Sometimes I am flabbergasted by the things people say to me about my family. I usually try to respond in a way which models for my girls how to be polite, but protective of one’s privacy. Sometimes I do well; but sometimes I try real hard not to let the rising anger in me burst forth onto them in a flow of adoptive mommy rage, and I turn bright red, and start to sweat. Thankfully we live in a diverse area with lots of differences in family structures, and my days usually are full of love and support for my girls, and our family. I get it, difference is interesting, and people are probably just being curious and don’t intend to be rude and hurtful. Especially kids, they kill me with their honesty. But every once in a while, I am come across a real doozy of a person, that blows my mind. Here are a few true encounters of the last few years that have made me cringe (and giggle).
Trapped in the Checkout Line:
Lady in line behind my youngest and I at Whole Foods: Are you buying that food for her family or yours?
Me: (after trying to imagine what on earth she is asking me) Um, both, we are one and the same. I am her mom, she is my daughter.
What I really wanted to say: What the %$#@! Is wrong with you?
Accosted Near the Cucumbers:
Older lady in produce section at Whole Foods: Do you do her hair?
Lady: You use a wide tooth comb?
Me: Yes, a wooden one
Lady: You oil her hair?
Lady: Oh, because it looks nice and healthy.
What I really want to know: Do White moms of white kids ever get asked if they do their daughter’s hair? Isn’t it just assumed that mothers are capable of caring for their children’s bodies, including their hair?
Birthday Party Pooper:
Inappropriate relative at a family birthday party: Is she sad that she’s not with her real mom? Do you think she misses her?
Me: Well, there are many feelings that come up for our family around adoption. I’m not sure that this is best time and place to discuss them.
What I really wanted to say: What the %$#@! Is wrong with you? Thanks for pointing out pain that flows through my family’s heart while we are sitting here eating Elmo cake.
School Pick-up Confidential:
Well-meaning mom at school pick up: Are they sisters?
Mom: (after pause) Are they real sisters?
Me: They are as real as it gets. But they do have different birth families, if that’s what you want to know.
Mom: Oh, yes, because they act so much like real sisters.
Me: (smile and biting my tounge) yup, they’re sisters
What I really wanted to say: What the %$#@! Is wrong with you? Who asks such a question in front of a child?
Kids, Gotta Love ‘Em:
Kids (all the time and everywhere): Um, are you their real mom? Were they adopted?
Me: yes I’m real and yes we are an adoptive family.
What I wanted to say: Thank you for asking me, you’re a cool kid!