"Whose Son Is This? An Adoptive Mom's Dilemma

 It all happened so quickly. One day I was speaking to the adoption agency we were thinking of signing up with, the next day, we had  a baby.

 My partner and had been trying to get pregnant for many years, when we decided (after many tears) to pursue domestic adoption. We started our home study process last December, and do to my drill sergeant tendencies, we were certified as an adoptive home by the state in  late February. I  got a 1-800 number so that birth moms could contact us directly, then I built a website, and a placed ads in several online venues.

Even though I realize that in retrospect it was not a lot of time, after six weeks, I felt restless and distraught because I had yet to make a real connection a with birth mom. I decided to start interviewing different adoption agencies, all of which I had problems with, which I promise to write about in a separate post.

At any rate, a friend encouraged me to call a small boutique agency and within a week, I had my son in my arms. Yes, it’s one of those crazy fairy tale stories. At any rate, it has been a wonderful world wind.

We passed our 30 day waiting period with flying colors in June, which was the first hurdle in our journey towards finalization. Since then we have been busily filling out paper work, updating our medical records, getting fingerprinted (again), and tending to other related tasks.

 In a few weeks the adoption agency will send our finalization packet to our attorney who will submit everything to the court. Then, we hope to get our finalization court date in October. Nadia and I can hardly wait. We are completely in love with Baby Jay. We are awe struck, really.

 But in the midst of my reverie, I feel compelled to share a teachable moment. I started The Teachable Adoption Moments Column on my blog last year because I was struck by the awkward (and sometimes infuriating) situations that seemed to almost instantly arrive once we started our adoption journey. Now that we’ve been blessed with Baby Jay, I have experienced a deluge of ‘awkward’ conversations. Here is one that I would love to get advice about….

Recently, Nadia and I were getting ready to go on a picnic on with one of my BFFs and her son, M, who is 4. We were in a corner deli often referred to as a ‘Bodega’ here in the city, getting food and drink for the afternoon outing.

 As background, just in case you didn’t know, Nadia and I live in upper Manhattan, which is not known for being ‘gay-friendly’. On the other hand, I have never experienced any outright discrimination in my neighborhood and I know a lot (!) of queer people who here so I am very confident as I walk around my ‘hood. I never really consider about what people are thinking of me so in some ways, I am a little oblivious, but happy.

 Anyhoo, this weekend we were all standing around the Bodega counter, when older black woman said to no one in particular “whose boy is this,” referring to Baby Jay. She looked at Nadia, my BFF, and me and I looked back at the woman a little sheepishly because I was thinking about how to handle this question in such a public place when all I really wanted to do was get a sandwich.

Then the woman said to me, “Oh, this is your son. You can’t deny it. He looks just like you.”

And I said, “well…” and Nadia gave me a look which seemed to say “don’t.”  

 I thought about saying, “Well, he’s our son” but Nadia’s look stopped me.

Were we ready to ‘come out’ in this public place, in this neighborhood which is not particularly gay-friendly? We hadn’t really talked about how we were going to handle things like his yet. At the time, Baby Jay has only been with us for a few months. Often times, I don’t come out to people I don’t know, not because I’m ashamed of who I am, but simply because I am just tired of dealing with other people’s judgments about my life. It can be exhausting to have to defend my life, when I’m really just trying to get a sandwich, you know?

 The woman went on to say, “You can’t deny your blood. He looks just like you. And they say that’s good luck when a boy resembles his mother.” After that we paid for our sandwiches and left.

 So that whole left me with a lot of mixed feelings.

 At first, I was really at a loss for words. Part of me was secretly thrilled that she thought he looked like me. Many people have said Baby Jay and I resemble one another and there is a part of me that experiences that as a badge of honor. I wanted to give birth to my own child for so long and now I have Jay and it just thrills me on some level that he is so gorgeous and wonderful and that looks like he could be my biological son.

 However, when we left the store, I heard Nadia say to Baby Jay, “you are my son too, don’t forget that.” And I felt horrible. I said to her “are you okay?”

 And she replied, “I don’t really care about what that woman said, but I’m worried about what will happen when Baby Jay get’s older. What will happen when he understands that he is adopted and how will he feel during those kinds of exchanges?”  

 Neither one of us wants him to feel ashamed of the fact that he has two moms and, of course, we don’t want him to feel shame about his adoption, so we do need to figure out what we are going to say to folks.

 It’s tricky because people really don’t have a right to know anything about my personal life; on the other hand, I want Baby Jay to be proud of who he is.

 What would you do?

 

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