This morning I went to the post office to mail off a Mary Kay order. I usually go to the post office in the area where I work, which is a more urban area of Birmingham. I love it there. There's a man who sits outside and opens the door for me and everyone who walks inside. The guy who works the morning window knows my name and that I work at Grace House. It's got a small town feeling, but yet, it's not. Also, I love that they'll tape up my boxes for me without charging me extra! I used to go to the Homewood Post Office and they'd always make me either buy tape for $4, or use the Priority tape, then I'd have to pay extra postage. Anywhoo...
While my post office friend was taping up my box, he asked me if I have children. This isn't an outrageous question, nor is it uncommon. I'm in my mid-twenties, I have on a wedding ring...it's a very normal question for people to ask if they're trying to make small talk.
But, for an adoptive parent who's waiting on their child, it's a complicated question to answer. If I say no, I'm failing to recognize the significance of the journey we're walking through. If I say yes, what if they ask to see a picture? So I always just laugh and say, "Well, not yet. My husband and I are in the process of adopting." It's a longer answer than they probably bargained for, but it's the only thing that feels right.
The cool thing about this answer is that it opens up the door to some other questions, depending on the situation. Most of the time people ask if we're adopting from "here" for "somewhere else". I always say that we're adopting from Africa, because sometimes people aren't sure where Ethiopia is.
If time permits, this is usually the part of the conversation when people ask how long, and they shutter at the thought of waiting 3-5 years for a child. I try to leave that part out when I can by just saying that we're on the waiting list and it could be any day, but most likely it will be a few years from now.
I've had several people ask the inappropriate, "So, can you not have kids of your own?" question, which is hurtful on so many levels, but that's another story for another time. To that I say, "Well, we chose to adopt before biological kids. We're excited to bring our [own] baby home."
I'm always fascinated to see how the conversation goes. I had one woman tell me that I was too young to adopt - that was an interesting conversation!
Mostly, people are so supportive, and I love that my answer to "Do you have children?" can evoke a conversation that leads to sharing gospel threads of truth about our biblical call to care for the fatherless.