I’m in Costco with my, then 6 month old, daughter whom I’m pushing around in the cart. An older European woman rushes us and in a loud, heavy, Armenian accent begins, “Ohhhhh my God. Ohhhh my God in Heaven. Look at that blonde hair! She is beautiful! What an angel! So gorgeous! That face!” She then takes a moment to look at me and asks incredulously, “She’s yours?”
What? A dark haired skinny, Romanian/Polish/Russian Jew can’t push a fair-skinned stout, rosy-cheeked, German-Irish child in a shopping cart without triggering an Amber alert?
Clearly she didn’t think I had the face of an angel, or that such a beautiful baby could come out of my own vagina. I’ve come to love (okay, like, let’s not get crazy) my face and feel that I have a certain appeal… especially after a good blow out.
I didn’t feel the need to explain to this loud, intrusive woman that my husband and I decided to adopt a child due to a genetic heart condition that we could have passed down to a biological child. Instead, I cradled my blonde angel’s head in my hand and said, “Yes. She’s mine.”
They make you take all sorts of workshops when you adopt. Give you lists of books to read. Show you videos. They try to prepare you for the large European woman who will accost you in Costco… but truth be told, nothing really prepares you for the questions you’re asked… for the things that are said… some of them right in front of your child.
A) Aren’t you afraid her real mom is going to come back to get her?
B) You’re so wonderful for taking her in.
C) How much did she cost?
D) So you can’t have your own baby?
E) Where did you get her?
F) Was her mom a drug addict? Stripper? Prostitute? Teenager? Homeless?
G) Where does she get that blonde hair?
H) You’re not going to tell her the truth are you?
I understand the curiosity. It’s human nature. Everyone loves a good story. The juicier the better. Ours is not juicy, no Lifetime movie of the week. Just two people in love, wanting a family.
Maybe if I answer those questions now, I’ll be better prepared for next time.
A) I’m her real mom.
B) Yes I am.
C) She’s not a car.
D) She is my own baby.
E) We used a Lawyer.
F) No, she was an amazingly brave, selfless Woman who made the hardest choice of her life because she knew she couldn’t give this child the best life.
G) Her head.
H) Yes. I will always tell my daughter the truth. It will enpower her. It will show her that she can trust us. But most of all, it will teach her that love makes a family not blood.
(Do wish I had that Irish skin, though…)