Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am Tired of Being an Adoptive Parent

Ok, or more honestly, I am tired of being considered a HYPHENATED parent by every joe schmoe. Yeah I have dealt with it in forum land and it really doesn't bother me anymore. But over a cup a coffee? Or in the grocery story? Or the school hallway? I am just really tired of it.



So very, very rarely, just Jen, mom of 4.

Yes, I know sort of silly considering I have this very public blog to discuss adoption and adoption issues, celebrate life with my kids and how very lucky I am to be a mom to all of my sons. But seriously, I am tired of it. I am HAPPY to have thoughtful, considerate conversations about adoption. About special needs. About my kids. In fact I have had a couple this week. But the ignorant ones? I am tired of being thick skinned because "people just don't know". Or being the poster child for adoption because I am a visible adoptive parent. Some days, some times I just want to be a mom.

Jen. Mom of four.

Because in the last 7 days I have heard the following and I am TIRED:

"Are they brothers in real life?"

"Do you love those ones as much as you love your own?"

"Did his mother do drugs or WHAT?"

"So you adopt those two or what?"

"Is your husband black or did you adopt?"

"How many times have you been married because your kids sure don't look alike."

"He can't be YOUR son!"

And you know, its been 9 years since we adopted. These are questions we get from people STILL. S-T-I-L-L and some days, some times I get tired of it. Why do WE have to be a poster board for adoption education? I'd like to be invisible, just for a week. Actually, one week a year I AM invisible. Just a normal mom. I love camp. Maybe I need a fall camp booster? Pam? Susan? Do you hear my cries for help here? I just want another week of camp. Please.

So below is my vent. The answers to the questions I wanted to say but didn't. I smiled, I answered politely. You know why? Just so someone, somewhere - probably another adoptive parent - doesn't have to deal with the "but you know, I talked to this one adoptive mom once and she said *********".

The same frustration that adoptees feel when they are told by a stranger that their daughter's friend's hairdresser's mother is adopted and has no questions about it, or is screwed up, or is perfectly happy not know she is adopted.

Read. Learn. And know what not to ask me in case I bite your head off one day.

Are they real?

No (you moron), we are actors in a reality television show. What the heck do you think? Yes they are brothers IN REAL LIFE. And seeing as you are asking whether or not my two sons through adoption are biologically related, what the heck does it matter to you? Does it make a difference? I mean it must because I have been asked this question at least twice a week for the last 9 years. EVERY week. EVERY year. I am tired of it. Yes, all four boys are REAL brothers. Yes, there are two groups of biologically related siblings in our family. NO IT DOESN'T MAKE A FREAKING BIT OF DIFFERENCE IN HOW THEY VIEW EACH OTHER, OR LOVE EACH OTHER, OR IF THEY ARE REALLY BROTHERS.

Caden was born into a family of 3 brothers. None of the kids have conscious memories prior to meeting each other. They ARE brothers. Now leave your judgement of the reality of their relationship ALONE. And certainly don't bother sharing your "wisdom" with me EVER in front of my kids.

"Do you love them?" (as much is the implied judgement)

There is so much wrong with this question I am not quite sure exactly where to start. First off, yes I do. And no, I am not interested in your opinion that you could NEVER love another child as much as the one you pushed out. I don't care if you are that shallow or closed minded, because if you are, I really don't want to be your friend anyways. I would hope you would never adopt. I don't care that you lack the imagination to consider that its possible to love a child that doesn't look like you as much as one that does. And although I don't "own" any of my kids, they are all darn well my kids. I know how I feel and I am just so incredibly tired of having to defend that.

"Are those behaviors because his mother did drugs?" (and all variations that imply that all adoptees are genetically deficient, bad seeds, drug babies and otherwise lesser)

First off, I reserve the right to vent about my kids. Secondly, because I have a bad day with a frustrating behavior does NOT mean I don't love my child. It doesn't mean I am not committed to him and it CERTAINLY doesn't mean I regret being his mother. Thirdly, that's none of your business. Some kids are difficult, and if you are going to try to give me 'parenting techniques' bite your tongue. I know way, way, way more about my children and their issues than you can even guess at. I am a competent parent and NO ONE wants them to succeed in life more than me. You wonder at how I parent, ask me, don't judge. Yes my parenting might be different than yours, but my kids are different than yours and my parenting skills are REQUIRED to be different than yours. And why that is is none of your business unless I volunteer to share it with you.

So that's my vent. Sorry its a bit abrupt, but well I have HOCKEY. In like 3 minutes and well, my mom is back and things are nuts and well ... BYE.


Andy said...

Jen, YOU ROCK!!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks Andy ... I just think I am stressed :)

pam said...

Sorry no week long camp in the planning but what about a girls gone wild weekend somewhere?

Funny but I've been having the same thoughts this week surrounding questions/assumptions that have been made about my FAMILY and just thinking how great it would be to be just Pam ... Mom.

Anonymous said...

please please just make it stop...but I know it won't. Camp, camp, camp...make it come sooooon. But I can't really ask for that because our little dude is 19 days old and I don't want to rush past anything. Still.... it sure helps to know it happens to all of us. But please, make it stop...at least in front of the kids.

And yet, it would be absolutely absolutely naive of us not to expect this given our social context and our decision to adopt trans-racially. But it doesn't get any easier knowing that and I never seem to get used to it.

Unknown said...

that last comment was by me; didn't mean it to be anonymous...

Jo said...

As an adoptive mother myself I have to say... You are awesome! We are all thinking it, sister!

I have an AA friend that adopted an asian baby... she couldn't take it any longer when somebody at church blurted out: "she doesn't look like you" ... (um, duh?) so her response was...

"well, my husband is a very forgiving man, you know. I had an indiscretion a few years back with a Phillippino man, and well, my husband was kind enough to forgive me and let it slide. He loves this little girl as if she were his own"

She never bothered to inform the lady that the little girl was adopted and they still see eachother at church! Too funny!

Di said...

People are just dumb... consider the source and be a better person! You are doing an amazing job with the boys. They are blessed!
Take a deep breath... (then swing and see if you hit the dumb ones!)

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad you wrote all that, Jen. Yours are much like my thoughts, written down so they don't consume me! Two issues there: irritating adoption questions and irritating judgments of parenting techniques. It's sometimes hard to remember to take a deep breath and not wear those judgments, but like you I try, try again.