Archive for July, 2016

So there we were. We had sailed through the Boo’s follow-up eye appointment, which he was anxious about because they had surprised us with dilation drops last time. But he was on my lap, pleased about getting an eye chart with letters like I get instead of pictures that little kids get. Meanwhile, I was pleased that the technician had much a better kidside manner this time. 

And then she leaned over and whispered, “How old was he when you got him?”

I was confused, and I must have looked it, because she repeated her question. But what she was asking didn’t register until she pointed to his chart. There it was, in all caps: ADOPTED

I stammered, trying to find something to say that would set her straight without getting on my kid’s radar. He’s four, he has amazing antennae, and this was not the time to answer the 8,000 questions I knew he would have: what’s adopted, am I adopted, are you adopted, why do people adopt kids, why can’t I have ice cream for breakfast (he’s smart, but he is Very Four.)

“Um, that’s not accurate. My husband is from India.”

Now it was the technician’s turn to look confused. She said something about not knowing how the word got in there, then asked whether glaucoma runs in our families, crossed the word out and led us to a waiting area, saying the doctor would be with us soon.

I had a few minutes to collect myself and think back on our first visit, three months ago. I asked myself questions like, “Did anyone ask if my son was adopted?” and “Did I talk to anyone about how awesome adoption is?” and “Could I possibly have misunderstood a question about my kid being adopted, maybe when they were asking about family medical history?” No, nope, and almost certainly not. 

It’s not as if this is the first time someone has assumed my child is adopted because his skin tone is different than mine. And admittedly, it always hits a raw nerve because I fought like hell to have a baby. But this time it hit a new nerve, because it was in writing. That made it feel more official, and threw other people’s perceptions of my family into harsh focus. I started thinking about how many people make that assumption on a daily basis, and whether I should make a T-shirt made that says, “HE CAME OUT OF ME!” Maybe one for every day of the week for August, when we will be attached at the hip during the hiatus between Summer Camp and school? 

Okay, maybe not. Maybe I’ll just write the practice a polite letter explaining why we won’t be back: If they got that wrong, how many other mistakes are they making?

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I'm over 50. I'm raising a fifth grader. Sometimes he posts too.


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