The Grenade that Fizzled Out

I have never before stepped out of a closet in quite same way we did on December 25th. As many of you may remember Mr. MPB and I told his parents about our decision to adopt.  We threw out our grenade. We hoped for the best. Yet, we prepared for the worst.

I worried almost obsessively about how they would take the news. How would they respond to a non-biological grandchild and a grandchild potentially of a different race? How will our relationship change if they are not supportive?

So, we were very calculated about how we delivered the message and the exact details that we shared. Our delivery was incredibly direct and fact based without room for misinterpretation. The key messaging was:

We are really excited to be choosing to adopt.

We are choosing an open infant adoption.

We are choosing to adopt from California, USA.

Typical wait times are 1 to 1.5 years.

We are really excited.

We were very careful to utilize appropriate language, like:

  • The birth mother choose us.
  • Placing a child (as opposed giving up).
  • We pay fees for lawyers and social workers (as opposed to buying a child).

We did not tell them about:

  • Our struggles and medical history (i.e. our 5 miscarriages, my surgeries, our trip to a specialist in NYC, our medically required abortion, etc.). We did this for 2 reasons. First, we needed to protect our own hearts as we are working to heal from all of this. Second, our adoption story is now the story of our child. It is unfair for us to introduce them based on our past history – they deserve a happy introduction not one of we are adopting because we have five dead babies. In our opinion it is not the appropriate way to frame such exciting news! (Oh, and we also much prefer the perspective of we are adopting because we want to have a family.
  • Where we are at in the adoption process. We did not tell them we have just submitted our paperwork and are hoping to do our home studies sometime in the next month. We did not tell them we are not yet approved. We did this for two reasons. First, we really do not phone calls on a weekly basis asking for updates, the adoption process involves A LOT of waiting, and we don’t want a regular reminder of the wait. Second, by sharing how early we are in the process, they may try to sway our decision. At this point in time our decision is final and we don’t want unsolicited input from others on how we should have our family.
  • We did not discuss the detailed financial side of international adoption. We do not need our parents scrutinizing our financial decisions and giving us opinions that are not warranted or wanted.
  • Detailed selection information on the adoption forms. We did not tell them about our race decisions, or substance abuse choices, or any of that. In fact, we do not plan to tell anyone the specifics of this, as it is no-ones business and is something that non-adoptive parents don’t really seem to understand anyways (more on that subject in an upcoming post).

Thankfully and somewhat surprisingly they took our news in the most positive way we could ever have expected! There was lots of talk about being grandparents, teaching the child to skate, giving us Mr. MPB’s high chair, and visiting more often once we have a child. They asked a few questions right away, but less than we expected. Over the few day visit, a few more questions came up, but again less than we expected. When questions were asked, we were direct and very forward with the answers. They asked questions like:

Have you thought about trying IVF?

We simply said, we will not be having biological children, and left no room for further discussion. (Remember, they do not know our miscarriage history)

Could the child be of a different race?

Race does not matter to us, so yes it may be.

We realize you must have gone through a lot the last few years, we are here to talk if you want.

We know. If we wanted advice we would have asked for it. But this is not a decision by committee, rather it is our decision, and only our decision.

Can we come meet the baby when you are in California?

No. No-one will be joining us in California – that is our time as a family to bond. You are welcome to meet our child when we return home.

We let one inappropriate adoption comments slide, for now.  The child will be so lucky to have you as parents. We let it slide because they could say that about a biological child as well and there terminology did not specify adoption. Also, we needed to focus on being positive. It was simply not the time to jump down their throats and comment about how an adoptive child should be no more grateful for their parents then a non-adopted child, and we never want our child to feel that they owe us some debt of gratitude – while yes, our adoption will likely help provide a child with a stable home, we are not doing this for the betterment of the world. Rather we are adopting because we desperately want to have a family, and we know we can do it. If it comes up again, we will correct it.

So, were we surprised by their reaction? Yes and no. We were desperately hoping they would be supportive, but in the past they have not been accepting of my “step-family” so our expectations were low. So, we were surprised because they were just so incredibly supportive of non-biological grandchildren. And yet at the same time we weren’t surprised because we did just tell them they were going to be grandparents, and most often people are excited to hear that!

Are we relieved by their reaction? Absolutely!! We really wanted them to be happy for us, and be excited for grandchildren. So, we were both 100% relieved that they took the news so positively. And more than anything, we are so incredibly excited that they are excited for us!

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71 Comments on “The Grenade that Fizzled Out

  1. Wow I am so glad that they did surprise you and your interaction with them was pleasant and fruitful, like what we talked about! So nice to be supported.

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  2. I am so happy the conversation went well that I actually have tears in my eyes. I know how hard these conversations can be! Although be careful what you wish for. My MIL is finally coming around to this whole baby idea and she spent the entire evening last night commenting on (ie JUDGING) EVERY SINGLE pin on our “Nursery” board on Pinterest.

