I hear it all the time "Oh you're an adoptive mom", um no. I'm a mom. Short, simple and to the point. I don't say to you, "Oh, you squirted one out your vajayjay, you're a biological mom". Yes, I missed his birth, yes I missed his first birthday but really those in the long run don't matter. I have been through the 5 childhood fevers and rashes, his ear infections, his surgeries, his skinned knees, his first steps, the shooting cheerios out his nose, his first day of school. The dancing in the rain to catch rain drops on our tongues and the muddy shoe prints across the floor. The first time he said “I love you mommamom (not a typo, that’s what he used to call me). I will be there for his first time driving, his first love, his first loss. I hold him when he cries and hug him when he's happy. We play video games together even though I suck at it. He knows it, he doesn't care. I'm the one who is tough on homework and bedtime. I make him clean his room and fumigate it at least once a month. There is nothing “adoptive” about any of that. Some of you might get angry and declare yourself an “adoptive parent” and that’s ok. I am only speaking about myself and my son. To adopt is to acquire and yes that is how I come to have my son but it was only a moment in time. The adoption process was only a process. From the moment I saw his face, from the moment he was handed to me, from the moment he first smiled at me, he was my son and I his mom.
We hear it all the time in the media, "So and so is survived by his two biological children and his adoptive children". What?? Why the need to differentiate? Do you think Mister So and So sat at the head of the dinner table and said "You there, my biological children may begin eating, when they are done you the adoptive ones can finish up and then clean this place spick and span". Can you tell this irritates me? When my son was little, he didn't pay attention to such idiocy. Now at 13 he pays attention to the news and is also irritated by it. He too would like to know why it makes such a difference. Who cares? Is there someone out there secretly keeping count? Think how the children must feel when they are segregated out from the family. I am disheartened everytime I hear it. I have been lucky, most in my family were happy with me going through the adoption process. I say most as there were a few dissenters. When I brought him home however it was as though he was born to the family. He is us and we are him. He has his uncles tendency to get overly aggravated, he has his grandfathers wit, he has one of his grandmothers sense of right and his other grandmothers love of small things and he has his mothers sarcastic wit. We are family which means we love each other no matter who they are or where they came from. Family is not blood, family is bound by love, anger, passion, glee, joy, sadness, pain, and truth.
Another problem that I have are the questions that we get. I mean really, stop and think before asking a question.
When someone asks me “Oh when did you adopt?” Nice question, no problem.
Me, “I brought him home when he was 13 months old”.
Them, “Oh really, does he still speak his native language”.
Me, hmmmm, what?
Them “I mean, it must be hard for him having to think about speaking english”.
Me, hmmmm, what?
How about one of my favorites
Them, “He was born in a muslim country so what are you going to do when he wants to go over and fight with them?”
Them, “How far behind in school is he?”
Me, “Excuse, why would you think that?”
Them, “Well english is not his first language”
I know that people are just curious. Please though stop, think and ask yourself if it was your child, what would you say.
So why write this now, two reasons. One, there is a wonderful posting going around on Facebook about what a mother and her two daughters have been through and the stupid ass things that people say to them. Some of the questions were funny while others are just plain hurtful. The second, is a video that I saw the other day that was actually quite good and made me laugh and think. The guys at Cyndago
made a wonderful and humorous video starring Markiplier
, but the message is really at the end of the video. It was great to see (cough, cough) young people caring about and wanting to make a difference about adopting and attitudes towards adoption. Attitudes do need to change. If we can’t change the elders perhaps changing the younger ones will be more successful. Ask yourself, what is family? Do you like yours? How do you want your loved ones treated? All I’m asking really is to consider the feelings of others.
Neither my son nor I ever think about what brought us together as a family. Every once in a while, I will bring up where he was born and ask if he is curious. His answer is always the same "No, I have a family".
We are family.
Enjoy life, it's the one you have.
Tammie(ps: you may have read this before, I updated it so that it matched what I posted on BlogHer, 20Apr15)