I was at superstore today and that annoying “sign up for our MasterCard” guy approached me. Well, after a few minutes of me explaining that I already own one, he decided to comment on my two children and their ethnic diversity.
Of course, I could have just shrugged it off and walked away leaving his imagination to fill in the blanks. But it’s November— November is National Adoption Awareness month. So I decided to explain how we have been blessed with adoption.
“Oh, so you adopted this one and the other must be yours.” He said referring ‘the other’ to the child who looks closer to my genetic profile.
(I breathed out my feelings of outrage - he probably didn’t understand how offensive that statement was).
With a forced smile I explained, “They are both mine, AND we adopted both.”
He took a beat. I think it was his way of acknowledging his mistake.
Then he wanted to know how we were going to handle the ‘awkward’ conversation, “You know: YOU’RE ADOPTED.” And when exactly we’d tell the kids? “Probably when they’re a little older and can understand?”
I told him we already had that conversation. We had it when we met them at the hospital; when we brought them home. I have it every time I’m compiling my weekly emails; when ever I get a call/text/message from one of their TMs (Tummy Mom). Also when I put them into an outfit TM gave us or their playing with a toy from TM and always when we have a visit!
It won’t be a secret so it will never be a surprise.
I don’t think he was really listening to me because he then asked what we’d do if our kids wanted to meet their birth mothers.
With another forced smile I told him there wouldn’t be any ‘meeting’ their TM’s — they will already know them (we see them as often as we can). I even added how excited we are to be having dinner with our son’s TM this Saturday. She is up in Edmonton so we don’t get to see her as much as we’d like. Our daughter’s TM is closer so we have weekly visits with her.
He was shocked. “And that works for you?!!”
YES IT DOES.
“But the kids are yours.” He said.
I nodded, “Yes, they are mine and I am mom, my husband is dad, we are their parents. Nothing will change that.”
He asked if there was any way the birth mom could take them back.
I assured him there wasn’t.
At this point he confessed he couldn’t understand why we’d keep the birth mothers in the picture.
My question is: why wouldn’t we? These are amazing woman — woman who’s only ‘short coming’ was finding themselves pregnant when they weren’t in the best place to parent. Woman who then made a truly sacrificial choice to find their child a couple who was.
These are the kinds of people we want in our lives — in our children’s lives. Having contact with TM does not diminish our child’s life experiences, it enhances them.
I really tried to explain this to the PC MasterCard guy.
In the end he confessed that he was asking all these questions because he knows someone who is thinking about growing their family through adoption.
To which I encouraged him to tell his someone that it is a wonderful experience. One I am thrilled to be a part of.
Ok, so ‘yeah me’ I’ve done my part to spread adoption awareness. You know it wasn’t easy to stay in that awkward, slightly off putting, conversation! But I did. Respectfully. And now, because of me one more person knows what a positive experience open adoption can be. And with any luck his ‘someone’ will hear about it too.