adoption · family · transracial adoption

Meeting New People

Lately I am awful at meeting new people. MOPS has been excruciating for me because of this. I know two women in the group really well; neither of them are at my table. I did know one woman at my table before we began, but only in passing. So I sit at a table of 8 women (I think – I’m not sure there’s been a week when we’ve all actually been there) and I have to make small talk before the meeting begins.

Death. Terror. Pain.

Put me in front of the whole group and I’ve got zero problems talking. But one on one? Petrified.

During the first meeting, I introduced myself to the girl next to me and told her I’m not good at small talk. She said she isn’t either, she prefers listening. Me too. So we sat there in companionable silence, listening to all the women around us.

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a transracial family play group. My husband was hunting, so it was just me and my little man. I thought about asking my mom to go, but what 35 year old woman takes her mommy somewhere because she’s nervous? So I dress the little man and myself and we head to the library.

There were three families at the play group. Three mommies, two daddies (Keith was hunting, remember) and four wonderfully gorgeous little boys. The boys were immediately taken with each other, playing trains and such (and by playing, I mean grabbing toys from one another, slobbering all over the object and then trading). Everyone was nice, everyone was friendly, everyone had three things in common: transracial adoption, the same social worker, and our agencies.

While I was attempting to make small talk with the other two mommies, it dawned on my why I have a hard time meeting new people these days.

Because I don’t want to answer questions about Little Man’s adoption.

I don’t want to tell you our story. I don’t want you to ask me inappropriate questions and force me to come up with non-sarcastic answers. I don’t want to evade questions about his birth mother. I don’t want to discuss this with you.

At MOPS yesterday I got this question: “When did you get him?”

Get him? Like my son is a puppy or an object or a thing.

He’s a human being. You don’t “get” a human being.

I said, “He was born January 11.”

She said, “But when did you get him?”

Oh. My. Word.

Seriously??????

I said, “He was born January 11 and we left the hospital with him on the 12th.”

But here’s the thing…I don’t really care to tell people that (ironic, I realize, as I post this on the web for who knows who to read and criticize). I don’t want to tell people, because our story is so special to me. It is a wonderful thing, and I don’t want to share. (Again, I recognize the irony, because you can read all about our story on this very blog. But somehow, that is different. Don’t ask me how; I’m not sure I can articulate the difference effectively).

I just want us to be a family. And I realize that we are a family, but I also realize we are a very visible family. First, I have the cutest son on planet Earth, and I cannot go anywhere without someone commenting on how adorable he is. And if it’s just the two of us, no big deal. People don’t usually stare without making a complimentary comment about Little Man.

But if it’s the three of us…or just me and the little man in a place where our family is already known (aka church), then…it’s just rude. People stare and ask questions that I don’t want to answer.

I hope this is just a phase for me. I don’t want to always not want to meet new people. I don’t want to always want to evade and avoid. We certainly knew what we were getting into when we chose transracial adoption. We knew people would stare and ask ignorant (or rude) questions. But right now? I don’t want to share our story. I don’t want to share my son. I just want to revel in the still new emotions I have of being a mother. I want people to fall in love with my son because of who he is, not because of what our family is.

And I don’t want to be rude…but lately, I do want to be left alone. Maybe this, too, will pass?

7 thoughts on “Meeting New People

  1. It's such a personal thing, isn't it? I know exactly how you feel, but in a different way. We are hispanic and our daughter is very white 🙂 she does have brown eyes but she has light hair and light skin and we get questions all the time. The difference is, people never assume she is adopted, they just question where her coloring comes from. Sometimes I just laugh it away, sometimes I explain that we adopted her, it kinda depends on my mood. And she is FIVE! I don't know how long this will go on, our whole life?!? I hope not…just wanted you to know, it gets easier and better, but I can't say that it truly goes away 🙂

    Like

  2. I hear that question ALL the time too–“when did you get him??”. Is domestic infant adoption that uncommon in our society that people have to ask that all the time. I usually just say at birth and then everyone goes “WOW!!”. Strange, just strange.

    I understand your privacy and difficulty in sharing. I don't have as much of a hard time because I guess I just want people to know what an amazing story of life it is. I want his life to touch people and open their eyes to adoption and openess in adoption. BUT, I usually share when I actually get to know someone, not just in chit-chatty small talk.

    We were at a banquet recently and the whole table began to talk about abortion and life and basically talked about our situation. My husband and I just sat there and listen and didn't join in. Later we laughed about how shocked they would've been if we would have told them our story, but that it was just nice to listen and observe and not have to share our story. Okay I'm totally hogging your comments….

    Like

  3. I always wonder if things like that are OK to ask. And how to phrase it so it doesn't sound like, “Is he yours?” So I just don't ask.

    I'm sorry MOPS is excruciating for you. 😦 I love you!

    Like

  4. We aren't nearly as visible, so we have a lot more control over when and how we share. But, I definitely go through stages where I want to share less. The difference, for me, between sharing in the blog format and sharing in person is that we can control how and when to share and in order for people to ask ?, they have to think, then type, which often filters out the insensitive ones.
    I have also found that unless the adoptive parents are involved in the online community, they aren't necessarily any more sensitive. That's really upsetting but also makes me very thankful for the community we have!

    Like

  5. so crazy what we're getting so far– some if it's just me and M “he must get his eyes from his daddy” but then another was bashing non-breastfeeders to me and my hubs together w/ M…hmmm…

    and I sit at my MOPS table where we all have kids but somehow so much of the convo revolves around pregnancy vs the children and wonder when someone is gonna ask about my pregancy… awkward alert!

    Like

  6. I've so been there! People, especially strangers, ask the most stupid and rude questions. One women at an amusement park asked me if he was a foster baby because it was AA. I just looked at her and said, “No…” and I walked away quickly. Blahhh!!! Your story and your child's story is unique and if you want to keep it close, there is nothing wrong with that…it's a beautiful treasure for your family!

    Like

  7. Haha! I took his parents and my mom to a BBQ/hayride last year because I didn't want to go alone. But I knew it would be good for them to see families like us.

    I'm sure we all know the difference as we blog for similar reasons. So no worries, you'd not alone on sharing on the blog and not wanting to in person.

    People at your church are asking the questions?

    I think it is a phase that all us AP's go through. We get tired of the questions and we went through the whole process of adopting and then the questions while we waited. Etc. That now that we are a family of 3 (or more) we just want to be left alone for awhile.

    I know that your post is the very reason why I haven't been comfortable at the moms group I've been at, but almost for the reverse reasons. They don't know us and don't want to ask because they assume I am married to a black man. Now one of them knows, so I hope it starts to come out. I'd welcome the questions at this point so I can be a part of the group.

    I do think it will pass though but only because as he gets older people will continue to stare but ask less questions.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s