I've been having moments, recently, of the type that leave me frustrated by how people think, or rather react, to my family. Specifically how we chose to grow our family. Comments like "You're pregnant? Congratulations! What, you couldn't have your own before?" Or "Wow that's so great, you deserve it!" Or the multitude of ways people find to inquire about the order and origin of our children (Ethiopia first, biological second), often blatantly asserting that the "normal" way to do it is the other way around. And then there's the countless number of faces made by those who really want to inquire but swear they'll be able to figure it out on their own if they just stare at us for a little while longer, eyes squinted tightly and forehead thoroughly wrinkled, noggin slightly tilted at the neck. And sometimes they even throw in a finger to their lips, perhaps to indicate they're close to discovery or really on to something and if we just give them another minute DADGUM they'll have it! They don't ever seem to get to the point of "having it".
But then I'm greeted with one simple comment and nearly instantaneously the pessimistic sludge that had been building up in my arteries begins to evaporate. It starts with a simple comment often made to pregnant women, usually something along the lines of "you're glowing". But then it ends on a note that completely takes me aback and puts me so deep into my happy place I nearly tip over with bliss.
"You really look awesome. I would actually say you have a similar glow to when you found out about Ashton coming home!"
Nothing about our "own child" or mention of a glow I couldn't possibly have attained before or anything that even remotely inappropriately compares the incredible unique beginnings of our children. Just a really beautiful really honest sincerely heartfelt observation. And that's the difference. You don't have to have adopted yourself or known any close friends who have adopted or even given any thought to the many different beautiful ways there are to build a family. You just have to turn off the presumption button, remove the entitled-to-know attitude, and just see a lovely thing for exactly what it is. Without question. Without judgment. Just loveliness for loveliness sake. My friend, the one who said and later wrote those touching words above, gets it. The difference between her and the the authors of the earlier statements may be subtle to some but is refreshingly breathtaking to us.