Thursday, January 29, 2009

adoption awkwardness...

You know, as AWESOME as adoption is, sometimes there are just some awkward and uncomfortable moments! I (Amy) know Megan (Caroline's birthmother) has faced them this past year, and every now and then we do, too. I don't think Megan will mind me sharing this one with you guys because Megan & I say all the time how people just do NOT understand the kind of relationship we have and the positive situation surrounding Caroline's adoption. So thought I'd give you guys a snapshot into tonight's awkward conversation at a Wendy's... hope it gives you a chuckle, Megan...

So, we're running low on time before RUF tonight, so we head to Wendy's for a quick meal. Of course, Caroline is smiling at everyone that will even look her way in the restaurant, and ironically, she started waving "hello" to another mom next to us who had obviously adopted her son from another country. (the waving at a stranger was a first! kinda funny!)

Along comes a Wendy's worker (who is obviously a high school age girl) wiping tables nearby and Caroline begins to REALLY put on the charm, showing every last pearly white tooth she has!

Girl: She is SOOO cute!
Me: Thanks.
Girl: She takes after her Mommy.
Me: Yeah.

Now, so far we're good. I'm quite proud of the fact that I have perfected the art of just saying "thank you" or "uh-huh" when people say Caroline looks like me. (mind you, it required much self-control when she was 5 weeks old & people were telling me, "wow-- you look GREAT for just having a baby!" not to just blurt out, "SHE'S ADOPTED!") :) So I've gotten used to the inevitable comments that people will make because they automatically assume she's my biological child. No problem there.

But then the conversation took a turn towards awkward....

Girl: I can't wait until I have my first child.
Me: (oh no, here it comes!) Yeah?
Girl: Yeah. (pause.) How was it for you? I mean, was it hard giving birth?

AAAGGGHHH! NOT the labor & delivery questions!! What do I say?! Seriously- it's not like I've got an hour to sit down with this girl and tell her all the wonders of adoption and how God orchestrated such a beautiful plan for us, for Megan, and for Caroline! So a few options race through my head in the following seconds:

Option #1: LIE THROUGH MY TEETH. Should I just say what it was like from Megan's point of view? I mean, I WAS in the room at Caroline's birth, but I don't want to lie, and this option could potentially lead to more awkward questions about pregnancy that I WOULDN'T be able to answer. (I've had to field FAR too many pregnancy questions in random public places already, and I still don't have a good, easy "comeback" for them yet.)

Option #2: JUST THINK OF SOMETHING TO MUMBLE and get out of there. As I'm packing up Caroline's dishes, bottle, and the millions of napkins we have just gone through to eat a single meal, why can't I just think of SOMETHING quick & easy to divert the question? Like I said, it's not like I need to give a dissertation to the girl wiping up tables at Wendy's, right? So this seems like a great option, but OF COURSE nothing comes to my mind in the awkwardness of the moment, so I revert to my default option by blurting out...

"WELL, SHE'S ADOPTED." (kicking myself as soon as the words leave my mouth, just KNOWING what lies ahead. The adoptive mother that was sitting next to us has since left the restaurant.)
Girl: Oh... (pausing) really?
Me: (smiling awkwardly & packing things up faster) So, I wouldn't be the one to tell you about delivery... but I WAS in the room when she was born.

WHAT, AMY?!? Now, why do I feel the need to say that to this girl?!? Why couldn't I just leave it at the first part and leave the restaurant?!?! Somehow I guess I want everyone to know how unique and amazing our adoption was-- that I've been with Caroline since the beginning, and that her birthmother and I have a great enough relationship that Megan would allow Marc & I to share in that awesome event. But seriously- why the need to say that right now, Amy? :)

(I brace myself.)
Girl: Well, did she scream?
Me: (thinking "what kind of a question is that?!") Who? Caroline or her birthmother?
Girl: the birthmom.
Me: Nope, she was great. Of course she had lots of drugs, so that helped.
Girl: (stops talking, looks down & wipes the table faster with an interesting look on her face. I then realize this girl probably isn't thinking what I was thinking when I said the word "drugs" with all the horrible stereotypes of birthmothers. But she must have figured out what I meant.) Oh, you mean, she had an epidural?
Me: (whew.) Yes.
Girl: Well, when I have my first child, I want to try to have it all natural without anything.
Me: (politely laughing and somewhat skeptical) Good luck!

