'You don't tell your friends at daycare you have two dads?' 'No!' I had no idea how to respond. Ever since our kids were born, we've tried to help them understand and be proud of the fact that their family looks a bit different than others.
My experience with being a transnational, transracial adoptee, for example, is not uncommon, especially among Asian American adoptees from China and Korea. For several summers during my childhood I attended Culture Camp (also Heritage Camp) for Asian adoptees.
You forget what the first two stages of grief are and decide to land squarely in stage three: bargaining. You'll buy him a new toothbrush. A candy bar. A pony. Whatever he wants, if for the love of God he stops throwing up now. This instant. Immediately.
My husband and I are ready to be dads. I've done some writing in the past that talked about our aching "brovaries," as one fellow Gays With Kids writer called them. And in the nine months of gestation that my brain has done since releasing that piece, we have decided to take the plunge.
Many of us have dreamt for decades of having children and when the time to start trying finally comes, it is exciting! Until it isn't. And it isn't, because it isn't happening.
While the motivations may be different, the questions all make the same assumption -- that every child needs a father and a mother in order to be healthy and happy.
The thing is, I can say with great certainty that if Archie had been a typical child, she would not have even looked twice. In fact, she may have even thought, too bad, punk. But because Archie has Down syndrome, in her mind, he needed to be let off the hook. Um, no.
This list is not to discourage you from adopting. Rather it's here to help you become aware of what your adopted children may experience. Use it to help you prepare for their homecoming, and you and your children will be able to have an easier adjustment to your new family.
However we respond to these types of questions, from children or adults, whether innocent or malicious, the one thing we need to keep in mind is this: our children are within earshot and this is how they learn to answer the same questions when they are posed to them.
When our first adoption fell through, someone told me, "Ian, you're meant to have the children you're meant to have. Your children are out there, you just don't know them yet."
Ten million children under the age of five die every year. When I started medical school that number was double, and though we have come a long way, this is not good enough.
Despite good grades, accomplishments, pleasant manners and common sense, many of our sons are seen as aggressive or prone to violence. When they transgress, as kids will always do, they are judged on a double standard.
In Jack's mind, you never lose friends, you just don't see them outside of your own mind as much as you used to. And to my son, that is the beauty of life. You just keep adding more and more friends. It never ends!
I truly believe people were not being malicious with their comments and questions; they were just unfamiliar with or uneducated on adoption or how best to congratulate us.
A single woman on a teacher's salary -- surely there must be better homes to place these children in? Julie had offered to take any child that needed a home.
One of our children collected everyone's apple cores and saved them next to her seat. We tried to assure her that we had more food, but nothing could persuade her to let us throw the apple cores away. We felt it was best to just let her have them, if it made her feel safer.