No, I didn't know what I was in store for.
A disclosure: Yes, I would have liked to have gone through the childbirth experience, complete with blowing up real good and slapping the hands of strangers who felt the need to touch my belly. And breaking down when well-meaning strangers felt compelled to say things like "my aunt was about as pregnant as you are when she miscarried. Don't eat any turkey - it spoils way too quickly." Although as one of my friends pointed out years ago, I get gassed up to get my teeth cleaned, so actual childbirth might have been traumatic for me. No, neither John nor I felt a loss that we have not passed along our genes. As we say in our house, we come from a long line of alcoholics and horse thieves, not to mention having bad eyes and generous rations of madness passed down from relatives who like to keep things real.
In no particular order, here are comments I've heard over the years:
"You're a saint!!!!" or a variation of something like "with all the kids in the U.S. who need homes, how could you adopt internationally?"
"What will you do if it doesn't work out?"
"I bet you love them just as if they were yours."
"Do you have any children of your own?"
"Why didn't you adopt special needs children? They are the ones who really need homes."
"How much did she cost?"
"Where did you get her?"
"Does she speak Chinese?"
"Will she speak Chinese?"
When standing in line at the grocery store, I am often tempted to get back at all the strangers who have accosted me over the years. I imagine myself pouncing on an unsuspecting woman, standing in line with her child to buy some bread and a roasted chicken because she is too tired to cook after a long day at work. "So, how long did it take for your afterbirth to come out when you had your little boy? Did you eat it? Because I read that Tom Cruise said he was going to eat Suri's placenta and the cord! How gross is that? What are you making for dinner?"
Or "I bet you had to do in-vitro to get your twins. How much did that cost you? And then I bet you had a C-section. Poor thing: your bikini days are over! I've heard that Vitamin E works well on that gigantic scar you must have."
But I refrain, because I was raised better than that. Just like I don't ask questions like "so why did you park in a handicapped spot and then run in here wearing those fuck-me stilletos? Have you no shame?"
One more thing, while I am on my soap box: Please don't call my girls my forever kids - the phrase makes me want to puke. They're just my kids.