May 24 2010 9:12PM
Being an adopter is a closed circle, it seems. Outsiders don't always get it.
I was ill recently and when I'm ill the kids go a little haywire. Anxiety levels go up and the testing behaviour increases. We were getting all sorts of stuff that was distressing to handle. Unfortunately, that week, a friend invited us, with two days notice, to her son's bowling party for his 7th birthday. It would have meant us travelling right across the city straight after school (when my kids are at their very worst behaviour wise) and not eating until much later than they are used to. On a good week, I might have tried it out. As it was a bad week, I sadly declined over text with a brief explanation.
I was really shocked to get a text back asking if I could please change my mind as her boy would be dissapointed. No parent of an adopted child would have done that to me. My friends with adopted children know that invites are always turned down with good reason, and even last minute cancellations are accepted with complete understanding.
Another party I have turned down since the kids came was my counsin's wife's 30th. She hired a church hall and invited both sets of extended family for a buffet and a disco. Nice of her, but there was no way I was taking the kids. I was not about to introduce my children, who I barely knew myself, to a massive group of family members, amidst a disco that was happening well past their bedtime. I was also insecure in my parenting at that time, and didn't want to get stressed about "failing" in front of everyone.
My dad, however, failed to see my point of view. He thought this was a great opportunity for everyone in his extended family to meet the kids. He kept telling me how dissapointed he was and what a shame it was that I wouldn't take them. Yes, it was dissapointing, yes it was a shame. Absolutely. But my reasoning was sound.
I do wonder that people (and there are many other examples that I could write here) really think I should put their hopes and expectations above doing what I think is right for my children. Perhaps it's because they think I'm wrong. Maybe parents of birth children find it hard to understand in what possible way going to any sort of party could be bad for any child. I don't really know.
But I do know that we all do better as a family when I trust my judgement, and even though I don't always make the right decision, I always make a decision for the right reasons. It might suit outsiders to think that my kids are no different to any other kids, but there is trouble if I think that way. My kids were neglected for the first few years of their lives and events that other children have been used to from birth, like parties, are unknown and sometimes threatening to my two. I have to respect that, even if others can't respect me for it.