Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our Baby?

Being an adoptive parent you never know when you are going to have to deal with dumb, and some of the time insulting, questions. I mean everyone has to deal with questions like these, but adoptive parents seem to face more than their fair share. Take for example, my conversation with our plumber this afternoon. We both have daughters around six months, both doing about the same things. We were gabbing about the normal baby stuff when he started to do the subtle turn to adoption questions. You know, like, where was she born, and where is the birth Mom. I am so used to answering those I can do it in my sleep. And then, he hit me with a sucker punch: will the Mom (he dropped the birth) eventually take her back?

I am pretty sure I gave him a scary look, because he stopped talking immediately, and said he heard his mother calling. Or something like that, I didn't really hear him because the rage building in my ears was too loud. I showed him the door, and then went and hugged Meg tight.

Thinking back on it now, though, with a little bit of perspective, it wasn't really a dumb question. Insulting and uneducated, yes, but not necessarily dumb. After all, think of all of the media representations of adoption. I can not think of one book, movie, television show, or news story that casts adoption in a positive light. All of the mass media stories I know of are about parents who were robbed of their children by entitled others with no ethics and bad ovaries. Or about adopted children who want nothing more than to find the REAL parents. There are no popularly known stories about well adjusted adopted children who love their adoptive parents, and who are loved back. And yet, in my life alone, I run out of fingers and toes counting the ones I know.

I am hoping that as the years go on no dumb questions, or poor media representations, will bother me. I am also hoping that as the year's go on I won't feel the need to call Meg's "real" Mom to make her promise that this baby is ours to keep.

I am hoping. And I am getting another plumber.

28 comments:

Amanda said...

Send him Mom's way...

KAM said...

People do say stupid, dumb, insulting statements and questions. Now, 2 1/2 years into being my daughter's mom, I have canned responses to most of them. I've had people ask me what country my daughter is from, really personal questions that really are no one's business, and where her "real" mom is. That one always gets me, as I am her MOM.

This one is kind of funny...I was at the grocery store once with Mea, going down some aisle, and passed a black mom, with her 2 little girls. We got maybe 4 feet away from the family, and the littlest girl asked her mom this, "Mom, what's that white lady doing with a black baby?" The mom was speechless, and I thought it was pretty hilarious.

Jules said...

I would have sucker punched him.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Yes, people are both curious and ignorant. But that was a thoughtless stupid question, and I applaud your obvious restraint.

just making my way said...

It is unfortunate not to hear the good stories. But you know it's only the bad stuff that makes the news!

The good thing is, we know your story, which you are so generously sharing.

calicobebop said...

Your patience with the plumber is extrordinary. I can't imagine having to answer dumbass questions about my family.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you on the over-representation and fetish in the media of/for stories about adoption power struggles. Question: is there any chance that some folks might conflate the notion of adoption with the concept of foster care? Blue collar folks sometimes have a lot more experience with foster care situations, which are often tenuous, and which often contain the hope of the return to a natal family. So I'm just wondering if, when folks ask, whether it would help to make the distinction for them between foster care and adoption......Julie C.

Kim said...

You're going to run into a lot of this. Because people are stupid. I hate to see them push your buttons like that, though. I can't wait until Meg is old enough for the two of you to give the duel Mother/Daughter look of scathing contempt. I'm pretty sure anyone would burst into flames under such awesome disdain.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Hopefully the new plubmer will not only be more intelligent and have better manners, but will also be better looking.

beth

MomZombie said...

I could write a book on this. My favorites:
"How do you KNOW she's from China?"
um... we went to China to get her ..
"Are you Chinese?"
do I look Chinese?
"I'm an adoptive mom, too. Want to see pictures of my pug?"
Not the same, jerkoff.

Sam said...

You are very wise and have a lot of perspective already. Believe me, you won't even flinch after a couple of years. The questions you can answer in your sleep become second nature, and the ones that are new won't bother you. Or they'll just be good blog fodder. ;)

x said...

OMG. I would've had the exact same reaction. I have a problem with disguising how I feel. My face always says it all. Good for you. Bad for him.

Dual Mom said...

I just read your entire blog archives. Let's not talk about how much I need to get a life.

Your daughter, your Meg, she is without a doubt one of the most beautiful little girls I have ever seen.

Congrats Mom.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I think you're being too generous; I think it *was* a dumb question. Really dumb. Dumb as a box of rocks dumb.

And I *am* available for kneecap-kicking.

Ellie

Schmutzie said...

This weblog is being featured on Five Star Friday - http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2010/01/five-star-fridays-edition-86.html

Sprite's Keeper said...

