So I’m beginning to realize that the McClellan Family doesn’t make sense to people.
This past Saturday we were at the Tapestry Adoption and Foster Care Conference, http://tapestryconference.org. Scott and I were asked to be on the adoptive parent panel. Anytime we get to asked to be a part of something like that, I have to remind myself, “Oh yeah, I’m a parent, and we adopted.” (There are so many times when our differences are not present.) So as we sat answering questions and deflecting our nervousness with humor, we connected to some people – two couples to be exact. Two couples came up to each of us separately and told us that they had decided to only adopt and never try to get pregnant. Two couples is better than none. But there were 100-200 people listening, so that’s only about 2-4%.
I don’t think everyone should be like us, but I hadn’t realized the extent that we stand out. I’ve heard some comments in the past couple days that have shown me that people are still grappling with the reality of my family. Someone may mention money, noting the difference between pregnancy costs and adoption costs followed by the statement, “But she was worth it.” Another person may say, “She’s your daughter. If I didn’t know your story, I would think she’s your daughter. I might wonder about the dad.” Followed by, “Why did you adopt? Because you were not ready to have kids?” My reply, “If we weren’t ready to have kids, we wouldn’t have adopted. We adopted because we felt that God wanted us to start our family through adoption” – silence.
I’ve been reading the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller and a quote from the book is sticking with me.
“Writing a story isn’t about making your peaceful fantasies come true. The whole point of the story is the character arc. You didn’t think joy could change a person, did you? Joy is what you feel when a conflict is over. But it’s conflict that changes a person.”
Our adoption process is the story that changed our lives. It was full of conflict, and it changed us. Now we are privileged to live with the joy the process brought us – Elise. And unless you’ve experienced our story first-hand, it won’t make sense to you, and I’m okay with that.