Last night’s was particularly funny with Cameron using the word ‘adoption’, ‘adopting’ and ‘adopt’ in positive ways and then cheering each time. When Mitchell asked him what had Oprah said I was finished. How many times have you heard friends (or complete strangers) start a sentence with “Last night on Oprah” or “Oprah says” or “According to Oprah”.
So, according to Oprah, it’s good for parents with adopted children to use the word often, always followed with positive reinforcement. So that’s what Cam does. He also decides to write a book called Two Monkeys and a Panda for Lily. He doesn’t want her finding out at a later stage she’s adopted…hmmmmm, newsflash Cam, there are a few dead giveaways! As is the case with Emma. She might have Mark’s forehead and my odd looking toes, but there’s a few clear signs that she’s not our biological daughter. The main one being…she’s black. This realization itself might bring her to her knees: “What? Black! No one ever told me I’m Black!”
It would seem the confusion and angst arises when children are adopted by parents of the same colour. Invariably there’s a stranger who will point out that the children don’t all look the same and that one must be adopted! Bomb dropped. Angst everywhere. I know growing up we always told my younger brother he was adopted – he’s blonde, the rest of us all have brown hair. I will admit there were times I wished I was adopted. I was convinced my real father was Daddy Warbucks (blame it on Hollywood) and he would just arrive one day and remove from this strange family.
There’s no way Emma won’t know she’s adopted. Both Mark and I have a rather odd sense of humour and we use this gift rather well when it comes to ‘sensitive’ issues. We tell people we swapped a black baby for a Blackberry. Up until a short while ago (if Emma was misbehaving) we would tell her that there’s still time to get a refund on her.
I am very aware of my responses to people asking questions and giving their thoughts and I believe the way we deal with the issue of adoption will influence the way in which Emma copes with it.We often get told how we have saved a life, and it’s always followed by the South Africanism ‘ag shame’. We stand up to the obnoxious ones (and there are lots) but we are never rude. Though on one occasion when asked if Emma was adopted I replied “no, we had anal sex and that [pointing to Emma] is the result!”
We don’t have to defend our decision or explain it to anyone. We always tell Emma how very very special she is – we got to choose each other. There’s not many that can say that. There is never a moment that Emma is not smothered with kisses, much to her irritation, especially once she discovered the power of the word ‘no’ or told how much she is loved.
Emma was a choice. Not second prize, not a consolation prize. And we love her to the moon and back! But should she ever realize she’s black there’s a therapy fund…