Oy! Maybe putting stories like yours out there about happy adoptions (there must be a forum for just this, I know far too many successful adoptive familes for this not to be an interest) will help people realize just how lucky the parents and children are that they are together and they are happy to be that way. Good post and good reminder that people should really check themselves before speaking.
You're linked!

Summer said...

I wonder, at times, if people think before they speak. DUMBASS! If you need me to come up there and punch someone in the neck, just say.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

I bet he knew the SECOND it came out of his mouth that he'd screwed up. I would have run for my mommy too!

Aunt Juicebox said...

I think people just worry about it, and feel sympathy for people who have adopted, BECAUSE the stories in the media are so heartbreaking and unfair. A friend of mine has an adopted son, and I worry about it, because they actually adopted their godchild's child. And he didn't want to give up his child, the mom did. The grandparents are in their lives more than the adoptive parents would like but they can't find a way to nicely ask the to stop "dropping by" whenever they want to. So even though I don't ever bring it up, I worry what will someday happen and if they will have their hearts broken. I know it's unlikely, but it's a concern I can't always stifle. I'm sure he didn't mean to be insensitive.

Chief said...

I have a friend that you remind me of so much.

some of the questions she gets with her adopted kids (who don't look "like she does") just blow me away.

People have no filter or class or etiquette.

Claire said...

If these questions bother you, how will you feel when your child DOES go to find her "real mother?" As an adoptee, I am always put off when ap's are offended by the term "REAL". I have 4 REAL parents. They each have different roles. People also need to learn that adoptees who search for their first parents ARE happy. I have great adoptive parents. They have NOTHING to do with my search. Ive been involved with adoption reform for over 20 years. Contrary to popular belief, most adoptees who search DO have great adoptive families. They also are insulted when people try to tell them what "REAL" means. We have 2 REAL Moms. If we didn't, one would not exit.

Lauren said...

Oh in adoption people make ask the DUMBEST questions!

I'm adopted and people ask me such stupid things, I can't believe they are living in the year 2010! They ask me questions like, Aren't you glad you weren't aborted? or Aren't you glad you weren't thrown in a dumpster? or You know your adoptive parents are your REAL parents, right? or How do you REAL parents think of your finding your birthmother?

The worst part about it - sometimes these come from people who are adoptive parents!

I can't believe it at times. You'd think that these people had never read any of the countless research on the special needs of adoptees! I mean you have to take classes and read books to adopt, right?

Great post!

VHM said...

It is amazing how uneducated people in the US are about adoption.

Most people are so busy trying to figure out the ownership of the baby in question. There's virtually no awareness that adoptees are human beings who will live their entire lives without basic civil rights. The complicated and messy truths about adoption last a lifetime.

All that matters is that adoptees continue to say the mantra: we are grateful.

Anonymous said...

So he said it outloud--everyone else just THINKS it.

Kids are not belongings, esp. ones that belong to other clans. Don't like it? Shouldn't have adopted.

Your child will reunite with their mother someday. We're not being stuffed back into the box--sorry.

Methinks you ought to get thicker skin, mommy.

Logical Libby said...

I appreciate the comments from adoptees, as I know Meg will have questions. However, not sure where the hostility is coming from. I don't not view my child as a possession, and I have no problem with her knowing, and loving her birthmother. What I have a problem with (and hence the post) is that people comment on sensitive situations without knowing anything about them. I also have a problem with the fact these comments put me into an emotional tailspin. I hope to develop a thicker skin, but as this is all new to me, it is not quite there yet. It would be great to adopt and have all the answers instantly, and it would be great to lose weight by eating cake. Neither is going to happen, so we do the best we can.

Beth said...

What is it about adoptive mothers and their obsessive need for everyone to acknowledge their status as REAL? Why can't you just be grateful you got yourself a child to raise? Don't you think that maybe the woman who gave birth to this child might be suffering just a tad more than you are?

Mei Ling said...

"What I have a problem with (and hence the post) is that people comment on sensitive situations without knowing anything about them."

I understand this.

However, it WILL continue to happen - adoption is usually portrayed as the most selfish thing ever (if the birth-mom had JUST kept her legs shut!) or the most selfless thing ever (she sacrificed SO MUCH for her child).

So yes, you will always be receiving comments like that, because it's not ordinary for a child to have two moms.

"Or about adopted children who want nothing more than to find the REAL parents."

Well, the way I see it, both moms can be real. Just because one mom is not in the picture doesn't make her real.

Just because you haven't given birth to her also doesn't mean you aren't real.

It does not need to be a contest, which is why I think even the term "real" sets people up for an instant flame-war regarding the "validity" of a mother's status - adoption or birth.

Mei Ling said...

I meant to ask: have you adopted domestically or internationally?