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R & R: Rest & Reflection

July 26, 2008

This weekend I made a quick trip (26 hours to be exact) to see my family in St. Louis.  It was so great to be back in the city.  I miss it badly some days, yet other days, I could careless.  Interesting-we will see how this plays out in the long run.  If I had to put a finger on what it is that I miss the most (besides my family) is the urban vibe of the city.  The options of so many cultural atmospheres, so many reckless drivers, and so many sporting events-in any given day.  Love it!  Not so much when you live in southern Missouri-oh wait, how could I forget-there is always Branson and one reckless driver-ME!  Anyhoo,  upon visiting my family the topic of *reaction* to the news of our adoption has come up.   I am not referring to the *reaction* from family and friends, that has been overwhelmingly positive & supportive, but the reaction of shall we say *acquaintances*.  I think this is definitely something that comes up as I have read about it on many other blogs and have had this specific discussion with various AP’s & non-AP’s.   The reaction that I am particularly referring to is the one when you first break the news.  It usually goes something like this:

Me: small talk, small talk, small talk…We are adopting a child from Colombia!

Others: Oh, that’s great!  (Insert what seems like an eternal awkward silent pause, combined with a grin that says I am really trying to think of what to say next)

Me: Yeah, we are very excited! 

Others:  Repeat what has already been said above OR in a mortifying deviation of this scenario, this last sentence can be replaced by…so you can’t have children of *your own*?

Now, depending on what day it is and how anal I am feeling, I will react one of two ways.  1.  Explain that my children are always my own, it does not matter how they join our family OR 2.  I just reply “NO” give them a blank stare, awkward silence, and let them think they have poured salt on an open wound.  Number two can be particularly satisfying if I am needing a chuckle.  Not that infertility is funny, just being in the moment when someone thinks that they have shoved their foot into their mouth: priceless!

So after much reflection my final consensus on the issue is that I don’t really think people know what to say.  I think that in the mind that is sometimes closed, people do not realize that there are MANY ways to complete a family.  Society brings most people to believe that they will finish some sort of schooling, probably get married, birth a child, pay lots of taxes, take a few vacations and live out their days in a retirement home in Florida.  In my life, adoption has touched me in many ways.  I have many friends with adopted children, friends with adopted siblings, and I am the granddaughter of an adoptee.  Adoption was always going to be in my future.  I don’t think that people in general ever stop to think that just maybe, my children don’t have to share my DNA to be *my own*.  The good news, I harbor no ill feelings over the issue.  Just a genuine sadness for people who don’t get it and a solace that I will raise my children to be more open minded.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2008 12:03 pm

    Man, you have met some people with real gall! We’ve had no one outright ask us if we “can’t have children”. But you can see it in their eyes, which is almost worse…
    And btw – next time you’re in STL, you’d better come meet Olive!!!

  2. Mandi permalink
    July 29, 2008 7:27 pm

    What?!? I don’t go up to fat people and say “Soooo, can’t lose any weight, huh?” or other equally personal things. Well, I know people say things like that. Their tune will change when you have a cutie pie sitting on your lap. Hopefully then, no one will care how you got her (him?).

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