An example of what I mean is the time when we were walking through the mall, all three of us hand in hand, a woman asked if Abigail was our grandchild. She couldn't figure out in her head how two white people ended up with a black child. But seriously, we were 28 and 30 at the time. And neither of us looks old. I get mistaken for 16 regularly. My husband has a full head of hair, and is pretty trim and fit. We definitely do not seem old enough to be grandparents. The woman just didn't know how to phrase the question so she said something ridiculous instead.
We also have a set of friends who have a biological daughter who is white and a son who is black. They are a little over two years apart in age. Someone asked this family if their children were twins. I promise you that there is no way that they could possibly be mistaken for twins. It's one of those moments where you walk away and just choose to laugh about it.
So this past week Abigail and I were at the store together. The woman who was running the register had this conversations with me.
cashier: 'how old is she?' me: 'she will be three in september.' c: 'she's really little. i guess you are petite too. are you her mom?' m: yes, but she didn't get her smallness from me. she's adopted.' c: 'she's adopted? you can't tell.'
I posted this on facebook because it was one of those awkward moments that made me laugh, and I thought I would share it. At the end of the post I wrote, 'that's right friends, abigail looks just like me?!?!' I wasn't really angry with the cashier. I was annoyed that after I shared that she was adopted that she felt like she needed to smooth things over with, 'you can't tell.' But mostly it was meant to be a good laugh.
I ended up getting lots of people letting me know that people could assume she's biracial since Jason wasn't with me that she could be my biological daughter. And then I get the messages about how people have adopted, or know people who have adopted who's kids look like them. I get all that. I really do. And daily I see Abigail do things, hear her say things, or hear an inflection in her voice that is Jason or I. I'm not trying to debate the nature or nurture thing. Heck there was a family I used to babysit for that I didn't realize their son was adopted because he looked so much like his dad.
But come on people. I am a very light skinned, blue eyed, straight, light brown hair, narrow faced young lady. And Abigail is a dark skinned, extremely kinky, black hair, round face, brown eyed (one of my favorite features of hers) little girl. To be quite honest, I don't feel like she could even pass for biracial. But beyond that, there is not one feature that we share in common. I'm fine with that. I don't need my daughter to look just like me. I think she is the most beautiful little being I've ever seen.
And when I get all those people who defend the cashier I want to tell them that they aren't helping people to see why adoption is beautiful. It's different than biological, not a sad secret to try to sweep under the rug or blend until it's all smooth and could pass as biological. Part of the reason some people have such a hard time accepting adoption is because they want some family trait passed on, or they believe that an adopted child doesn't truly share in the inheritance the way a biological one would. My real 'problem' with what the woman said was that it was obvious that she was trying to make me feel better that I had adopted. Obviously adoption is a last ditch effort, to be pitied, because someone 'can't have children of their own.' Amiright?
That is not the case with us. No, we haven't gotten pregnant. But frankly, at this point in the game, I'm fine if we never do. I'm so excited about getting to adopt again. Giving birth is not what qualifies someone as a real parent. Biological is different than adopted. Not better, not worse, just different. I don't need, my family being formed different than someone else's, to be washed over so that we can pretend it's all the same.
While our family of three may have been formed through adoption, my daughter is still my own. I have held her in the middle of the night. I have been to more doctors appointments than I can count. I have read books, sung songs, danced, gotten angry, and most of all fallen completely head over heals in love with the little girl whom I was chosen to parent.
Yes, you can tell my daughter is adopted. Adoption is one of the many things that I really love about our family. And if you ask her she can tell you all about her tummy mommy, Miss Rebecca (our lawyer for the adoption), Judge Feick (who finalized it), and how Mama and Papa, 'dopted you.' Adoption is not a point of contention for us. It is what God did for us so we could be called sons and daughters and share in the inheritance with Christ. And it is what took our family of two and made it a family of three. And for that we are glad.
Abigail and Mama reading a book together...and not looking alike.