Today I had a new experience...new doesn't mean good. As an adoptive mama, I've heard a lot of ignorant comments/ questions over the years. Usually I use those moments as opportunities to educate. Sometimes though, the words that come my way are so absurd...I am speechless...truth. A few years ago, I was at one of my husbands cross country meets (he's a coach) and a parent asked me if all of our kids were ours. When I said "yes", he replied with "Wow! You guys have a broad gene pool!". Now that's funny. And typically, even if I'm annoyed in the moment, I can laugh later and feel good about my part in educating the "adoption illiterate" community. Today...however...was not one of those days. I'm still in shock honestly.
I was outside with my family...kids were playing, and I was holding the ladder my husband was standing on while he cleaned a tree out of our gutter. Some neighbors were walking by with their dog and stopped to check on us. We were talking gutters and then out of nowhere the husband points at our youngest and says "Adopted?" That's it. "Adopted?" One word in the form of a question. My three children were all standing there petting their dog. I looked at my husband...we both had the same "Is this guy serious?" look on our faces. I gave Mr. H an awkward look and then replied with "Actually all of our children are adopted." In the kindest voice I could muster. I think his wife could sense the tension because she was quick to let us know that their three grand children were adopted too. Then he said it. The words "I know I shouldn't...but I'm gonna ask it anyway. How much did each of em' cost?" came out of his mouth. I. Was. Shocked. I could feel the blood in my face getting hot. I said "Yes you probably shouldn't ask people that question." And his wife walked away with the dog. I'm pretty sure she understood what was happening and was helping by getting the kids to a safe zone. But Mr. H didn't stop there...he proceeded to tell me how much each of his grand children "cost". To be exact, he said "those kids cost $xx a pop". I walked away. I went in my house and started sobbing. I could not believe what just happened...those words...my children...heard them. I was mad. As I cried I got more mad and knew I couldn't sit on it. So I marched back outside and my kids were still petting the dog, my husband was talking to Mr. H...so I walked up to his wife, put my hands on her shoulders, and through my tears told her that what he said was hurtful and inappropriate and to please ask him to never say that to anyone again. Then I walked back inside. She was kind and I believe she understood me. JT came in to check on me after they left and he was dumbfounded. Whether or not Mr. H "meant" anything by his horrible words, he was utterly rude. Tactless. It's rude to ask how much someone's home cost. Who in the right mind walks into someone's driveway and asks about adoption expenses. Oh wait...he didn't ask about adoption expenses...he asked how much my kids cost! In front of them. Like they are objects. And what if our kids didn't know they were adopted? They obviously do and that is a whole other blog but what if we were the crazy parents that didn't tell? Mr H. Just blew our cover. There are just so many things wrong with the words that were spoken in my driveway tonight. I can't wrap my mind around that kind of stupid. This made all the people who have asked me "do you think you'll ever have any of your own?" right in front of my OWN children seem like...uh...never mind, that burns me up too. Here's the thing...an AI (adoption illiterate) can say whatever they think they need to, to me. I will likely make them feel uncomfortable with my answer...and through that avenue, ensure that those particular words are erased from their repertoire. But...when an AI says those things in front of my kids...that does something to my mom heart. I'm defensive and protective. And I do not want to explain those kind of words to my 3, 4, and 5 year olds. No one has the right to make my children feel like they do not belong in this family or feel like an object that has been purchased. I will destroy that notion in their presence. Next time I'm going to do better. Now I know what this feels like and I'll be better prepared. I apologize for the tone of this blog, this isn't my style. Still hurt, frustrated, furious. I just hope this one reaches a few AI's out there. Some words hurt, some words make me boil...literally...I think my blood was boiling. My ears have never been so hot. All it takes is a little thought before the words flow out. I sure hope Mr. H is the last of his kind..because seriously.
~Crazy about my children,