|The doll I made & sent to my baby in China. She thinks it's creepy.|
People don't always say the smartest things; sadly, they may not even realize how flagrantly asinine what they're saying is or how intrusive they're being. Once my amazing daughter was home, I became acutely aware of the ignorance spouting from people's lips, especially as it pertained to her. Fortunately, I don't carry a 2'x4', otherwise, those people would have been flattened instantly.
As promised, here are some of those comments and questions. Note: Most of the things you're about to read have come from a family member who has absolutely no clue as to how rude her comments were and, even after we pointed them out, disagreed that they were inappropriate. As I said, some people just don't get it.
- “Who's her real mother?” - I am. There's a perception
that only the person who actually gave birth to a baby is the
child's actual mother, but that's just not so. There are plenty of
women who pop out a child who have no interest in either keeping it
or taking care of it; there are some who treat their children, no
matter where they came from, poorly. A mother, or a mother figure,
is the female who raises you is there for you, day and night, no
matter what. She is a woman who wants you and loves you completely.
Yes, someone else gave birth to my daughter, but I am her mother.
Plain and simple.
- “Of course she likes Chinese food. It's in her blood.”
- This was said after we described how my baby enjoyed her first
visit to a local Chinatown. I didn't realize that just because
you're a native of a certain country, you're wired to enjoy that
culture's food (yes, this is sarcastic).
- “She's going to be very good at math.” - Ah, yes, the
stereotypes. They cause me to roll my eyes and practice my Lamaze
breathing. If my daughter is bright, it's because she's innately
intelligent and, hopefully, we're cultivating that intelligence.
Being Chinese has nothing to do with it.
- “She's a china doll.” - I take less offense to this
generalization, but still don't like it. If you know my little
Fireball (her nickname for herself), you know she may look delicate
on the outside, but inside she's the most determined, fiery child on
- “How much did she cost?” - Yep, a total stranger asked me
this one day when I was sitting on a park bench watching my daughter
play. I was, at first, speechless; thank God I do not carry the
aforementioned 2'x4'. I thought about walking away, but instead
bit my tongue and patiently explained to the Neanderthal that my child is adopted, not purchased. Yes, there are fees inherent in the adoption
process just as one pays medical bills when one is pregnant and
gives birth. Monies paid go to ensure that the adoptive parents are
worthy of a child and can provide for it.
- “You're a saint for adopting a child.” - Thanks, but I'm not. My husband and I wanted a child. We had one. Simple.
Because I want to encourage people to ask questions, especially if they're considering adding to their family. I want people stop thinking that love is automatically linked to bloodlines. I want people to consider adoption as a realistic option for building a family.
Adopting through our agency, CCAI, introduced us to a large group of people I am extremely grateful for. Our adoption group still communicates through Facebook and holiday cards, and a few years ago, we met with 10 of those families for a reunion at a resort in South Carolina. That vacation of a lifetime allowed my daughter to see friends she'd known before she met me and, since I didn't make that trip to the Far East, permitted me to meet some of those parents. What an amazing, joyful trip!
We also see two of those families who live within driving distance every year. It's important for my kids to see bi-racial families like us and it always strikes me how alike our girls are. We have some incredible people in our life thanks to adoption.
I asked my daughter the other day what she thinks of adoption. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “people think I'm special.” We talked about the fact that she is, not because of where she came from but because of who she is. She told me about other kids she knows who are adopted and asked when we're going to see her CCAI “sisters” again. We looked at her baby pictures and she recounted stories we've told her over the years of some of her infant antics. Then she snuggled into me. “MY mommy,” she whispered.
Yes, my love, I am your mommy. People may not say the smartest things, but we know the truth. How we came together doesn't matter. Our hearts are joined together as only a mother and child can be.
Here are some really cool websites that will help you or someone you know talk intelligently about adoption without, hopefully, offending anyone:
Parents Magazine has this wonderful adoption primer entitled 10 Questions Not To Ask Adoptive Parents (http://www.parents.com/parenting/adoption/parenting/10-questions-not-to-ask-adoptive-parents.
“What Not To Say To An Adoptive Mom” (http://mom.me/parenting/109-10-things-not-to-say-to-an-adoptive-parent) appears on the website mom.me. This article, written by Vanessa McCrady, is terrific and generated some interesting comments.
“What Not To Say To Adoptive Parents” (http://www.iamnotthebabysitter.com/what-not-to-say-to-adoptive-parents) appears on this website written by a parent in a transracial family. The funniest thing I find about being in a transracial family is that I forget the family is transracial!
In my next post celebrating National Adoption Month, I'll review some of the adult and children's books I've read about adoption. Please join me again, won't you?