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My family recently moved to a small town, and as a result, we had to change pediatricians. On the intake form, we wrote down that our daughter was adopted (as it rendered our genetic history irrelevant).
It took the doctor all of two minutes before she asked for “proof” that we were really the legal parents.
She walked out the door before I could ask her whether or not biological parents are also asked to provide proof. After all, you can’t always tell if two people are genetically related just by sight.
My husband wasn’t as annoyed as I was. He’s more passive than I am and it made me contemplate whether I’d been overreacting. I was fairly certain the doctor meant no offense, of course, but it still ate at me because I found her request ridiculous.
Then, I began to imagine living in a world where all adoptive moms turn into assholes, merely because of the general assumptions we all face under these type of circumstances.
If you’ve adopted (or know someone who has) you probably know what I’m talking about – the none-of-your-business questions people have. The unintentional prying that makes you think you left the house wearing a t-shirt that read, “Please, ask me about my child!”
Now, let me be clear, I absolutely don’t mind if people I know ask questions. That’s how mere introductions evolve into lifelong friendships. I certainly ask them questions too – about how they think and how they feel. Or the routing number to their checking account.
But, when people I’ve never met and will most likely never see again ask questions, it makes me wonder. I wouldn’t say it makes me upset, but I do take notice and I imagine answering their questions like a total asshole.
It would go something like this:
Stranger at grocery store: Is your daughter adopted?
Me: Yes, my daughter was adopted. What about yours? Is that your biological son?
If the stranger said yes, I’d then turn to the son and say, “Your parents had you through sex!”
Stranger at grocery store: Is your daughter from a different country?
Me: No. My daughter was born in the US. Yes, her skin is a bit darker than mine but this is America, not Iceland. She was born in an exotic place called Colorado. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s the place with all the pot.
Stranger at grocery store: Well, I guess you’re lucky you didn’t have to go through labor.
Me: Well, I guess you’re lucky that it’s illegal for me to punch you in the face.
Stranger at grocery store: How did you afford to adopt?
Me: The same way people afford to do anything. Saving, compromising, robbing strangers at knifepoint.
Then I’d rummage through my purse like I was really looking for something.
Stranger at grocery store: Are you going to tell your daughter that she’s adopted?
Me: I thought maybe you could tell her.
Stranger at grocery store: Do you know your daughter’s real mom?
Me: Yes. I know her quite well. I see her every morning…….in the freaking mirror.