I have been feeling a little fragile this week. Andy was away all week for work and the emotional exhaustion of the day of a million emotions took me a while to recover from. I love the space when Andy is away, but this week I could have used his presence.
Something happened this week that infuriated me beyond belief and I really need to write about it. I was at one of my temp jobs, somebody asked me about the adoption and I said “oh we got new photos wanna see?” She took a cursorily glance and said “that’s a much better photo then the last one you showed me”. She didn’t say it in a funny nice way, she said it in a shitty way.
I am not looking for compliments of how beautiful my daughter is. She is a beauty, I know it. As her mother (adopted or not) it is in our DNA to think our kids are the most wonderful or adorable.
What hurt the most was the insensitivity towards the adoption process. As adopted families we have to “take what we can get” in terms of photos. Andy and I are photographers. Every aspect of our lives is posted on Facebook or Twitter. Its so frustrating that in the 115 days our daughter has been on the planet that we only have 10 photos of her. And you want to know a secret about these photos? They aren’t great. They aren’t photos of Davy in the loving arms of her nanny. They aren’t photos of Davy in a baby bjorn at museums, parks, with the dogs or at happy hour. They aren’t photos of Davy hanging out with me and Andy (the two most happiest and appreciative parents on the planet). They are photos of Davy, on a bed, in ill fitting clothing. In some of the photos she looks serene, in some she looks a little scared and in some (my favorite of coarse) she looks kind of pissed off. We can see she is beautiful, we can see she is healthy. If you look closely you can see her personality.
As adoptive parents, we learn to look beyond the baby mugshot and see into the souls of our kids. We have no choice. We have no photo of Davy smiling. We know our girl is super smily. Our friend witnessed it when she saw her, the reports say she is smiley. Of coarse she is, she is MY daughter. Davy’s next-crib-neighbor is the daughter of a good friend. She has the only photo of a laughing baby i have ever seen in this process. We keep saying Sophia is smiling because Davy is so funny and cracking her up. I don’t know if its true, but the thoughts of that make me irrationally happy. We suspect that Davy has Andy’s very very dry and sly sense of humor.
When this event happened, I vented my frustration on Facebook. I had lots of comments like “fuck that she’s a beauty”. I appreciate the comments and the support (lord knows I need it) but my friend Sally said what I couldn’t articulate. She said “Babies born into privilege get used to cameras from day one. When our best friends adopted, they only got photos when they mailed a disposable camera to the country he is from. And then the photos were always of a very wide-eyed, surprised looking little one. I think he was terrified of the flash. I for one, can’t wait to see her surprised sweet face!!!”
I did confront the woman who said the awful thing about Davy’s photo. She of coarse felt bad. It made her feel bad because she got caught being a asshole. (good fuck her). I don’t entirely think she “got it” but it felt good to defend my daughter. Maybe I am a tiger momma, I know I am certainly a little pit bull.
The point is, we can’t wait for Davy to come home. We can’t wait to post photos of her with spaghetti all over her face, playing with the dogs, in the arms of her grandparents. But right now, we will take these photos of a bewildered beautiful little girl. We will love them because we know we will love her and it proof that somewhere on the other side of the planet our little girl is waiting for us to bring her home.