While discussing "the a word" with a group of friends a few weeks ago, another mother was listening in on our conversation from across the room. Four of the five ladies in the group were adoptive mothers--international, domestic, and foster care adoptions were all represented. We were puzzling over why someone might take the stance of "adopted" being a negative label for her children. Suddenly, the listener addressed me with the following comment...
I just don't get why you or anyone else would go pay all that money to adopt a baby from another country when there are all those free black babies right here. I mean, you were already adopting outside of your race any way. So why not get one of the free black babies that are already here?
And I guess, just to make sure I heard her, she repeated herself.
Talk about a conversation stopper!
I think I must have looked like a goldfish...
eyes bulging out,
mouth opening and closing,
no words coming out.
But, she didn't really want an answer. That became quickly and abundantly clear. Her one-sided tirade continued for a while, with no chance to get a word in edgewise. The other moms bent busily back over the quilt they were working on and I returned to filing and organizing some student work.
It's been almost a month since that comment, but it still floors me when I think about it.
First of all, there's no such thing as "free"--there are homestudy fees, fingerprint fees, background check fees, attorney fees, court costs, agency fees...the list goes one. I'm sure I left something out.
Second of all, do you even know my child??? She may not have been born from my body, but she couldn't be more like me than I already am. It's spooky sometimes. I know that I was drawn to Guatemala for a reason, and that was because my daughter was there. Period.
I still don't know what I should have said, even if I had been able to think of it "in the moment." I don't think it would have mattered what I said. Her mind was made up, although in a sadly misguided way.
What would you have said if you were me?