Whose son is he?

Being a stay at home mum, I’m used to being the primary person responsible for moving my son around the world.  I’m the one who takes him to preschool, dog walks, errands and all those community programs during the summer. He’s grown up visiting my mother in the home and everyone there knows him. I’ve dropped him with my agent’s receptionist to watch a movie while I put an audition on tape or run next door to audition.  I talk to the teachers, the mothers, the kids, and random strangers.  My son and I share the same skin colour, so people don’t doubt the biological connection part.  It doesn’t get awkward until the inevitable conversations about labour & delivery stories and things like that.  My husband however spends a great deal of time with him when I have to work or go to Buddhist activities.  So in the past he’s been approached by some random guy who wanted to know where he got him (cause he had one too apparently), or a friend’s dad asked us how old our son was and how long we’d been married…..mmmm, what a puzzle.  He often complains to me that when we are together that people think he’s just mine, that some guy knocked me up and he’s the sucker that’s raising him.  I can tell this really bothers him. He’s contradictory though.  One one hand, he says he doesn’t give a crap what people think of him, and yet his behaviour dictates otherwise. We went to a parent/teacher meeting at Boo’s preschool last night.  I was surprised that hubby even wanted to go.

I always suggest he bring Boo to school with me when he’s able so that the new teachers can meet him so his appearance at a later date is not turned into one of those “Oh, you’re his father?” moments.  I just say this is Boo’s dad.  end of story.  I don’t announce to teachers that Boo is adopted, I don’t preface any introductions of him.  He’s my son period.  This town is full of transracially adopted children, so I shouldn’t have to explain that to teachers.  If I have to clarify anything later, I do.  His dad gets irritated when he gets “the look”.   Maybe it’s a racial thing, because I’ve gotten “the look” all my life when I show up in person after I’ve talked to someone on the phone. I’m used to people making assumptions and I barrel right through.   Within our inner circle, it’s a subject that never comes up.

The teachers wanted to let us know about their teaching philosophy and of course, find volunteers to come in and do entertain  the kids. (As if that’s not what I do every single day.)  A Persian woman says to me, that’s your son? as Boo plays with a girl at the sand table.  I corrected her and said, yes, that’s OUR son.  Afterwards, hubby griped that everyone thinks Boo is just “my” son and not “his”.  I’m not sure what to say to him.  He is a devoted father who truly plays and enjoys spending time with his son.  From the beginning, he has changed diapers and gotten up in the middle of the night to feed him, carried him on his shoulders, plays hide and seek and cars for hours with him.  He’s fussed over him when he’s sick and bathes him most of the time.  He cuts his hair and double checks his carseat.  I’ve watched him talk about Boo with tears of gratitude in his eyes.

Truly, I think it’s the whole notion that this incredible son is ADOPTED and he wishes he did not have that layer of complexity to deal with.  He’s often said he would not give up Boo so he could just have a biological son.  He says all the right things about adoption and Boos’ birthmother, but he’s only comfortable hearing from her once in a blue moon – and just through me.  He used to try to control how I communicated with her, but has since learned the error of his ways.  Ahem.  I know he’s about to become even more irritated as he is now getting involved in Boo’s extracurricular sports activities.  He’s going to be an assistant soccer coach.  Really, I’m snickering over here. He’s never volunteered for anything on an organized level.  I always have to nag him to attend even a picnic with my Buddhist friends (which really is JUST a friggin’ picnic.)   I’ve been at him for YEARS to volunteer his time with children’s soccer programs.  Of course, when his buddy decided to enroll his sons in soccer and get involved, he wanted to get his kid registered as well.  He used to play soccer at a national and pro level when he was younger.  So you know he knows soccer on an INTIMATE level.  Except he was coached as a young person to WIN, not to have FUN.   I can hardly wait til he enters that sports as FUN world.  I’m all for it.  He’s going to be meeting a ton of people who don’t know him or will make assumptions about his relationship with Boo.  He always says he can get along with anybody.  That’s true.

This should be interesting.

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4 thoughts on “Whose son is he?

  1. Great post. I often wonder what it’s like for you guys. People are very used to white parents with transracially adopted children but it gets complicated when it’s not quite so obvious. With my husband, people look at him (dark skin but asian features), then at our son (dark skin, small Afro), and a quizzical look appears … With me and our soon alone, it’s an “oh must be adopted,” which is some ways is easier… I have an Indian mom friend with white husband, black child and a bio child and whoa … society gets confused! I find once you get into something, sport, class, whatever, people are curious at first and then it’s just business as usual. Sidenote: Love to see you guys sometime and I have an ignorant white person question to ask you … ((curious??!!)) … LOL.

  2. It sounds really hard for your husband because of the differences. Maybe it’s just taking him longer to get comfortable(?) with presenting himself as Boo’s dad. (I mean when it comes to being conspicuous in public) He better though!

  3. That’s tough. I can remember being with my girlfriend at a big reunion in the (small, complete white unless you happened to have some native blood in you…) town where we both grew up, about 20 years ago… she & her dh had just adopted a little girl. The bio mom was blond & Polish & the dad was Kenyan. I remember people exclaiming, “I didn’t know you were pregnant!” & then staring at the baby with her dark skin & saying, “She doesn’t look much like you, does she?… does she look like her dad?” My friend did finally tell one person she was adopted but mostly left the questions hanging. 😉

    I had to chuckle at your last few paragraphs… I think it will be good for your dh to get more involved in stuff with your son & have to navigate some of these things for himself. Why should women be the only ones?

    • Actually he said to me the other day it seemed that it was mostly women who took their sons to soccer. My guess is that the guys don’t really consider running around a gym all that interesting. DH insisted on getting Boo a soccer bag. Apparently the yellow tote I had been using all summer was not sufficient.

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