2) Lack of information and understanding
Our family and friends love us and care about us. Isn't that great! People who love you do not want to see you struggle in any way. They don't want to see your life be harder than "it has to be". I think that's just natural and human nature and probably a really good thing. So when our family and friends respond with concern, we should take it personal but not in a negative way. They care, and that's a good thing! But chances are they don't understand. And why should they? If they haven't personally been acquainted with international adoption and/or raised a child with special needs, how could they possibly joyfully accept our news without being filled with very real concern and worry for us.
By the time things have progressed to the point of announcing to family and friends, you've done some serious soul searching. You've spent hours and days (months and weeks even) in conversation with your spouse, in prayer, in reflection about where you've come and where you're going. You've done research, you've asked a million questions and talked to families who have taken this journey before you. But your family and friends, they likely experienced none of that part of your journey.
I think we were unrealistic to assume everyone we shared our news with could immediately be on the same level of being at peace with the magnitude of this life altering decision. After all, we had taken a while to get there ourselves.
I think we did a fair job of not taking the lack of joy or more-concern-than-joy responses too personally. Of course it would be great if everyone just blindly reacted with joy as most do to a pregnancy announcement. But the reality is, this journey is not a pregnancy. Although both are wrought with unknowns, potential complications and possible devestation, it's just not the same.
Those differences are also what makes this journey such an amazing experience for those that take it. I am already a better person and the journey for us has just begun. While it would be easier if we didn't have to answer hard questions or deal with uncomfortable situations, we aren't doing this because it's a breeze. We are doing this because we truly feel called to do this. We are doing this because we know that a child is a blessing. We know a child with Down syndrome is no less of a blessing. We know children with Down syndrome are a blessing NOT a burden.
“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson