Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the ADOPTIVE Mom

We already have a great special guest post about being an adoptive mama and the jackhole things people say from the Mommyland archives.  But we really think that we needed to talk some more about the Domestic Enemies of the Adoptive Mom.  So we were very happy when our friend Mattie Plum sent this to us.


Please don’t get me wrong.  I love being a mama, really I do.  However, there are a few enemies out there that I’d like to shed some light on.  Because that's the part I don't love...

Enemy #1- The Inappropriate Stranger 

Now, I know that I have to take the bad with the good. I often get comments on how cute my kids are. But come on, there are just days when the ridiculous comments outnumber the sweet ones.  I’ve heard that most people are well-intentioned, curious or have no mal-intent, but really?! 

I can’t tell you how many times that an ‘innocent’ person has approached me while my kids are in tow and say things like ‘where are these from?’ or ‘is your husband Filipino?’.  Ummm….  ‘these’?!!??!!  Seriously woman, you had better be talking about these coats that I’m looking at so I don’t have to drop kick you in the face.  I really don’t want to get blood on my new shirt. (Totally J.K. I’m a pretty nice person & usually answer with a large heaping of ‘Uhh.. huh… what?’)  And BTW, my husband is not Chinese, Filipino or any other Asian option; he’s just a plain old white guy. 

Another kicker is ‘are they your real children or are they adopted?’  Hmmmm….so many places to start… so little time.  First of all ‘they’ are standing right next to me.  And they can hear you.  And they are real, not mannequins.  Unless someone else is feeding them, clothing them and loving them to bits, than yes I am the real mom.

This same theory applies to the ‘kids of your own’ portion of ‘do you have kids of your own?’ question.  Just to round out the list I thought I’d include other not so sensitive questions that should be avoided in polite company. ‘How much did she cost?’ ‘Does she know she’s adopted?’ ‘Do you know her real mom’. The real point is that asking personal questions in public is NOT APPROPRIATE!  After years of infertility and waiting to be a mother I am protective of family time and of my sanity at the store. 

Enemy #2- Paperwork
Taxes, pshawww. Bill paying, not even close… Nothing can compare to the often-redundant amount of paperwork that an adoptive mama completes. I’m going to add fingerprints into this category while I’m at it. I mean really… if the U.S. government fingerprints you and says that you are not a criminal, do I really need to be fingerprinted again for the state and local governments too? Did I mention that as an adoptive mama I have to do this almost yearly? Just in case I’ve changed my fingerprints in all of my spare time! Not likely.

If you are afraid of identity theft, adoption paperwork would make you positively manic. Sometimes I feel like that commercial where the man stands next to a truck with the Social Security number written on it… but without that protection plan. I’ve literally filled out hundreds of pieces of paperwork that all start with the directions that should really just read “1. Fill in your social security number here; and 2. Send lots of money”.

But wait; you can’t just write a check. Silly girl - that would be WAY too simple. Because if knowing where you live, having your fingerprints on file and every other piece of personal info is not enough to establish a baseline of trust that my check is good, than what else is? What sort of money will they accept? Well - the answer is a money order. You know, the kind that you have to stand in line behind the umpteen people paying each of their bills by money order at the grocery store? Yup, that kind. Uggh.

Enemy #3: The Weight Limit... or is it The Wait Limit?

We’ve adopted internationally twice.  You know how in the U.S, we complain about having to pay to check our baggage on an airplane? In my childrens’ birth country the weight limit is 44 pounds per piece of luggage.  But wait, it gets better.  You are limited to one piece of luggage per person.  ‘Just paying for an extra bag’ is not an option- not even if you are willing to pay with a trusty money order. We apparently are not flying Southwest airlines. So basically you have to pack a few weeks worth of stuff for you, a beautiful child that you’ve never met and for every possible worst-case scenario.  All in 44 pounds.  Just the copies of our *&*^%#@ paperwork occupies 3 pounds alone.  Sheesh. So much for shoes, kid. They were over the weight limit. We brought you really thick socks.

But, the wait limit is definitely more subjective and infinitely more awful.  It feels like an eternity when you have a picture of a beautiful child half way around the world and you're waiting for them… And they're waiting for you... And every day is a day you should be together and you can't wait to be there and see them and....you guessed it!  Your fingerprints to be approved before you can proceed. By this point, I'm ready to just send them my actual fingers.

Fortunately, at the end of it all, you wind up with the most precious thing in the world - a family.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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