Okay, conversation's over, right? Right? Nope. As I'm taking Caroline's bib off, putting her coat on, and trying to wipe off her face covered in carrots, banana, and a TON of snot everywhere, the girl continues.

Girl: So how old was her birthmom?
Me: (ugh. here we go.) 21.
Girl: And she didn't want her?

(She did NOT just say that, did she? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! At this point I'm getting upset inside and feeling incredibly defensive for Megan. Again, why do I care what this random teenage girl at Wendy's says, but nevertheless I still want to scream, LISTEN UP, KID. DO YOU EVEN REALIZE THE TERRIBLE, AGONIZING PROCESS THAT MEGAN WENT THROUGH OVER THIS, ULTIMATELY DECIDING TO SACRIFICE HER OWN DESIRES IN ORDER TO GIVE HER DAUGHTER A LIFE THAT SHE COULDN'T PROVIDE FOR HER AT THE TIME?!?!?!?)

Me: (keeping my cool) No, she definitely wanted her. It was heartbreaking for her, but she wanted what was best for her daughter. (There. I said it. Leave Megan alone, alright? I've got a TON of respect for her and the Mama Bear claws will come out if I feel like you are disrespectful.)
Girl: Well, I thought she'd be a teenager. I can't believe she was 21. Did she have other children?
Me: (OKAY, enough questions!!) Yes.
Girl: another girl?
Me: (WHY DOES IT MATTER?) No, a boy.
Girl: Does she (motioning to Caroline) get to visit her?
Me: (yay! Here's my chance to tell this girl how wonderful it all is!) Yes! She lives in Texas, so we go there on holidays and see her whenever we visit my parents in Dallas.
Girl: huh. (her expression shows she is slightly relieved, but still confused.)

Me: (holding Caroline in one arm & my diaper bag on the other arm) Well, have a nice night!
Girl: You, too.
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  1. I think you handled it well. God's activity didn't stop at the adoption. There's a reason in God's providence that you were there and told your story. Nothing is wasted in God's economy.

  2. Ames - I'm sure this will come up many, many times over the years. You are Marc are such instruments of God's purpose. Your grace and passion about this entire experience is such a witness. Tell the truth, and never be afraid to speak of Christ. He will always make His message known. (And I love how you are so protective of is a huge blessing that you are so close to her! There are many people that can't or won't "get it", but that's just the way it is...)

  3. God has a reason and purpose for every encounter we have. He puts people into our lives for us to be a witness. You may not know in this life the reason and purpose for that particular meeting, then again, it sounds like you were able to bring it together and take something out of that chance meeting that was for your good and His glory. Keep glorifying Him.
    Love Ya,
    Nanny & Papa

  4. I know that must have been frustrating and upsetting, and I'm sorry you had to go through it. But we'll never know how what you said could have positively influenced that young woman. Caroline's story is one of great blessings and meaning.

  5. HA! I kept expecting the story to end. Oh man, that's awesome. Awk-ward. You did good.

    Love you.

  6. Ha! Megan will get a kick out of that story. Most likely, she could even top that one!I miss her! I laughed as I thought of you with all the thoughts going through your head! It's always the unexpected conversations that leave an impression. I bet you changed a lot of her stero-typical thoughts on adoption. There is no right or wrong thing to say. Just ride through the moment and do the best you can. You rock as a mom! I'm so proud of you! Love ya! Jill

  7. This may sound a bit strange or corny, but I really appreciate this post because it's a very real, very human post. It gave me a real window to your experience. I've been meaning to ask you what the adoption experience has been like for you. I think you handled the situation with what has always been one of your greatest strengths: your sincerity and ability to be genuine. Never lose that. -- Michael

  8. You did good, Amy! The fact is that people just don't get it. And that's ok...I find myself a little more patient, b/c I didn't used to get it either. Loved the part about "mama bear claws"--that would so be me.
    Meanwhile, I'm praying for a chance to defend my Megan.

  9. Wow, I was feeling the anxiety for you as I read through what you said to her. And of course I was envisioning your are so did really well

  10. I think you handled it very well, just reding it made me want to help you defend Meagan...she is an awesome person and did something most people couldn't do. You all have an awesome story to share. God is good!!