I have a coworker in another department at my firm whose family is sort of in the process of adopting. And when I say that, I mean they have gone down about three different roads to international adoption and have run into complete roadblocks each time and put thousands of dollars on the table that they can't get back now. We've talked some about the process, what Trent and I are doing, etc. They are wondering what other options are out there for bringing another child into their family.
A little while after Brother and Sister came to us, I ran into this coworker in the breakroom at work.
Him: So, what agency did you get your kids through?
Me: CPS, but they're not really our kids, just so you know.
He kindly waved off my backpedaling after I realized what I had said.
You see, we had (and still have) so many people misunderstanding our situation and thinking these kids are suddenly ours forever, though that's just not known yet. I just wanted to be clear. I didn't know what he knew or what he assumed about our situation. I knew he was asking as a means to get information about this other avenue of adopting through CPS, for his family personally, so I...I just wanted to be clear. Kids through CPS can't really suddenly become yours forever. Even folks coming in as adopt-only parents have a 6 month stretch where the state is still managing conservator (a mouthful that means legal guardian) of that child before the adoption can be finalized.
I felt rotten the rest of that day. Rotten, I tell you.
I had denied these two wonderful children identification as "our kids" to someone that already did understand our situation and didn't need clarification. Even if he had, I could have gotten the same point across in a much kinder and less abrupt way. I felt like I needed to go over to the daycare and hug Brother and Sister and apologize and tell them "You are my child. Though I did not give birth to you and you may not stay with us forever, you are my child. I claim you. I love you."
I will never deny them again. If people misunderstand, let them. If conversation turns toward the ins and outs and nitty gritty of our actual situation and I can logically and truthfully fill them in on how all this works, super. But I will never, ever again say that these kids are not really ours.