All of a sudden, fate threw me a curve ball and life changed in every way.
Now, I am also (I still have aforementioned dog and cats) a single adoptive mother of a splendid baby boy, who is actually now a grade-schooler. It was a private adoption and I will spare the lad’s privacy by not telling you the circumstances surrounding it, but suffice it to say it was a huge life change. The lad, whom, for the time being, I referred to as “Meatloaf” due to his gargantuan size (he weighed 22 pounds at less than six months), was born in December 2013 and came home from the hospital with me.
People’s reactions varied to the news, but mostly, everyone sweetly said things like, “Holy (expletive)! You (expletive) adopted a child!” and other endearing nothings of that nature.
The most common reaction, though, happened something like this:
Person: Hey, there! What’s new?
Me: Well, I adopted a baby.
Person: A baby? Like…umm… a baby dog? Like a puppy?
Me: No, like a little boy baby.
Person: A boy puppy? What did you name him? Is he neutered yet?
Me: Like a human boy baby. He’s not neutered.
Person: Holy (expletive)! You adopted a (expletive) child!”
This happened far more often than one would imagine. And even though I have been known to cuss like a sailor, my eardrums were pretty much seared from all the expletives I heard in those early weeks during which I suddenly announced to the world that actually, I’d had a baby living with me for a few weeks already.
Because it was the middle of winter in the midwest (the worst winter since 1979, so they say) and because I have a dog, I would put my darling Meatloaf (who was actually a mere Porkchop at the time) inside a sling inside a special “babywearing coat” which cost somewhere between 175 and eleventy billion dollars, zip him under there good, and go cross the tundra to let the dog tinkle.
One of my neighbors spotted me and my bulging coat, and the conversation started anew. Except this time, when I mentioned I had a baby in my coat, my neighbor expressed her doubts. She actually asked me to open my coat and show her the baby, which I did, mostly because I was kind of stunned.
At this point, she peered into my coat, spotted my son’s baldish head and said, “No (expletive) way! Are you kidding me!? You totally stuck a doll in there! Right?!”
Let me tell you something… I am quite confused as to how it is believable that I am bonkers enough to walk around with a doll in a 179 thousand dollar, gold-lined baby-wearing coat trying to trick hapless neighbors into thinking I adopted a baby, faking my glassy-eyed “I-haven’t-slept-in-four-weeks” look, but apparently it would not be believable that I had actually adopted a baby (the kind that you don’t have to neuter).
My most favorite adoption story happened when a lady from the bank came to refinance my condo. As she worked, she asked questions about Dear Sweet Son and about his adoption. Now, at this point, I had already told her that he was currently eight months old and that he had been with me since he was born.
As he sat on my lap, cooing, laughing, and drinking his bottle, she looked at me, perplexed, and queried helpfully, “Wow! He really seems to like you! Do you think he knows who you are?”
Umm, well, sheesh… I sure hope so… I have changed almost every diaper and filled every bottle since the day he was born. It would be shockingly bizarre if he woke up every morning and thought, “Well, who the flippin’-flop is this lady?!”
A few minutes later, she asked me if his adoption was the kind where “you don’t have to return him, or the kind where he has to go back.” I’m really not certain where she got her adoption information, but the textbook she used clearly leaves a lot to be desired.
I think at one point, every adoptive parent has heard something similarly odd (or they have very nice, tactful, well-informed friends). Because my son looks like me and acts like me, few people question a biological relationship. But as soon as anyone finds out we are related by adoption, it is generally only a matter of time before the interesting questions and comments begin. And I don’t see that ending anytime soon.