Understanding People Who Don’t Understand

Our friends & family have all been brilliant, really patient and tried to understand as much as anyone can try and understand something they will never have to know about

But I’m understanding now, just by the little things that people say, quite harmlessly, that they just don’t get it. I’ve had the usual suspects up to now; “you never know what you’re going to get when you have a child”, “adopted children are exactly the same as birth children, there’s no difference”, “she’s young, she won’t remember anything” and, of course, “what happened to her, where’s she from and are you going to tell her she’s adopted?” (Duh to the last one every time!) But, having started to see more people they are coming thicker and faster than I ever imagined they would. I am becoming exhausted trying to explain the theories of attachment so people can understand why we don’t allow her to be held by dozens of people. I’m getting sick of going over the reasons why it’s not good for people to keep reaching for her when she reaches for them (no, it’s not because she likes you, she only met you 30 seconds ago!) and I’m drained from explaining why it can only be my husband or myself that meets her needs at this time.

A couple of days ago one of my friends “forced” a cuddle from our daughter (after dozens of conversations about why this isn’t appropriate at this early stage) which made me feel a bit sick with anxiety but, as it was in public, I didn’t kick up a fuss. We allowed her to hold her for 1 minute (it felt like 2 hours!) and, afterwards, my husband took me outside to calm me down. After I’d got my resolve back and felt calmer we went back in to make our polite excuses to leave and my friend said to me “thank you for letting me cuddle her but she did want it”! I couldn’t quite believe it and I wish she’d just left it at the cuddle and not taken it a step further by rubbing my nose in it. For the record my daughter did NOT want a cuddle, she reaches out for anyone and we are working really bloody hard to cement our attachment with her and just because she reaches out does not mean she likes you or loves you or wants a cuddle, it’s because she’s a little girl who needs our help to feel safe, secure and loved by us.

Only the other day somebody was trying to tell me how having an adopted child is the same as having a birth child in the form of this ridiculous comparison; She said “as a new mum you don’t want to take your child out because all the fumes from the cars will ruin that perfect body that you’ve protected for so long”. What?!?! Erm, yep, didn’t give birth over here and, actually, some children have more to deal with in the first few months of their lives than fumes from cars. I know people only say stuff because they think they’re helping, they’re only trying to give advice which they’d give to anyone else. But adoption is another layer to a complicated situation and I think it’s really hard for people to understand the complexities of it.  What I need to do, for my own sanity, is to stop explaining. I need to practice nodding patiently and making all the right noises and then discarding the rubbish and ignoring it. I’m bored of explaining, I’m tired of trying to get people to understand. And I don’t think they ever will.

Get it! No, I didn’t think so. 
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