Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Adoption? What adoption?

Through out this adoption process I have, at various times, wished that Ben and I had not told anyone we are adopting. I think that it is incredibly difficult for anyone to understand what it is like to adopt if you have not experienced it yourself. There is a constant "hurry up and wait"-ness to this process that can be agonizing. Although friends, family and co-workers mean so very well, having to answer the questions, "What's going on with the adoption?" or "Any news?" every single week is like pulling off a huge scab.

Every. single. time.

Every. single. day.

I am asked every single day, by someone, what the news is. Today I was asked by a co-worker if I knew when I was traveling yet.
My answer?
"You know exactly as much as I do when I will be traveling." (Meaning we both know nothing.)

Every time we see friends we get asked the same question. "Any news?" And we have the same answer. "Nope."

There goes that scab again.

Some days I think it would be so much easier for me if we could have just shown up one day with TK in our arms. Look what we did! And then we could explain the process just one time and be done with it because it would already be over.

Everyone means well.

They are genuinely (I hope) interested in this long, arduous journey that we decided to take to parenthood but having to explain each step (there are so many!) and why there are so many delays along the way (again, so many!) can be a bit of a burden for a heart to bear. Each question is one more time I have to think about my boy who is not here with us. Each explanation is a reminder that our adoption decision is not "normal" or "typical" compared to a breeder's decision. Everyone knows about giving birth and how that process works.

Yes, this was a very deliberate decision Ben and I made. Yes, I did realize we were going to be asked questions (and will most likely be asked questions for the rest of our child-rearing time as a "conspicuous" family). But some days I just don't feel like educating people.

There are other parts of the adoption that people don't ask us so much about that I would LOVE to discuss. But those aren't the happy-baby-smiley-fun-time questions. They're the heavier ones that are off-putting to most people. No one wants to talk to me about race or class or all the things that compound and work against people of color whose children become a commodity for people like Ben and me. No one wants to know about the adult adoptee blogs that I read that rail against the very act that Ben and I are committing. No one notices that when they ask me, "Do you HAVE to go pick him up in AFRICA?" my response is always, "We GET to go get him in ETHIOPIA." and why those are two very different statements. No one wants to hear about the books on race that I read or the innumerable misgivings I have about raising a black baby in this country.

Ask me about any of that and I will be happy to have a conversation with you. But for one day, one time, can we please not talk about the actual adoption process?


Kerry said...

After hearing about our adoption our new landlord said "Well if you fly there, do they give you one for free?" Followed up by "My husband and I are considering adoption" - I was kind and explained what adoption fees cover but what I was thinking was "Please don't adopt - wait, Please, Please don't breed... where is natural selection when we need it."

Beth said...

I understand about the scab...competely. The question I keep hearing is, "When are you traveling to pick up your daughter?" I hope my smile looks genuine as I always answer, "Sometime in September, I hope." What is going on in my mind isn't so pretty, but, like you said, I know they mean well. Hang in there...