Back when I was married, my ex-husband and I moved to a small town soon after our daughter was born. As a result, we had to change pediatricians. On the intake form, we wrote down that our daughter was adopted (as it rendered our genetic history irrelevant). The doctor looked at the page for a minute before asking for “proof” that we were really the legal parents.
She walked out the door immediately after, before I could ask her whether or not biological parents are also asked to provide proof. After all, you can rarely tell if two people are genetically related just by sight.
My ex-husband wasn’t as annoyed as me – maybe because he’s more passive than I am – and it made me wonder if I was overreacting. I was fairly certain the doctor meant no offense, of course, but it still ate at me because I found her request ridiculous.
Then it got me thinking about living in a world where all adoptive moms turn into assholes, merely because of the assumptions they face every day.
If you’ve adopted (or know someone who has) you probably know what I’m talking about – the none-of-your-business questions. The nosiness that makes you think you left the house wearing a t-shirt that reads, “Please, ask me about my child!”
Now, let me be clear, I absolutely don’t mind if people I know ask questions. That’s kind of what a relationship is. And I certainly ask them questions too – how they are, how they feel, the routing number to their checking account.
I also don’t mind if people I meet show curiosity, as interest in others is how friendships begin. But there’s a difference between a person trying to form a foundation and one who’s there just to pry.
In other words, when people I’ve never met and will never see again ask questions, it makes me think. I wouldn’t say it makes me mad, but I do take notice. It doesn’t happen often, as my daughter and I look enough alike to avoid the queries. But, when it does occur, I imagine answering the questions while channeling my inner asshole.
It would go something like this:
Stranger at grocery store: Is your daughter adopted?
Me: Yes, my daughter was adopted. What about yours? Is your daughter biological?
If the stranger said yes, I’d then turn to the daughter and say, “Your parents had you through sex!”
Stranger at grocery store: Is your daughter from a different country?
Me: No. My daughter was born in the US. Yes, her skin is a bit darker than mine but this is America, not Iceland. She was born in an exotic land called Colorado. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s the place with all the pot.
Stranger at grocery store: Well, I guess you’re lucky you didn’t have to go through labor.
Me: Well, I guess you’re lucky that it’s illegal for me to punch you in the face.
Stranger at grocery store: How did you afford to adopt?
Me: The same way people afford to do anything. Saving, compromising, robbing strangers at the market.
Then I’d rummage through my purse like I was looking for something.
Stranger at grocery store: Have you told your daughter she was adopted?
Me: I thought maybe you could tell her.
Stranger at grocery store: Do you know your daughter’s real mom?
Me: Yes. I know her quite well. I see her every morning…….in the freaking mirror.