Thursday, September 6, 2012

We Chose Adoption

I am well aware of the fact that most everyone comes to this blog to (1) see cute pictures of E, or (2) read about adopting a child with thalassemia.  And I love that and think it's great but this post is about neither, so sorry to disappoint.  But, it's my blog, and I need to blow off some steam.

Our family gets comments wherever we go, most welcome, some not.  I remember reading before we adopted from China that when you are an obviously multi-ethnic family, you are sort of resigning yourselves to the fact that you will be noticed, and you will get comments. 

Now, I think that some of the more overly-sensitive people out there have made it so that well-meaning people are terrified to say anything, myself included.  More than once, someone has sheepishly sidled up to me, eyes downturned, and said with a shaky voice, "I'm sorry, but...." and then they go on to make a very nice comment about our family, perhaps telling me about their own adoption story.  This is no problem, and I wish more people felt like it was OK to say hi.

But recently, there has been an influx of comments of another type.  This weekend, we went to dinner at an old-school Chinese-Polynesian restaurant.  We walked in and received some glares, but they quickly turned to smiles when everyone saw how cute E is.  Our waitress immediately took to E and seemed friendly enough, even asking where E was from.  "Oh, Guangxi, yes, they don't like the girls there, that was so nice of you, she's a lucky baby" was her response.  OK, wrong on so many levels, in fact every level I can think of, but I wasn't ready to walk out yet.  Every time she came to the table, she offered some advice, such as, "Keep your baby out of the sun.  Chinese people do not like the sun and getting freckles like Americans" and I just kept sipping on my cocktail, served in a coconut with a little umbrella, thinking about the 3 umbrellas E sits under at the beach, with her SPF 50+ hat, slathered in Water Babies 70.  No problem, she's just offering advice.  But then the waitress came in with a big one, one that no drink could be strong enough to repel:  "You know, now that you are taking care of your baby, you will have an internal mother instinct that will allow you to make your own baby.  I know someone who adopted a baby and the love she had made her body be able to have 3 of her own!"  And then, the final whammy, directed towards *E*, no less:  "Sleep in your own bed so that Mama and Daddy can have a baby!"  I. Almost. Died.  Although the funniest part was when the waitress turned around to walk away, E pointed at her and said, "Cuckoo!!!"  E, you are wise beyond your 2 years.

Now, there are lots of things wrong with this, and I don't just mean that my drink wasn't strong enough or that the rice noodles were a little greasy or that the waitress was indeed cuckoo.  We chose adoption over biology.  We thought about all of the options that we had for creating a family, and immediately knew that adoption was our first choice.  I know that some others come to the amazingness of adoption for other reasons, but we didn't, and that's a fact and something I'm happy about and proud of.  Adoption was Plan A.  Always.  And sometimes--not always--it just bugs me that most everyone is erroneously assuming about how our family came to be, and to be the recipient of unnecessary sympathy.  No, it doesn't matter what this silly waitress thinks, or the lady across the street, or the librarian at story hour.  But, well, it just isn't true.  And it's not true for a lot of other adoptive families out there, either.

Later that night when we were over laughing/crying/ranting about the waitress' inappropriate comments and saying how they should owe us free Pu-Pu Platters for life, we were strolling around and stopped into a candy store to get E some dots.  You know, the candy dots on a strip of paper where you are really eating a little candy and a lot of paper.  Those.  P quietly asked me if I was OK, knowing that this issue bugs me-well, us--sometimes.  I looked at E holding on to her dots for dear life, her cute little tongue all blue and smiled, "Yes, I'm great."  I turned around and noticed a lovely woman gazing at E, too.  The woman said, "She's gorgeous-look at those eyes!  Is she from China?"  I replied, "Thanks, and yes, she's originally from China."  The woman, who was leaning against the candy counter turned around revealing herself and said, "I looked into adopting from China, too, and then this finally happened," as she pointed at her huge pregnant belly.  P and I smiled at her and at each other, took each other's hand, and strolled our sticky-fingered, blue-tongued little angel (OK, sometimes devil) out of the store, shaking our heads.

That's a beautiful thing for you, but we chose something equally as beautiful.  Adoption.  Yes...First.

Okay, picture.
Cabana girl, Labor Day 2012, Cape Cod.