A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Twenty questions

Let me give potential adoptive parents a wee bit of advice.

If you start firing off questions about someone's child while they are finishing off eating dinner...

If the person being questioned starts answering with shorter and shorter answers until the answers are one word long...

You're doing something wrong.

Don't compound it with "I looooove adoption!  I have one of my own, but we want to adopt one, too!"

I felt like I was facing the Spanish Inquisition tonight. 

The dotter and I had just finished her (woohoo!) first ballet class.  OmegaDad is out of town for the night (again).  I decided to take her to our favorite mommy-dotter restaurant, which serves Mexican food, which OmegaDad doesn't like.  We enjoy our cheese crisp and taquitos.  OmegaDotter had shifted to the other side of the booth so she could concentrate on her drawing (nominally a dinosaur, with many, many clawlike hands, which she cheerily told me was going to KILL and EAT us).

Our waitress comes up.  OmegaDotter shows her the picture.  Our waitress sits down.  This is okay, it happens in our town, sometimes it's fun, usually it's just a quick chat.

"Does she take ballet?"  (Dotter was still in her leotards and tights.)

"Yes.  She's just started her first lesson tonight."

"Is she your daughter?"

"Um, yes."

"Is she adopted?"

"Um.  Yes."

"Was it very difficult, very long?"

"Not that difficult, but, yes, very long."

"Where is she from?"

"Did you keep her name?"

"Does she know the language?"

"Are you going to have her learn it?"

I was...taken aback by this interrogation.  It's been a long time since we got anything like it.  Question after question.  One right after another.  I was withdrawing.  I was getting very curt.  I was giving one-word answers. 

I am a wuss--it took me this long to whip out the often-advised, "Why do you want to know?"

At which point, the "I looooove adoption!" came out.

At which point, I gave her a bit of advice about how if she was going to adopt, she'd better realize that her adoptive child is "one of her own", too.

Look.  I loooooove adoption, too.  That's how I came to have my daughter sitting with me at the table, enjoying a relaxing dinner out.  But if ever there was a textbook case of how not to approach an adoptive family, this was it.  It left me feeling extremely uncomfortable.

My own fault.  It's been so long since anyone's intruded like this that I was blindsided.  Now is the time for me to start practicing the "Why do you want to know?" as the very first response.  Check out ChicagoMama's excellently snarky The Question for a good discussion on this whole type of scene.

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posted by Kate @ 8/29/2006 08:31:00 PM  
  • At 8/30/2006 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Julie Pippert said…


    In a reataurant?

    Total stranger?


    Hey at least you are in the Good Column.

    Me? I am apparently a self-centered racist pig for undergoing IF treatment to have my own biological children when there are SO MANY POOR ORPHANS in this country and around the world crying EVERY NIGHT for a mommy and daddy.

  • At 8/30/2006 01:43:00 PM, Blogger T-shaped Girl said…

    So I am curious- how'd the waitress take your advice? And was your daughter unconcernced with the line of questioning?

    Gotta run- gotta go put on my "I heart adoption" shirt before dinner. Heh.

  • At 8/30/2006 02:23:00 PM, Blogger MomEtc. said…

    Some people are so thick it's incredible. We had a dental assistant who came to work in our office one day a few weeks ago. She decided it was ok to ask me WHY I freaking adopted! Like am I supposed to explain to someone I just met that day that I can't give birth...and then answer any of her nosy follow up questions. Ridiculous! Of, course, she kept asking me about having "my own" children some day!!!!

  • At 8/30/2006 07:30:00 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Julie--Oh, yes. Total stranger. And I was in the "good" column for *her*, but have definitely been in the "bad" column from other people, because I didn't help any of the POOR ORPHANS in this country. Win some, lose some.

    T-Shaped--Since my "advice" was rather pointed and a wee tad sharp, I think she was flustered. She also didn't get it at first. Then she exited the conversation. :D

    As for the dotter--this morning, in the car, I asked her how she felt about "the lady asking all the questions about you", in a very neutral way. She said, "It kinda bothered me." Then she went on back to her playing. Time to take it under advisement, I think.

    MomEtc--Get used to it. It comes and goes. This one was...um...particularly "in your face".

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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