Sunday, February 8, 2009

Unsolicited

What does one do with unsolicited advice from well meaning parents (or non-parents—the even bigger paradox)? 

Last week I left a little blurb on Spud’s facebook page that he was yelling at me and wanted to go out and play and I asked for suggestions (for what to do).  I received a response from a woman that I know that has several children that said “let him cry it out now or you’ll be sorry later”.

I was horrified.  Part of me wanted to correct her, but I realized that would be counter-productive so I decided to just let it go.

Today I saw her at church and she asked if I had taken my advice and how it worked out.  I said, “I can’t do that”. 

“Sure you can.  You have to.  I did it with mine,” she responded.

“He’s adopted.  It’s contra-indicated,” I told her quietly.

She looked at me like I was smoking crack.  I re-iterated my position and told her that many orphanage raised children have been forced to “cry it out” since birth and as a result no longer rely on caregivers to care for them.

She thought about it and then told me a heart-breaking story of a friend of hers who had adopted twins from a Russian orphanage and that the children would literally cry tears without making a sound. 

People assume that because Spud is such an outgoing child and never gets upset that he has no ill effects from being in the orphanage.  While they did take very good care of him, as I shared with the woman today, I can see the effects of institutionalization.  Because this is a public blog and my son deserves some bit of privacy I will not divulge that information here, nor will I with casual acquaintances (like the woman this morning).

Yesterday I visited a favorite shop that I rarely go to.  They have pretty little things and native instruments that I thought Spud would enjoy playing with.  As the cashier was ringing up my purchase she asked me, “what is your daughter’s name?” 

I said, “HIS name is ….”. 

“Oh, I just assumed that you adopted a little China girl,” she quickly covered.  “I guess I should have known he was yours.”

Yes, he is mine.  And, no, I don’t think that was the question she was asking.  I never know whether to fake it and let people believe is my biological child or to correct (it’s a little gray for me since we have been so publicly identified as adoptive parent and adoptee).  I do want to educate people on adoption as I have previously state, but at what point am I over-exposing him to the comments and questions from strangers?   

Last week my mom mentioned that my aunt had called after seeing the Today Show.  Before she even had a chance to tell me what she said I told her, “if she ever says a bad word about my son or this adoption, so help me, that is war.  Not only will I verbally attack her until she cries, but she will be lucky if I don’t pop her one too.”  Evidently my sister said something along the same lines “she (our aunt) isn’t just taking on Erica if she says something, she is taking on the whole family.  She better watch it.”

As you may have guessed my aunt isn’t so nice.  I was verbally attacked by her repeatedly growing up and I am sorry to say, I don’t recall anyone ever defending me from her assaults.  I don’t know what it is about me, other than the fact that I probably resemble and have the mannerisms of my mother, that provoked her wrath.  The most hurtful attack was, wait for it…about my skin color.  Can you believe that?  Evidently I am “too white” for our family and was accused of coloring down.  Hellooo????  My g’ma is translucent…of course I’m friggin’ white. 

Fortunately she didn’t have anything good or bad to say, but she wants to have a family reunion.  Can I get a “hell to the no” in here. 

Most people comment that I am calm, like really calm, especially when things get nuts.  While I have always defended my family, my sister especially when we were kids, being a mother has awakened a very protective, very angry mama bear.

My son is adopted.  He is also kind and funny and incredibly smart with a great sense of personality.  He has the most beautiful smile and a giggle that melts my heart every time I hear it.  This is my son.  And I love him from the tips of my hair to the bottom of my toes.    

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7 comments:

kris February 8, 2009 at 6:09 PM  

you go mama.

Heather February 8, 2009 at 6:15 PM  

I think your decision whether to educate, or ignore will be based on many factors, your mood, your son's attentiveness/age at the time, the person you are talking too. My family was awesome when we were in the middle of the process. Now that we are pregnant, my grandma has made a couple of off color comments to the fact of this one being ours, and aren't I glad with how things worked out. It hurts... I tried once to explain that we have every intention to adopt still, but the words are out there. I am thrilled with our present situation, but it doesn't take away the longing for our other child that we are still waiting for. But as for store clerks... ya just can't beat stupid. Pick your battles. LOL

Kelli February 8, 2009 at 7:53 PM  

It was all I could do not to leave a not so nice comment under hers when I saw what she said....

Michelle February 8, 2009 at 11:54 PM  

Can I just say I thoroughly enjoy reading your writing. It's a nice change in blog land. I have no advice. I get dumb comment ALL THE BLEEPING TIME and I've learned to speak up and educate only on my terms. If it's a cashier at wal*art, I ignore it unless my daughter overheard the comment/question. You're an awesome mom and you GET the big picture, which I can appreciate!

MotherMotherOcean February 9, 2009 at 8:28 AM  

It sounds like there are some nutty buddies around you right now. Oye.
My way of coming to terms with this is that I look at my "adoption" as a one day thing. My kid is mine, he is who he is. But the adoption was a day, not a life event.

I like your attitude.

Michelle February 9, 2009 at 4:41 PM  

I think you'll find as things progress that you start to not notice that your child was adopted (in my case I stopped noticing he's even Vietnamese, which might not actually be a good thing, as it leads to my failing to understand the odd glances we get in some circles). You'll also become inured (if you haven't already) to the stupid comments.

PS - hang tough on the no crying it out decision. go with your gut on this (which ever way it takes you).

S. February 11, 2009 at 8:18 PM  

I would bet that the church lady is a babywise/gary ezzo follower. Scary stuff. I actually know of a bio kid who ended up with officially diagnosed RAD due to that CIO approach.

I know I have read your blog before but not for awhile, found it again through Rachel.

Sounds like you are the best mommy your boy could have!

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About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.


But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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