June 28, 2006

The flying bubbis

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 7:09 am by Erin

So.  My parents and grandmother were here this past weekend.  They were only here from Thursday evening to Sunday morning and let me tell you, that was quite enough visiting for a while, thankyouverymuch.

I was a little nervous about their visit anyway since I planned on telling my grandmother about our plans to adopt internationally.  She reacted with the typical "Why would you do that?  Do you have trouble getting pregnant?" lines, but soon morphed into "Well, someone’s going to be very lucky."  When I explained that yes, it was J and I since we were going to have more kids, she laughed and said that was true but she meant the child who gets to have us for parents.

Huh.  How about that.

All was pleasant the rest of the visit.  We had several other short conversations about adoption and about how we’d chosen the countries that we’re considering.  They were quite positive.  I was lulled into a false sense of happiness.

What I really should have been thinking was NBHHY during the visit.  Because then came the drive to the airport.  Oh, the drive to the airport.  shudder

It started out innocently enough.  My mother and grandmother were in the backseat entertaining P, while my dad was in the front passenger seat.  He asked if we’d done any more looking at agencies for adoption (FWIW, my parents were far more supportive about it on this trip…mostly), and I was telling him about that process.  But apparently this was the magic word and the Bubbis in the backseat (my mother is P’s Bubbi, my grandmother is my Bubbi and P’s great-Bubbi) decided to chime in.  My grandmother wanted to know if we had to get any sort of counseling before adopting.  I explained that there’s no mandatory counseling with most of the agencies, but they do provide lots of support for adoptive families.  She thinks we need counseling to figure everything out because we don’t know what we’re getting into.  I explained that it’s not like "Hey, we’re going to adopt and we’ll be bringing home a child tomorrow" but that we’ll be working with the agency for at least a year before our child comes home, so we’ll have plenty of time to do that.  I reminded them that no one chooses to adopt on a whim, because it was such a difficult process.  Then I made a mistake: I said "Anyone can get pregnant" but was interrupted by my grandmother saying "Excuse me, not everyone can get pregnant."

The next sound I heard was my father snorting laughter.  I said, the snarkiness evident in my voice, "Umm, hello?  I know that.  Somehow, I think I’ve figured that out in the almost 2 years that we’ve been trying to have another baby."  I said I just meant that there was no paperwork to fill out, that you don’t have to prove you’d be a fit parent to get pregnant.  Adopting can be intrusive because that’s exactly what you’re doing.

Finally she took a break, but then my mom started in.

As it turns out, my mom thinks it’s a bad idea for us to bring home a toddler because the child would immediately get to play with P’s toys and P wouldn’t have the same adjustment period that he would with an infant.  I pointed out that if we have another baby and bring home a newborn, P would go from having lots of time to play with Mama and Daddy to "Hey, Mama’s constantly nursing that baby and doesn’t have as much time to play with me", so there would be plenty of adjustment on his part right from the beginning anyway. Also, that there will be plenty of time to get him used to the idea that he’s getting a brother or sister who’s going to come home and share his toys; it’s not like we’ll just spring it on him.  She said she thinks we should get an infant, even around 9 months old, so that they won’t be playing with the same toys at the same time.  I said that we’d already thought of that and countered that we hope he would look at it as having an instant playmate. We’re just switching the type of adjustment that he’ll have to make.  I also said that if we get a child that young, by the time we bring them home, there will probably be about 4 years between P’s age and that child and we don’t want our children that far apart in age.

I said that we had thought about more than they’d ever even considered, so we’d thought of all of these possibilities and are making the best choices for our family.  We were nearly at the airport by this time, so they just said something about understanding that and just being concerned.  I have never been so relieved to drop them all off at the curbside check-in.  I did feel bad for my dad, though, since he really was just curious to hear about how things were going and didn’t have any of intention of demanding explanations for our choices.

I was still upset by the time P and I got home.  I told J all about it and he helped me calm down.  He asked me why I hadn’t just given the Bubbis a helpful little push down an escalator and watched the suitcases bursting open, shirts flying through the air, while the Bubbis said "Oh my goodness!" with their hair all askew.  In retrospect, it’s a pretty bad image, but it was what I needed to laugh right then and stop worrying about it.

At least we have J’s family.



  1. Courtney said,

    Oh gosh…or to quote Hermione, HONESTLY!!!
    I get a nervous stomach on your behalf when I read some of these exchanges.
    I know they mean well…and I think adoption has come a long way since their generation and that they tend to harbor some worries and misimpressions, but…HONESTLY!!!

  2. Gravida Zero said,

    Yikes. Yikes, Yikes, Yikes. Do they not understand that the whole process is hard enough without having to defend your decisions to the people who are supposed to be supporting you…I’m sorry, hun.

  3. spanglish said,

    Sometimes family has a tendency to tear one down even when their intentions are to build us up. Ugh.

  4. Heather said,

    I’m REALLY sorry you have to go through this!! It sucks that they can’t just be supportive and realize that you are an adult and are not just jumping into this decision.
    I wish you all the best and hope no one “rains on your parade” again!!

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