're smart people, you bloggy friends, and you get the picture.
It's not even important to qualify the child in question with specifics. He (or she) could be any age, any religion or any race. It is sufficient to say that this child's story (or parent's story--depending on which side of the table you're reading from) is any child's story. Most likely you know a child who has struggled somewhere along their way, and many of you have probably parented one.
And if you aren't, let your knees hit the floor...quickly.
When I jokingly tell my mom stories about some of my more *special* (read: high-maintenance) children, she wisely tells me, "Aren't we all a little *special* in our own ways." Evidencing yet another cosmic truth: My mother is always right. Granted, some *special* needs may not seem as challenging to the casual onlooker, but to the parent dealing with the child who has tried on every pair of pants she owns and deemed them all "too scratchy" it can challenge the most patient parent. Trust me.
Which is why I was shocked at the implication, appalled by the audacity and saddened by the notion that someone should pose this question to my friend regarding her situation:
"Why did you even do this?"
You see, there is one important fact that must be a part of this story.
The child in question, who has struggled so mightily, was adopted.
So the question to the not-so-silent observer was obvious. Why would you have ever taken on a child who would cause you such pain, force you to make such sacrifices, and occasionally remove any sense of control you had from your life?
Horrified, I thought to myself, "Would anyone dare ask such a question to a mother whose biological child was such a burden?" On first thought, it would seem unlikely. The implication of the question my friend was subjected to bespeaks one of the tragic misconceptions of adoption:
Children raised by their birth parents never struggle, while adopted children always do.
But, as we who have parented the children we have birthed we know the fallacy of that argument. We understand the role God's grace plays in the lives of all our children--birth or adopted. Sadly, however, as I thought a little longer, it dawned on me that birth mothers are all too often asked this question as well. The only difference is in the timing. Mothers who are given a frightening prenatal diagnosis hear that same question when they decide to continue a pregnancy with a child whom the world deems less-than-perfect.
What would you have said to such an intrusive (and by intrusive, I mean rude) question? I'm finishing my thoughts on this but I'd like to hear what you all have to say.