The REAL Deal

The REAL Deal
Here you will find the chronicals of the Crazy Crook Crew...enjoy:)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Adoption illiterate

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,
Mama Crook

16 comments:

  1. I can not believe that. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. Your children are some of the luckiest in the world because they have some of the happiest, most loving people as parents. Seriously, every time I encounter you I wish i had the joy and love and happiness that you exude. I'm so sorry friend. I pray that the kids have already forgotten what was said and they never have to think twice about it again. You are loved!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Amy! Not sure my happiness and joy were on target tonight though;) Thanks so much for your prayers!! I'm praying that ugliness went in one ear and out the other too!

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  2. Michele Ingalls CatellierAugust 15, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    I can't begin to imagine how you felt tonight. The guy who does my nails is from Vietnam and in conversation he asked how many kids I had. When I said 3, he laughed and said I was very, very rich. (I was thinking he was getting all philosophical on how they richened our lives??) I just kind of said "ummmmmm" Then proceeded to tell me if I lived in Vietnam, I could sell my kids for $25,000 each. Whoa. Didn't know what to think about that other than trying to make it O.K. in my mind because of the culture gap. But then wondered if any adoptive parents were around and if they heard. Makes me sad to think you went through this tonight. Good job, Mommy, for setting the record straight, for not going crazy on him in front of your children, and showing them that you will protect them completely.

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    1. That is very, VERY sad. That's a cultural truth for him...and it's sickening to us. Sounds like Vietnam needs some education on family and what that word means. Many countries do. And so does Mr. H! Thanks for the encouragement friend!

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  3. I'm so sorry...It's interesting that someone who has grandchildren who are adopted doesn't know better. All that tells me is that he probably is this way about all topics of "conversation" (I use that word loosely), not just this one. I certainly hope he got an earful from his wife...Good for you for standing up and saying something. There's no doubt that your children know exactly who they are--Crook Children-- and feel so incredibly loved. Terri D

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    1. I thought the same Terri. I wondered why his children hadn't already fixed this "problem". Weird. I found myself struggling not to judge what kind of parents they are:( This was just a bad night. But thanks so much for the encouragement...they most definitely know they are Crook kids:):):)

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  4. I am so sorry this happened. People are clueless. I have gotten many stupid comments from people over the last few years after we adopted our daughter. I have been asked the cost but not in front of my daughter...i would be mad as ever if anyone said that in front of my daughter. I understand your pain and anger....try t remember the source....the sad thing is what does he say to and in front of his grandchildren? That is disturbing.

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    1. I thought about that too Wendy...AND wondered why his kids hadn't already fixed the "problem". I would be the first to set my parents straight if they were that rude/ignorant/stupid. Just very sad to me:(

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  5. I am so sorry as well. It is shocking to me sometimes at how insensitive people can be. Maybe his wife will give him a clue after you told her how you felt!

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  6. I'm so sorry for the things that were said in front of your sweet children, I hope they don't remember any of it. Can you please share how you would respond when it is not said in front of your children. (I'm thinking I could say "My children didn't cost anything, they are gifts from God. I paid adoption expenses and that information is personal. I can tell you what the range is for adoption expenses for different types of adoption, etc.)

    For me, the comments about "your own children" in front of my children would be harder for me to handle because I feel like they are even more hurtful to them as my children and as adopted children. Maybe that's because I'm also an adoptee and am especially sensitive about that for myself and my children. I have heard adoptive parents/adoptive parents-to-be also use the expression "children of my own" referring to biological children and it really bothers me. People need to really think before they open their mouth...

    Kris

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    1. Kris, I love your response...and I hope mine would be similar:) The "your own children" comments burn me up too. No one had said that in front of my kids...thus far. But I'm guessing that time will come. I believe my response would be the same...I always say "I have three of my own children...what exactly do you mean?" And to this point, that simple response has corrected the problem:) And I have also heard adoptive parents use that term...I cringe with you. Our children should never have to feel like they don't belong to us. We were at the zoo recently and we ran into another adoptive family...I only knew the parents, I had never met their children. So the dad introduced me to his 5 kids and then he put his hands on the shoulders of the oldest and said "This one is my bio" with a smile on his face. I was mortified. Apparently there are adoptive parents who also qualify as AI's...very sad.
      And can I just say that I think it's beyond beautiful when an adopted child grows up and chooses adoption to grow their family. When I read that part of your comment, goosebumps invaded my skin:) That is a family cycle that if repeated over generations...could literally change the world. Be blessed mama!

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  7. Oh Sam, this got me all teary eyed! So sorry you had to experience this. All I know is your sweet children know they are your own and that they are priceless...and knowing they are adopted because you have shared that with them probably makes them wish every child could know what it feels like to be adopted...because they have experienced what true unconditional love feels like from their parents.
    I'm actually dumbfounded he didn't stop after making the assumption that only one of your children were adopted and you telling him they all were. Any thoughtful person would have apologized after sticking their foot in their mouth! Absurd! So sorry friend! You guys have a great family, and you love like no one else!!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Eva! Our kiddos most definitely know where they belong and I know our oldest understands who defines and designs our family...and she is confident and secure in that:) That's my prayer for all of our children. Right now the boys are still like "I'm adopted and I like icecream!" Their time will come :)
      And I agree with you...Mr. H did not pick up on the social cues that most of us understand as small children. Still annoyed...but my peace and joy are back:) So PTL!

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