"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Monday, October 22, 2007

Real or not real?


It is a rare occasion when I go out with the kids without someone, somewhere commenting on either all of them, or singling one out. I've come to recognize "the look" right before the questions start popping and the questions are usually the same ones, so I have my pre-set answers prepared. Actually, it's kinda funny because Amanda now knows all the answers by heart, and I've let her answer sometimes....heh. The other day we felt like we were being stalked while walking through Wal-Mart.

A lady with 4 kids of her own, quite obnoxious teenagers I must say, came up to us while I waited at the deli for some chicken wings. She said hi to the kids who were all in shopping carts. The kids, used to being spoken to by strangers now, just looked on. I turned and said, "Someone is saying hello....can you say hi?" They all gave her a sheepish grin and muttered a quiet hello. Funny because when they are not being spoken to, they could be heard 4 aisles down. I digress.

Anyways, the lady says, "Are they siblings?" I said, "yes...they are all mine". She then said, "No, I mean the Chinese ones, are they biological siblings?" I said, "Oh. No, they are not biological siblings." I smiled and turned around waiting for the man behind the counter to finally weigh the wings. She then says, "They look like twins." I said, "Yes, I get asked many times." Then she said. "How old were they when you got them?" By now, I'm almost ready to leave the wings there. "I said, "22 and 26 months". This was followed by her asking, "Have you had them long?" I was so close to saying, "Are you writing a book?" But, I was polite and said, "He's been home for a year and half and she's been home for 4 months." I then turned my entire body around and faced the case where the food was. The woman then turns to Amanda and says, "So, do you like having all these little ones?" Amanda shrugs her shoulders and said, "Yeah, it's ok." Amanda is not too big into the questioning by strangers either. Finally, the wings are handed to me and we bolt out of there, listening to the woman "Bye kids! Bye-Bye.", as we race away from the deli section.

About 10 minutes later, Amanda dragged me to electronics because she wanted to see some MP3 players and lo and behold, who should we find coming behind us, but the woman from the deli. I tried to turn the cart that I was pushing, but Amanda walked straight into her with her cart, which held Anna Grace. The woman then says to Amanda, "My daughter who is 15 wants to know how old you were because she felt bad for you." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Amanda said "13 and smiled". I couldn't think of what to say, so I just laughed and walked away. She then turns to all of the kids and says, "I'm starting to think you all want to go home with me because we keep running into each other." UGH! I again started pushing my cart, and said..."Amanda, come on. We gotta get home." That was enough for us to head straight to the checkout lines.

As I said earlier, although I can't say I'm crazy about it, I tolerate the questions, but I was pretty taken back when I met some moms from Kai's school for breakfast the other morning. There we were, at the table, 5 ladies and Anna Grace and AJ at each side of me in their highchairs. Amanda and Kai were at school.

The small talk began, which of course started with the children and how wonderful it was that we had adopted them, yada....yada...yada. Then I mention something about "Yes, adding 3 kids in 14 months to a household is a big change." All of sudden, one of the mom's said, "I don't know how you even considered adopting while being pregnant." It took me a second to figure out what she was saying. Then I realized that since I've only known this women for a little over 4 months, she must think that AJ is my biological child. I said, "Oh no! He, too, is adopted. We were blessed with him at his birth and he was only 6 days old when we left for China to bring Kai home." With a look of total surprise, she said. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I thought he was your REAL son!" I think I physically used one hand to pull the other up to my jaw to close my mouth. Your sorry? My real son? The only thing I could bring myself to say was, "He IS my real son! You don't have to be sorry."

I know that many times, it's just ignorance that brings people to say stupid things and I usually use the questions to educate others about adoption and how there is absolutely no difference in my feelings for my children, adopted or biological. But sometimes it annoys the bejeezus out of me. My children, are well, my children. Plain and simple. They are all REALLY my children.


Ruth said...

I was just discussing this subject with my dad tonight and how every time I go anywhere I get comments etc!! It can get tiring sometimes. I am sure when we have our AJ home the comments and questions will double!! I like reading how others handle it because it helps me with some answers and ways to handle people that ask questions etc.

Aiden's Mommy said...

Oh, Ohilda! Don't you just love it that everyone thinks that it is okay to question us? The two I get the most are "but don't you want one of your own" and "how did you get a boy" grrr...

Noelle said...

Wow. I've never commented here before, but I enjoy your adventures.:) I have three kids, two bio and one adopted from China, all close in age (ages 4, 5, & 7). I always cringe when the questions start... my 'favorite' was when someone saw that my youngest is Chinese and asked me, "Oh, couldn't you have any more of your own?" What are some people thinking?!?! :)

Becky said...

ooops - I put my comment about this in the dinosaur collage section -

Mom of 5 said...

It is challenging. I hear what you are saying. We have been asked the craziest things-which I don't always answer.
Truth is there is no difference to us.

Charlotte said...


Oh my goodness ! What a great topic we can all tlak about forever. I get the are they siblings all the time ? And the you got a boy ? How'd you get a boy ? Or people call my bio daughter REAL, and I'm like they're all Real and they're all mine !

Wonder if they will notice Rachael is chinese ? Doubt it !

proud mom to one bio daughter, one nsn girl, one sn - cl/cp boy, and one sn - albino girl in 20 days !

The Coleman's A to Z said...

I've enjoyed your journey to Anna Grace. I have twins and \there is a 5 1/2 year age gap from my older one. I get asked if my twins are "natural". :-) No, they're made of polyester!! Lots of fertility drug questions, do twins run in your family and "glad it's not me." Also there are the wonderful comments too. The "you're so blessed and I'd love to have twins...." etc. So it all balances out usually but boy to my hackles come up when the personal questions come fron people I don't even know from Adam.
I think most people mean well but a few are just plain nosey!


Aus said...

Oh we could have a field day with this thread - how about - What's the worst question you've ever been asked? Here's my entry - A lovely young woman seemed to be honestly interested in adoption and was chatting with me shortly after Brianna came to us from Korea. At the end of the conversation she asked me if she could ask a 'personal' question. Sure - why not. The question was "Did your daughter cost you very much?" My response - "Well, the child was free - but the shipping and handling was a real b@#$h!" Sometimes you just have to laugh....Ohilda - continue in a like and similar manner - only the best--Aus (and we are LOA from China yesterday - hope to travel around 11/27!)

N & D said...

I just blogged last week about an incident at the grocery store! People can be so darn nosy, and it gets tiring being polite and educate. I think some people are just ignorant! If I hear one more comment about "real parents" I will just scream!

Barbie said...

Oh, the things we have to put up with! I realized this would happen and, like you, I put up with it and will answer some questions. BUT there are some people who just don't know how to ask the right way or are just asking for who knows what reason! And when I talk to my non-adodptive friends about it, they look at me like I am being too sensitive. Uggh!! It bothers me more now they my children are almost three because they understand so much more.

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