Okay, let's talk about the orphans.
I was just looking at this article. I think it does a good job of summing up some common misconceptions. I would agree, based on conversations, that Russians often don't understand the motives of Americans when it comes to adoption. And I'm in an interesting position when it comes to this topic. I live in a country whose children are being taken and raised in the country I grew up in. Imagine that you work in an orphanage and the children are adopted by foreigners from a country that supposedly has really good living conditions, but you've never been there yourself. Once the children are adopted, you never hear from them again. What would you think?
But then I did something I regret. In looking for some information to prove Americans right (not sure why), I came across a forum where Russians were discussing why Americans adopt Russian kids, or foreigners in general. Yep, there were some pretty crazy theories about hidden motives and such....for example, none of the adopted kids are actually disabled, that's just invented to give American adoption agencies good P.R.
You know, understanding the local language has its drawbacks. Sometimes it's actually better to be out of the loop. Sometimes I don't want to know what Russians are ACTUALLY thinking. Yes, confrontation can be good and it's helpful to "clear the air" amongst friends. But it's hard to hear what people say about my country. I guess maybe I'm not used to having enemies...or rivals, or whatever you want to call it.
I think the bigger lesson here (aside from learning to be disliked) is to not dig for information, especially when seeking it in order to defend oneself. I'm left with unpleasant feelings after going and finding those articles. I could have just left it alone.
I've heard some gossip lately that had the same effect. Did I really need to know why those friends were arguing and what so-and-so said about the new worship song? I shouldn't have taken in that kind of information.
God gives us enough information to live godly lives. If we can manage to mind our own business, we are off to a good start. And minding our own business doesn't include looking for arguments or adding embellishment that will make us LOOK better. God will take care of what it looks like in other people's eyes.
"...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life..." -from 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (but actually, verses 1-12 are worth reading and pondering as a whole)