Thanks to all who have offered well wishes and prayer as my spouse and I pursue our adoption journey with an expecting mom! It has been a beautiful, challenging, exciting season that we are so honored to be on as this little team. And, now more than ever, we cherish and need our community to lean on, so we thank our church for being a part of this emotional and anticipatory time of possibilities. = )
Sharing Love through Rephrasing
Surely you know quite a few families (even your own?) who have adoption as part of their story. In my family alone, I can think of 8 adopted relatives, plus several friends. In light of my own life chapter and ALLLLL of the extra learning happening these days, I am reminded of how powerful our words and questions can be. And today seems like a good moment to offer some ADOPTION TERMS and words/phrases to be mindful of. Not only do words matter, our human brains and hearts tend to deeply remember the moments when someone said something hurtful rather than helpful. So may we all be careful with our words and offer grace when well-meaning words cause pain. (This goes for all situations, not adoption in particular.) If you aready use most of the ones below, wonderful! If you consider including these phrases and terms in your everyday conversations, that is great, too! We all learn together this way and show love through our careful speech.
Curiosity is Usually Good, Lack of Empathy is Not
The above list is simple. And the world is constantly trying to find more appropriate terms to best fit people’s needs, so this is a concise resource that will improve as each of us learn more. And my personal experience offers an opportunity for us today to touch on how we talk to anyone (because most everyone is going through something these days). At the end of the day, if we do not know or understand how to phrase something, let’s think about the person who is most affected, “the source.” If you have a question about _____ (adoption, race, gender identity, human sexuality, medical diagnoses, anything emotional, etc.), Google search it online first! If you have questions about a specific person’s story, consider how your question might affect them.
As with any emotional situation, let us give the person/family space to NOT have to answer, for this is their story to tell, not ours. (This is my boundary for confidentiality in general as a pastor, and it serves me well. If it is NOT my story to tell, I do my best NOT to share it with anyone without permission.)
We all make mistakes when it comes to communication, and I certainly have had to apologize for upsetting someone; this is a lifelong journey of figuring out how to be in community with each other, and that learning is a beautiful, beautiful gift we can give God and God’s people. There is grace, and there are wonderful resources out there for each of us–thanks be to God! May we continue to learn and grow together. As the new year comes around, I’ll offer some more phrases for us to think about as they relate to other topics; learning lives on.
Dec 3- Luminary Walk at Overland Park Arboretum
Join us for an evening of light and wonder on December 3 at 5:40! Pick up tickets at the Front Desk ($10/person or $20/household); hurry before we run out!