China

How Rude

I am always amazed at how rude some people can be.

First example happened at my local gym. There was a woman in the locker room who decided this was a good place to take a phone call. While she was on the phone, she walked back to the area where the toilet stalls are located. She continued her conversation back there, when someone, yes, flushed the toilet. When this person walked out, the first woman stopped her phone call and said to the person exiting said stall “can’t you see I’m on the phone?” Okay, there are so many things wrong with this, but I couldn’t believe she had the audacity to think this, much less say it out loud. First of all, the woman already in the stall had no idea that the other woman was on the phone (the doors are not see through for a reason). Second, why on earth would you take a call in a locker room and then walk around, especially back to the area where the toilets and showers are located.  And why would she think that a toilet is more mobile than a phone? Um, hello, but use your brain, say to the caller “excuse me for a moment, I’m in the locker room, let me go outside so we can talk unimpeded” if the call is that important that you must take it at that exact moment. The world does not revolve around you, nor should you expect it to.

The next example hits closer to home. As a parent of a girl adopted from China I have encountered many people who feel it’s okay to ask me the most personal of questions. Or make assumptions about my child bearing capabilities. The fact that I’m even writing that sentence is a sad commentary on peoples manners these days.

I would have people say, “oh, I’m so sorry you couldn’t have a child of your own.” Or “how much did she cost?” “You know, there are treatments that you or your husband could try.” And the kicker “how can you love her, she’s not really your own child.” And what made it that much worse was they would ask in front of my daughter, not taking in to account that she has ears, she can hear what they are saying. Now at the age of two maybe she couldn’t understand the question, but as she got older and we would still get asked these questions, she began to wonder and then ask me what these people meant.

Most of the time I would just look at them in bewilderment, astounded that they could even formulate these ideas, much less speak them into existence. On occasion I would think not nice words in my head and then politely responded with an “oh, okay” and walk away. Then there were a few times, when my daughter wasn’t around, my sarcastic side would take over and I would ask them about their financial situation or sex life or any other completely inappropriate question just to see how they would respond. That usually shut down the conversation pretty quickly.

I admit, there were those people that were asking because they genuinely wanted to know and understand the entire international adoption process. And you could tell that they weren’t meaning to be rude, they simply were trying to engage in a conversation. But that was a small percentage of the people. The rude ones, well it was like meeting a real life troll. Maybe it made them feel better about themselves to put others down. Maybe this is just what they were taught and they didn’t know any better. Maybe it was just their prejudice and ignorance showing. I don’t know. But it broke my heart, every time. The fact that someone could think that I didn’t love my daughter just as much as they loved their own child, just because I didn’t go through what they thought of as the normal the physical of having a baby, astounded me and still does to this day.

So on behalf of all adoptive families out there, please, if you want to ask us about it, think before you speak. Actually, that really should just be the rule that we all follow in any given situation. The world would be a much better place.

Forever Family

10 years ago, life changed forever. We went from being a couple, married for 11 years (having celebrated our 11th anniversary in Beijing) to 2 days later becoming a family, a forever family. It was March 12, 2001, the day our lives changed forever. The first day we finally met in person and fell in love (all over again) with Li San Yue, in Tuanfeng, Hubei China.

The journey started with paperwork, then waiting, more paperwork, more waiting, official notarizations from the county, the state, the federal government and the Chinese government, then more waiting, and then the day the Fedex package arrived, waiting on that too. The long awaited package containing the most important paperwork of all ~ the picture seen at the left and all the biographical information about our soon to be daughter arrived on January 22, 2001.

Skip forward to March 12, 2001, anxiously arriving at the Civil Affairs Bureau, stepping off the elevator and hearing the distant cries of babies. Heart pounding, palms sweating, stomach in knots… knowing that in just a few moments we would finally get to hold our daughter in our arms for the very first time. I could go on and describe the entire day, the next two weeks, and the journey home, but that is for another post, at another time.

Now we are in the present, 10 years after our first meeting. The little baby we met so many years ago has grown, blossomed, and is developing into quite the  young lady. Bright, creative, and independent and still the most amazing gift I have ever been given. Happy “Gotcha Day” my Chinese firecracker.

Birth Parents

China dollIf you’ve been following this blog for any period of time, you know that I am the mother to a beautiful daughter, adopted from China. She will be 9 in less than a month, and she is starting to ask those “difficult” questions. No, not the birds & bees questions, but the birth parent questions. Being that she is from China, we have no idea of who her birth parents are or where they were even from. If you don’t know, China has a very restrictive one child policy and often times the mothers will travel to other provinces to give birth and abandon their babies in order to not get caught.

As her parents, we do know some information about where she was found and who found her. We know of her time spent in the orphanage, the fact that she had a “foster” family there, she was healthy, happy, and liked to be outside. We have medical information, although it’s in Chinese so unless someone can translate it, I can’t tell what it means.

She asked the other day, did anyone know my mom in China? No honey, no one knew her? Well how did I get to the orphanage? Someone, we don’t know if it was a man or woman, brought you there. Maybe it was my mom or dad? No sweetheart, it’s unlikely that it was either one of them. Someday I will tell you the entire story, but not today. Okay. Is it scary? No, it’s just right now isn’t the time to get into all the details. And she left it at that.

I will tell her the truth when it comes time to answer her questions. I have documentation and photos to show her. But I am also scared. Scared of how she will react to being “abandoned”. Left alone, outside, on a sidewalk, only 4 days old. I’m 42 and the thought of that breaks my heart every time. What would a child think?

So to all the adoptive parents out there – have you had to handle these questions? If so, at what age did you have to deal with them? How did you answer? How much did you answer?