It has become something of a sociological experiment for me to catalog the different responses I get to the "we're adopting" news.
Most people in my life have reacted with a joy, excitement, and curiosity about the process that mirrors my own. But there are other times when a reaction stings a little (or makes me want to reach in and rip the person's heart out, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom style.)
Here are some of my not-so-favorites:
1. Russia? But there are so many American kids who need good homes…?
The implication here is that whenever a person selfishly makes the choice to adopt abroad, a big fat tear rolls down one of said American children’s faces (for dramatic effect the tear should roll down while the child is looking out a rainy window and holding a broken baby doll).
I could list a zillion pros and cons for each way to adopt, but suffice it to say that when it comes time to choose, you just have to go with what feels right to you. It might be adopting from down the street or it might be adopting from the Planet Zorgon. Like many other huge life decisions, you won't know how to cross that bridge until you come to it (on Zorgon though it will most likely be in a hover craft).
Also, I find it interesting that no one uses the, “U.S. kids need homes” comment for pregnant people. As in,"Gee, it's really a shame you're pregnant. Don't you know there are lots of kids who need good homes?' (It's best if this comment is accompanied by a look that says, What the hell is wrong with you, you selfish bastard?)
2. Maybe now that you’re adopting you’ll get pregnant! (Like Charlotte on Sex in the City! Like my best friend’s neighbor’s sister-in-law!)
Taking people at their best, I'm pretty sure this statement comes from a desire to console the prospective adoptive parent who has probably struggled trying to get pregnant and so the adoption announcement might signal a throwing-in-the-towel type moment. But I don't think people realize how insulting this comment is. The implication is that an adopted child is my booby prize but my “real” prize might still be coming and I shouldn’t give up hope just yet.
I used to think that deciding to adopt must feel like the walk of the infertility losers. That starting the process would feel like defeat. The shocking thing is...it doesn't. At least not for me. I am filled with a hope and love that had started to deflate after years of infertility struggle. I feel refreshed, not defeated. For three years we’ve been hoping for a child. We have not given up hope for that.
3. I’ll have a baby for you!
Super! I'll have my doctor contact you so we can start the Invitro process. I hope you're okay with very large needles, copious amounts of hormones and LOTS of different people peering into your love hole...and then of course the blessed pregnancy and childbirth (which I've heard is a breeze), thanks for offering to do it for me!... How's next month for you to get started?
Oh, I see....you didn't mean that you'd really do it...
4. Have you tried/considered/looked into/heard about…?
Yes. I have.
BONUS: This is a comment I only got once, but it's a real winner.
Receptionist: How old will the baby be when you get it?
Me: I don’t know. A year? Two years?
Receptionist: Oh...well it’s the best when you can be there from day one. It’s the most amazing thing in the world.
Fantasy response #1: “Well, it’s the most amazing thing to have a million dollars too, but I don’t. I've still managed to lead a happy life though, amazing isn't it?”
Fantasy response #2: “Yeah, I’ve cried many, many nights over that, but thanks for reminding me I’m going to miss out on the first year of my kid’s life. I hope you have a nice day.”
Real response: “….”