Sandra Bullock recently adopted a baby -- and he's black!! Is she doing it for good PR? And that Angelina Jolie, with all her tattoos and drinking Billy Bob's blood straight from big buckets and French kissing her brother -- what's up with her adopting all those kids? Let's all take sides, praising or belittling their choices. Because we can. And thanks to the beauty of the Internet, our comments are out there for all to see.
Dad with girls who have inexplicably morphed into teens.
The number of rude, intrusive questions I've gotten about our adoptions are truly mind-boggling, including why we adopted from China when there are so many kids needing home in the US and what we'd do if it didn't work out (FedEx). A woman who worked in a grocery store asked me that last question when my youngest was six months old, cooing happily in my arms as I showed her off. When she was was in day care at nine months old, her caregiver seemed to adore her but also seemed anxious when I dropped her off. I hesitated saying anything, but one morning I gently broke it to her that that my kid was just like all the other babies, and she blurted out "But I don't speak no Chinese!" I assured her that aside from knowing how to ask for more beer and where the bathroom was in Spanish, I spoke only English and that my baby didn't either; all she did was drool and make raspberries. She wasn't even good at math yet. One parent of an internationally adopted child got so tired of a certain question that she wrote a book about it called Are Those Kids Yours?
On the other side of the aisle were people who declared me a saint for doing such a selfless thing. I am too well bred to reply what I wanted to: "Yeah, your husband is obviously a saint for marrying you." As I am also too well bred to ask women whether they had vaginal births or C-sections, and if the sex was good on that magical night, and whether they are living beyond their means and whether their boobs are real. I wonder about those things, but I don't ask because it's none of my business.
In the mid 1990's, I was on a listserv for those wanting to adopt from China. Among the rants: people who condemned those of us who wanted to adopt a healthy infant because we should do the honorable thing and adopt a special needs baby -- we were selfish swine - and a truly delicious and hilarious fight that broke out when rumor surfaced that Kathy Lee was going to adopt a baby. I wish I'd saved them -- they ran along the lines of "She's a pathetic loser!!!! She shouldn't be allowed to adopt! Have you HEARD her sing?" followed by "YOU'RE the loser - I pity any pets you might have! I pity the mosquito who bites you because your blood is so putrid! Kathy Lee is a wonderful entertainer and a great human being." Others weighed in about how foreigners shouldn't be adopting children at all because we were stealing their cultures and ruining their lives. Some proclaimed that only a scumbag narcissist might want to adopt a child who physically resembled her, and endless discussions ensued about what to do if said mother wanted to horn in on groups of moms who adopted internationally. "How dare she! She just doesn't belong in our group!!!"
I read an article some years ago ago - I think it was when Meg Ryan adopted her daughter from China - about how both celebrities and the unwashed masses were adopting Chinese babies as accessories -- like it was the cool thing to do. I had no doubts about how cool we were - HELLO - but this was icing on the cake, as as we happened to have two such accessories at home. Who will read this and be really pissed that I call them accessories, although how does the mother of a teenager tell whether said teen is angry or happy?
It's Mother's Day. Be kind to mothers of all flavors. Our kids might not look like us and you might not approve of our choices, but please give us the benefit of the doubt that we brought our children into our lives for one simple reason: we wanted kids to raise. I would add that my family is as normal as yours, but my fans (and kids) wouldn't believe that for a minute.