Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A conversation at the dentist

NURSE AT DENTIST OFFICE: "When would you like the next appointment scheduled? It's six months out from now."

ME: (almost laughing) "Six months?! Doesn't matter. I've got NO idea what my schedule will be like in six months. Just make the appointment for whenever."

NICE LADY IN WAITING ROOM (NLIWR): "I keep my planner with me so I can keep track of my appointments."

ME: "Oh yeah, I live and breathe by my Franklin Covey at home." (The waiting room was almost empty, I didn't have any foster cherubs with me, so I decided to elaborate.) "But we are a foster family and I cannot predict what anything is going to look like six months from now."

NLIWR: "Oh thank you for being a foster family."

ME: "Um. Yeah." (It was really strange to be thanked for this so quickly by a total stranger!)

NLIWR: "My daughter used to be a social worker with CPS for about four years down here. She's up in Houston now working for an adoption agency. She still works with foster parents though."

...insert nice chit chat about The System...

NLIWR: "How long have you fostered?"

ME: "We did it for about three years when we lived in Iowa. We've been licensed down here for about three years now too."

NLIWR: "Are those two brothers?" (indicating toward TT and Bart)

ME: "Yes."

NLIWR: "Do you have any kids of your own?"

ME: "Oh yes. All of them."

NLIWR: "I have any biological kids?"

ME: "Yes."

NLIWR: "How many?"

ME: "Enough."

NLIWR: "How many? How many of your kids are your own?"

ME: "All of them are mine."

....this went back and forth for entirely too long...

Eventually NLIWR figured out I wasn't going to tell her how many were bio and how many I adopted. You see, TT was sitting right there. It was not this lady's business to know how many kids I adopted and how many I birthed. I'm sure if I had told her she would have wanted to know who was who. And that was none of her damn business!!! It's such a fine dance. I don't want TT to be embarrassed about being adopted. But ultimately it is HIS story to tell...not mine. At least not like this!! I finally ended the conversation by telling NLIWR that I had three forever kids and two foster cherubs.

I've heard about conversations like this. I kinda hoped I'd never have to have one. It was horribly frustrating and I'm still not sure I handled it quite as well as I should have. I'm going to have to work on my script better for the future.


Mie said...

I've started to realize recently that I'm going to have to stop labeling my kids eventually. So far Summer has been too young to realize that I'm calling out one child being by birth and the other by adoption but now she's getting older and I'm going to just have to start talking about my forever children and my foster children. Not that I have to call them out in public but when it's appropriate for me to distinguish between them (foster and forever) I'm going to have to be more careful.

MamaFoster said...

i have this happen often because mine are "different colors", but even at our agency all the people talk like this. granted, it is mostly a foster agency, but seriously, they need to learn how to talk when it comes to adopted kids.

Meg0422 said...

I would never ask someone that. It's not my business and it doesn't matter. They're kids and you're taking care of them and loving them.

And you ROCK for doing it! (This coming from a parent of one and one is enough. I can't handle the whirlwind.)

I hope that makes sense. Foster parents are awesome!

openarmsopenheart said...

Yes, this is what happened to me with the weird guy at the pool. You think you know what you'll say in a situation but sometimes you're trapped and can't make a witty remark and just walk away and the only other thing you can think of to say will cause a scene. Let me know if you come up with any answers!

CherubMamma said...

I think the part that cut me to the core and is what kept me from knowing what to say is how she KEPT asking me (many times), "Do you have kids of your own?"

I know not everyone understands how horrible that sounds! I wish I could have thought of a way in the moment to educate her about adoption language and how hurtful that statement is to everyone involved though. I had hoped that answering her question with, "all of them," would have been enough. I didn't want to embarrass her or cause any kind of a scene. It was soooo uncomfortable for me.

shellyx6 said...

Thank you for that laugh, I really needed it today. I can visualize the whole thing in my mind, play by play. Perhaps because I've lived something very similar myself??? I'm not as good as you are :( I did tell the gal who was "mine". I felt unloyal immediately though. I didn't even know this person and I had given her precious information. Sometimes it HARD to know what to say. I overheard my husband telling another dad at the pool (we live in az so its been hot) that the boys were our foster babes. The dad knew they weren't ours, he knows our family. But, I couldn't help but feel he shouldn't say ANYTHING except they are ours. When they were first placed with us we went to a Christmas party, I introduced them as my little house guests. :) I mostly refer to them in those words. Again, thanks for the laugh.