Over the course of Boo’s first school year, I’ve met a few really nice mums because our sons play together. We don’t really socialize other than at play dates because they have other children to attend to. In fact, I’m the only one that just has one child. Other than one woman, whom I had told our adoption story to last year during preschool, no one knows our son is adopted. Being a biracial couple often confuses people when they see Boo with us. Or if his dad comes to pick him up and he is asked, “Oh, who is your child?” “That little guy there.” “Oh.” Most people assume that I had Boo with someone else. We are the same colour and we do look similar so I can understand the assumption but I amuse myself by never explaining. If they really want to know, I figure they’ll just ask. It’s not a secret but I hate just answering just to satisfy idle curiosity. Women are rarely direct, though, don’t you think?
We talk about our sons, what they like to eat or how they are behaving, school stuff, and adoption is simply not relevant in these playground conversations. There is only one woman I’ve met who adopted her younger child (and we had a great conversation last year about it) but at a certain point, it’s more about parenting on a daily basis that is more relevant.
With one young mum in particular, we chat a lot and though she’s asked about how long I’ve been married or how I met my husband, she’s never asked about pregnancy or delivery stories (thank god), and I’ve never told her how he came into our lives. But every now and then I get a indirect question and I just laugh to myself and answer vaguely. Though to be fair, I have never been in the habit of asking people about their birth stories or family planning so I’m not about to start swapping stories about that.
Even the kindergarten teacher keeps saying how calm Boo is in class and where does he get that from? Huh? Neither one of us registers as “calm” people, I guess. Frankly, both my husband and I are chatty and animated people. I just tell her that that’s his nature. Then the other day she commented on how great I look and that I’ve slimmed down and she tells me she used to be 50 lighter and she’s looking forward to summer break and being more active again. Oh, and did I have trouble losing weight after pregnancy? So I just said no, I was never pregnant, Boo was adopted. Okay, nosey, now you know. The fact that he was adopted is not relevant to his kindergarten education. You were just curious as to why he had a white dad.
Now speaking of people who want to know about adoption but for a damn good reason, I went to the doctor’s a few weeks ago cause I got so sick with a cold and I started coughing again and wanted to get an antibiotic. My doctor then tells me that getting pregnant is not working out for her and she wants to know about adoption, specifically which lawyer to deal with. Wow! You could have knocked me over with a feather! In the decade I’ve been going to see her, she has not divulged one personal tidbit about herself. Of course, she knows all my shit. So I was happy to give her a name of a lawyer in South Carolina that a lot of Canadians use. It didn’t work out for us because we had a lawyer out of LA matched us first, but this guy is experienced dealing with the Hague Convention rules.* I let her know that it’s a whole other ballgame, it does require a big shift in mental attitude and a ton of paperwork. There were many things I wish I had known before I went down that road and if she ever wanted to talk, she could call me. I doubt she will, I don’t think that as her patient, she she’s seen me at my best (crying, miserable,desperately neurotic and in need of medication), but if you really want to know how an asylum works, do you ask the crazy person or the doctor? Just saying.
I remember when I first brought Boo in and her remarking how healthy he was. She just oohed and ahhed over him and she becomes so animated when she sees him. It was obvious she liked children and I thought one day soon, I’m going to be seeing her belly grow big. I like my doctor but she always seemed so preternaturally composed; always thought she was medicated. She’s the kind of doctor that doesn’t believe in alternative medicine and I would hesitate to discuss any of those things with her in case she gave me the fish eye. Did she ever try to the herbal concoctions, acupuncture, did she ever suck on pineapple to help with implantation? I wonder if she had had those moments of crushing disappointment after a full court press of IVF and a bucket full of used needles. Did she ever skip baby showers or fake a smile through someone’s pregnancy announcement? Or did she just calmly go through a year of negative cycles and then not being determined to experience pregnancy, just shift to adoption as the next logical step? Who knows, maybe she’ll just turn up preggers. I doubt I’ll ever know, but that’s okay. I don’t need to know her business, I just let her know I could offer her my experiences as a guide.
*Adopting a child from a Hague Adoption Convention (Convention) country differs in key ways from adopting from a non-Convention country. For more info, please Google.