Saturday, October 18, 2014

That's the Dumbest Question I've Ever Heard...

I call myself the queen of the stupid question.  I say this because when I'm learning something new, I often have to have it explained to me two or three times.  And I find it easier to look stupid and say, "Could you tell me that piece just one more time?  I'm just drawing a blank today," than struggle on and on and possibly do something wrong.  But then there are other stupid questions, like the ones I and other birthmothers get.  Sometimes people are well-meaning, sometimes they just don't know, and other times, I'm just not sure what they are thinking or why they are being so judgmental.  Here's a couple examples for your perusal.

"Do you have visitation rights?"

This is one that I heard.  The person was actually trying to be nice.  And granted, that's what happens in a divorce or a custody battle.  And I really had to struggle to not be a jerk.  But I did reply with, "This is not a divorce.  I signed away all rights to my child.  I signed the papers and he's no longer mine; he's theirs."  They looked at me like I had snakes growing out of my ears.  I wasn't sure how I was not being clear or how this didn't make sense.   This was an adoption.  Not a "he'll just stay over there until I get my act together and I can get him back" kind of situation.  This was permanent.  And I've had to spend a good amount of time explaining that, especially it seems to people who are mothers themselves.

"When will they tell them who their "real" parents are?"

Okay, first of all, my son's adoptive parents ARE his real parents.  They have been raising him for the past four years and doing an excellent job of it too.  He calls them Momma and Daddy.  That makes them his parents.  My ex and I are his birthparents.  Very simple.  As for when he will be told, that is a discussion that I've had with them and we are working on it.  With other birthmothers I've heard different stories.  Every kid is different.  Every set of parents is different.  And we all deal with things different ways.  And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  When he knows the whole crazy story is going to be a long way down the line.  Along the way he'll be told he's adopted.  That he was in my tummy.  And that all of us love him very very much.  And for him, this will be his normal.

"Are you sure this is what's good for your kid?"

I beg of you, resist the urge to slap the person who asks you this.  I know it is tempting.  Believe me.  But assault charges are a lot less fun and more expensive.  Now, obviously, this person has never had any experience with adoption and more than likely has bought into the "the family must stay together for the good of the child" kind of myths that we all battle with.  I know that I did the right thing for my child.  Others know this too.  I'm not saying that I don't have doubts.  Every other day I have to remind myself of why and all the reasons that this was the best decision.  But in the end, yes, this was the best thing for my child.  And if they can't see it, then ask them as nicely as you can to keep their opinions to themselves.

(Most often when upset over my child) "Shouldn't you be over this by now?  This was your choice after all."

Again, please resist any and all temptations to do anything other than explain very firmly why this is a situation that will continue to be difficult.  Placing a child for adoption is not something anyone heals over quickly.  And along the way there are more wounds and more things that one misses.  Healing over this takes years, as I've illustrated on this very blog.  And even now there are still bad days for me.  My only suggestion there is to either try to explain this, or relocate and find other friends who have historically shown more tact and understanding when it comes to your situation.

Other choice questions that I collected in writing this were:

"Are the parents afraid you're doing to steal him/her away?"

"Can't you get him/her back one day?"

"Did you get paid for him/her?"

To which the obvious answers are, "No.  No.  And what are you talking about??  NO!"

In the end, some people are well-meaning and don't understand.  Some people just have no tact at all.  And some people just want to push other people's buttons.  I certainly learned that when I was waiting tables.  My best suggestion for every dumb question you get, try to explain as best you can.  If they don't get it, ask them to keep their questions and opinions to themselves and move on.  It isn't fun.  It isn't pleasant.  But it's one of the unfortunate things we have to live with.

Do share your worst questions in the comments or give your best (or craziest) answers to the ones that were listed above.  And I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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