We got a bunch of new photos this week of Davy. We are so thrilled and in love with our daughter. We have been sharing the news with EVERYONE. I mean EVERYONE. Does the checkout person at Target really need to see photos of Davy? I think she does. The guy at the gas station? Yup. Uh huh. By all accounts people have been really lovely. Since Davy Beach IS the worlds cutest child- it’s a little hard not to fall completely in love with her. The Ethiopian government won’t let us post photo of her on our blog of Facebook until she is home- but let me just say- HOLY CRAP is she a beauty. WAY cuter then if Andy and I made a kid on our own. She has the hugest eyes on the planet, the sweetest little round month, glorious lips (coming from her mother who has no lips) and maybe my favorite- a tiny pointy chin. I can’t wait to gobble that chinny chin chin up.
So yeah, we are in love and feeling happy. People don’t always know the right way to react to photos of our daughter. For the record, adoption language is nuanced. I was recently with a group of adoptive mothers and they kept using the term “bio kid”. I love that term and would NEVER had even thought of it until a few years ago. So I don’t really expect people to always use the right lingo. It’s hard, it really is a new language.
That said, some people have said some really amazingly politically incorrect things. Yes, I am Davy’s “Real Mother”. Yup, she really also is Ethiopian. And we will raise her in America. Nope her birth parents didn’t “just give her away”. Some people say really really dumb things. I think its good practice for when they say dumb things in front of us and her. My first attack is to try to figure out if folks are saying it because they don’t know any better or if it’s because they are a little mean spirited. Mostly people are just don’t know better. But some people are also assholes.
There has been a lot of questions regarding her birth story. We aren’t really talking about it. It’s her story, not ours to tell. And we will tell it to her from the first day she comes home and for the rest of her life. A woman asked if I knew her birth story I said “yes”. She said “What is it?” I said “We aren’t going to tell,it’s for her to tell not us.”. She then got frustrated and told me it would be easier if I just lied about it and said I didn’t know. I am really not a liar, but I thought maybe she had a point. Some people get it when I tell them that I won’t tell them- some are assholes about it. Again, for me its about figuring out the intent of the question not just the question.
So today I showed someone a photo of Davy and she said “I can’t believe her parents just left her.” I didn’t like that response. I didn’t like her assumption. She pissed me off. I didn’t even think she deserved the “We know the story but aren’t going to tell you it.” line. You know what I did? I shrugged and moved on. And you know what? She actually got the point that I wasn’t going to talk about it. It did shut her up- quicker then if I gave her an ounce of info. She was fishing and I wasn’t taking the bate. Am I proud of this? No, not really. Am I trying different things out? Yeah. Did I like that one? Didn’t quite feel right. Does everyone get a lengthy explanation of Davy’s life story? Nope. If Davy was in my arms would I have done the same? Maybe, maybe not. There is a difference between getting pissed off and shrugging it off. I sometimes thing shrugging it off and having a thicker skin to this stuff might be the best plan of attack. I dunno. I would love to hear from other adoptive parents about how they deal with it- without getting into it. I am happy to get into it sometimes, but sometimes I want the short shrug response. It would be helpful (for both of you who read this blog) to give me snappy suggestions.
Another thing that gets me is when people say “how lucky she is.” I know what they are really saying is “You and Andy are going to be great and fun parents”. I know its just a way of complimenting us and giving us good wishes. It’s hard to just say “Thank you” though. I have been saying “Actually we are the really lucky ones” and leaving it at that.
Luck is a funny thing. My father loves the phrase the “Weisman Luck” which is the series of random events that enabled our family to remain intact and escape the Nazis. THAT is luck. Is it lucky that Andy and I couldn’t have our own bio kids? Is it lucky that Davy has to live so far away from her home and country? If Davy turns out to be mediocre in Math (or something) do we think “damn we are sooooo unlucky”. I don’t think so. I feel profoundly thankful and grateful that we get the honor of raising this beautiful and amazing child (who may or may not be good at math). I feel happy and proud of myself and Andy for taking the road that has lead us to her.
I think with adoption (and so many other things) the answer is always a lot more complicated then the question.
The photo is of Davy’s first hand knit sweater. It’s really cute but will be even cuter with our wee girl in it.
2 thoughts on “Adults Say the Darndest Things”
Great post. I’m not sure either what the right response is to those questions, but if you do what you feel is best then that’s got to be it!
that little sweater is amazing. and me too; i can’t wait till your girl is in it!
ps wish i shopped at your target so i could see those beautiful photos. 🙂