Adoption and Purposeful Triggers
(People really do this, I promise!)

I guard against being paranoid.

I used to think I was the crazy one for thinking this was happening, but now I realize it’s reality

This is not my imagination.

The position I serve in demands I keep it together and refrain from flipping out on anyone. If I want to pay my mortgage. Eat. Stay ordained. Stuff like that. I guess this is the case with most people unless they are a professional wrestler, a mob boss or something like that. But the fact is, long term good behavior is expected of a minister. 

Being effective in ministry, particularly the more responsibility you are given -- means you have to be diplomatic in the way you say things. I guess unbelievers would say "diplomatic" and Christians would say "Christlike." The bottom line is, you have to handle people with utmost care or it will cost you.  The price could be a loss of people from your church, your team, your ministry. Or it might be respect, influence, opportunities, even your very livelihood. 

Needless to say you can't just say and do whatever you feel like doing. And honestly, my desire is to be Christlike. I don't ever want to hurt others, even if they do hurt me.

So here it is…

Sometimes this thing I'm about to tell you happens with people who I know don’t like me. Yes, these people really do exist.

Or, it may happen with someone I sense is “testing me” for whatever reason. 

They will say something that they know I do not agree with regarding adoption to see what my reaction will be.  

With people I already know don’t like me, I believe it’s that they just want to get under my skin. 

With others, maybe they want to see if I will respond in an “acceptable” way.  Acceptable to them, of course.

One day I was in a meeting with a woman who holds influence in the circles I work in and she made a sarcastic remark that, “there are a lot of crazy people out there today getting their DNA tested…trying to figure out who their daddy is...” 

She knows I have had my DNA tested. 
She knows why. 
She knows I'm trying to find my birth father.

We have been in group conversations before about it.

This was not a remark made unknowingly

She wanted it to be known to me and to others in the room that she thinks I am crazy and what I am doing is crazy.

She is one of those people who believes there is no need to search, and your parents are the ones who changed your diapers, end of story.

After saying this, she smugly looked at me, waiting to see how I would respond.

Why didn’t I say everything I longed to say? Why did I not tell her off? Because I refuse to lose everything I have worked so hard for because I went ballistic over a snide remark. Managing one’s emotions are key to effectiveness in the workplace 

Another time I was in a lunch meeting where most everyone in the room knows I'm adopted and knows my story. An adoptive mother in the room said that the adoption of her daughter had become official over the weekend and she and her husband were explaining to their newly adopted child than she had "transitioned from a Puerto Rican to an Italian."  They were really telling this child she is no longer Puerto Rican. I could hardly believe my ears. This person literally believes God changed her child’s DNA to match hers.  Help me dear sweet Lord baby Jesus....

Some adoptees want nothing to do with God or religion because of what they've experienced. As for me, I can't imagine life without God. I can’t navigate this on my own.  Without Him in my life, I could not cope with these type of ridiculous moments for even two seconds.  

After the woman said this about the DNA of her daughter changing, I felt all eyes in the room on me to see what I would say.  I calmly sat there eating my sandwich, staring right back at her. Everyone else nodded and affirmed her like, "Praise God! He changes things!" Never mind that He has never changed anyone's race or ethnicity in the scriptures or anywhere else we are aware of.   

I kept the conversation inside my head where it so often is when I’m triggered, or hurt by what someone says.  What those in the room saw was a woman eating a chicken salad sandwich, having no idea the thoughts in my head were:

“Okay lady, first of all, get ready because the teen years with your daughter are probably going to be a nightmare.  Because no matter what you tell her she gets up every day and looks at a Puerto Rican face in the mirror.  The confusion and pain you bring to her by denying outright who God has biologically made her to be is enormous. You believe I know nothing about adoption, or that I'm off base for what I think about it. But guess what -- I'm actually an expert on adoption because I have nearly a half a century's experience at actually being adopted. That's right, I AM ADOPTED. Something you are not. But never mind the facts. And when you come back to me in a few years profusely crying because your daughter is going off the rails, has run away, is cutting herself, or wants absolutely nothing to do with you - church or God, or is having some other post-adoption issue and you want to ask my advice as someone who is adopted and a Christian,  it will be the hardest thing in the world for me to not tell you I already knew this would happen But I won’t because at that time I will still have to act like a professional not to mention a Christian and a minister even when I want to do something to you like Negan would from The Walking Dead lash out."

I will not throw away everything I have worked so hard for over things so  asinine I don't even have the words to describe. 

I write openly about my beliefs here on my blog, but it is necessary/wise to keep it separate from my work life.  As one adoptee blogger friend once told me, "You still have to put food on your table."  I agree with that, and more importantly, to fulfill what God has called me to do in all the different ways He has asked me to do.

Purposeful triggers as I call them, are tough. But God is faithful to help me through any trigger or situation I face.  I am still a minister, by His grace. See what I did there? It rhymes.