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    • Thank you so much Molly, I am so thankful for your encouragement. And, I love that your MIL is coming around to the baby thing, even if it means you get to hear all her “comments.” Good luck keeping your cool with all her “commenting”, I know just how hard that can be! 🙂

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  3. Good on you two for having those tough conversations. You do open yourselves up to vulnerability, but also to the flood of support that makes these challenging times a little more tolerable. I also think it means the world to them to be let in on your struggles and plans to move forward. I know it did for my in-laws.

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  4. I feel like I could learn a lesson from you on what to disclose and what to keep personal. You have very efficient boundaries my friend. I am so happy that this supposed hurdle was not too difficult to cross.

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  5. It’s a wonderful reaction, and honestly, I’m glad you let that comment go, because it’s the kind of thing that no one would ever say in a way meant to offend. Honestly, I would probably say it without thinking about it (I won’t now that I’ve become better educated) 🙂

    Glad things went so well 🙂

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    • It really was a wonderful reaction – we are thrilled by it!
      And yes, I agree, it really was a good thing that we let the comment go. I posted today on why that comment got to us, and I really don’t know if it would bother other perspective adoptive parents so much, but I thought I’d share anyways.

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      • No offense taken at all. Absolutely none! Your comment, and a few others really got me thinking about why that comment irritated us so much. I love that you get me thinking and questioning! 🙂

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  6. So, so glad to hear that it went well! I think you were right in letting that one comment slide, as they very well might have said the same exact thing if you had told them you were having a bio kid. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That is awesome that your family was so welcoming! I know for us no one treats our children any different than if they were biological. They are the children God planned for us just the same as those who have biological children. It’s awesome to know yours will be welcomed with open arma!

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    • Thank you so much! We are thrilled that they accepted our plan to adopt so lovingly! I think right now we are a little bit hypersensitive to wanting our extended family to treat us and our children the same as biological children, so hopefully with time life just proves us to be worrying for nothing. 🙂

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      • Hopefully that is true! We have adoption on both sides of our family so it was not a huge worry for us. It did linger in the corner of my mind at first but it was all for nothing. Most of the time i forget that my kids are not biological and I think the same is true for our extende family.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m really happy that they took everything so well, and really didn’t say anything inappropriate. One huge hurdle down!! Hopefully the remainder of the process goes just as well! 🙂

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  9. Love the way in which this was handled so gracefully and authentically. Blessings to you as you move forward. And further blessings to allow yourself to be Fully in these moments of Hope and wishing.

    I will keep you on heart and in thought.
    I will.

    With friendship,
    Dani

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    • As always, I am so thankful for your encouragement. We did our best with what could have been a very explosive situation, and we are just thrilled beyond words that Mr. MPB’s parents are being so wonderfully supportive. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always *say don’t suffer twice. Oftentimes, we do: once while we anticipate trauma, then again if it actually comes.

        So pleased that they are embodying what you need and Not making it about them.

        * And just because I say it, doesn’t mean I Always do it 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  10. So, so happy that went well, and as always I really admire your well thought-out approach (which I’m sure had a direct effect on how well it went!). Congrats on getting through that so successfully!

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  11. Congrats first and foremost on that difficult conversation! 🙂

    Now to the thought of the “inappropriate” comment that the baby will be lucky to have you as parents. I would … and still might … say this to any person I know adopting … considering I think them a decent human. Yes, I’m judging. I think this is a compliment. Because for gawds sake you are not a couple of people shooting up heroin in the corner, barely eeking by on a dime without a college education and are physically violent with emotional instabilities listening to ghetto rap punk at volume 10 every moment of your waking life — SORRY but parents described as this — their child is NOT lucky to have them as parents and please don’t go into the story of yeah, my parents beat me daily and I was homeless with only newspaper as clothes but look how awesome I turned out a result. Bull shit. You are good peeps … at least from what I read on your blog … and as thus yes, a child WILL be lucky to have you as parents.

    Now, if I could I’d probably trade my own mom and dad for you guys if I could and no, I wasn’t raised by parents in my aforementioned gibberish!

    It’s a compliment and not a slam or some passive-aggressive off-handed compliment … it honestly is a genuine compliment that the child is lucky to have been wanted so greatly and to be raised in a loving and stable environment … that’s what I’m assuming is going on with your and Mr. Pibb. 🙂 (that’s my secret name for Mr. Perfect Breakdown because that’s what I see every time I see that abbreviation).

    What is Mr. Pibb you ask? It’s like Dr. Pepper, only the more economical off-brand version.

    Anywho, happiness & best wishes to you and Mr. Pibb as you journey through 2015!

    ❤ Elizabetcetera

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  12. Pingback: A Point of Clarification on my Grenade Throwing | My Perfect Breakdown

    • I kind of agree with you, part of me feels like the other shoe is going to drop at any moment. But, I’ve decided I cannot sit around waiting for it, and we will cross that bridge when we get there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is wise. I suspect people will say stupid s**t once you are closer to meeting your baby/ies or after he/she/they come home with you (i.e., when you feel most vulnerable). Because that is how life works its magic on our power to endure and rise above. I hope to be proven wrong but I know you two will weather whatever stressors come your way as you build your family one form, approval, flight, dirty diaper and feeding at a time. 😊

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