I’m pretty sure I am going to get blasted from this post… and I want you to know I fully expect it. Bring it on. Let's talk- it's the first step to change.
There is something that has been bothering me and I have to get it out... Some days I am embarrassed to be an American. I know, it’s nothing like the song goes... I’m embarrassed. Let me explain.
I was watching TV the other day (right there a LUXURY in most countries) and this McDonalds commercial came on. I don’t know if you have seen it… but it’s the one where the mother is watching her approximately 4 year old son share his toys with his little brother and basically just share his life, his stuff with him. The commercial goes on to say “this is one thing you will not have to share” and the mother takes the son on a mommy date to McDonalds to get his own happy meal while the little brother stays behind with his dad. Now I want you to know I am not against some one on one time with your child- what I am against is that the commercial brainwashes us into feeling sorry for the child, who God forbid, has to ‘share’ with his little brother. I see this a lot in real life as well. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say “Wow, your kids must be so nice to ‘let you’ adopt- my kids would hate that- having to share with someone else”. BINGO. First of all, ‘let you’? In my house- Todd and I are the parents- period. We make the decisions. Of course we prayed about adopting again as a family. Of course we had long talks, answered questions and concerns. Of course we took each and every child into consideration. But we had the ultimate decision. As adults, as parents, that is VITAL. All too often I see families today being run by the children. Second, what is wrong with your child learning to give- to give up- to share? That is where my embarrassment comes in. As a country I feel like we think we DESERVE more than we really do. We deserve so much that we are not even willing to wait for it. You know, we just pull out Mr. Visa and go get what we deserve- right then, right there. We work hard you know. We deserve the best. We deserve a break today. (Sorry McDonalds, I know you are getting picked on). But seriously, the media plays into this more than I think we even realize. I want my children to work hard, but I also want them to learn to wait- to learn to go without if necessary and to learn to appreciate what they have worked for. I want my children to learn to live with less so that others can simply live. I want them to share- to see their siblings as a gift- not look at them with hatred because they had to let them touch one of their toys or take up a minute of their time. We might not feel rich some days - but we ARE. We can jump in our car (not walk for 20 miles on a dirt road) and drive to a SUPER Walmart or a SUPER Target and get exactly what our little hearts desire to eat right then and there. We can burn our dinner and throw it out if we feel like it- where as in other parts of the world every single little crumb is the difference between life and death. Yet- we act as if we deserve more - deserve better. We are big complainers. Big time. We complain about just about everything and everyone we can. They bug us, they get in our way, they waste our time.
As adoptive families we act as if it’s our ‘right’ and we deserve better service. We complain about our agency, the government. We DEMAND better service. Because after all, we wrote our check you know- we should get what we deserve. We forget we are not talking about ‘buying a new car’. We are talking about a life- a gift from God- that no we do not deserve just because we wrote the check and turned in our homestudy. We don’t deserve anything. We are blessed-because of someone else’s misfortune, to adopt a child. What we are doing IS a good thing (at least on our end) but that birth mother is hurting, that agency is working with little staff, and even less money, and the child has no voice, no choice in the matter. I have now done a domestic adoption and 2 international adoptions- let me tell you- there are mistakes made from all sides. It all goes slower than we want- or believe that we deserve. We make mistakes, agencies make mistakes, governments make mistakes. Period. But the child is the blessing- and God lets that happen-we never once deserved it. We are no better than the child that God gave us- they owe us nothing. There is nothing that I did to deserve to parent my children. Any of them. Ever. I have seen with my own eyes the look of despair, the loss of hope in children and parents in Guatemala. I have seen their living conditions- no running water, dirt floors, tin roofs and yet they still praise God for that. How can we feel ok after knowing that and yet still complain about our less than perfect service?
My prayer for us as Americans is to stop brainwashing our kids into thinking they deserve the world- and to stop thinking it ourselves. To teach our children to share, to teach them compassion, to teach them to look outside their own needs and to really see how blessed they are. Tell them that name brand clothing does not make them any better than anyone else… help them to not judge a person by the color of their skin or the car they drive. Pull them from out behind the TV, the Xbox and even the computer and teach them to really live life. Learn to say the word “No”. Quit blaming their teachers when they misbehave in class. Show them how to find real happiness, a purpose, meaning to life. Spend time with them, explain to them to be aware of falling into the ‘all about me’ trap. Better yet- be a living example. It’s got to start with us- we have to teach them the truth. Let them be the kind of American’s one day that we really can be proud of, because this generation is blowing it. Now everyone put your right hand on your heart and repeat after me… I pledge allegiance to the flag…