As broad shouldered and thick skinned as I am, there are a few no-go areas in my life. I have a hard time with boundaries and letting people know where my personal space starts and when they need to back off. I will ‘happily’ (more like grin and bear it) take abuse in order to keep the peace BUT where I draw the line is when you comment on my children.
Like the common cold, a cure still hasn’t been found for stupidity. There also seems to be a rapid decline in EQ and IQ, leaving me with a lot of jaw-dropping WTF and OMG moments. Like yesterday. The new girl started at work. I do not know her. We have never met before. We have never exchanged XOXO’s via mails or pleasantries over Twitter. She does not know me. On any level. Yet when I opened my Facebook page to give her admin rights for the company’s page, she spotted photos of Emma and Ben and remarked, “Oh your kids are ‘swarties’! Are you trying to be Madonna?”
I was speechless. And angry. And has the day wore on and my resilience wore down I cried. I cried. A girl, young and full of dumb, had made me cry. For a number of reasons.
Infertility is a touchy subject and even though I am blessed with two of the most preciousamazingbeautifulwonderfulheavensentgifts I am still very aware of my inability to produce children. Did I ever tell you about Ben’s mom? She’s 24 and Ben is baby number four. Four children and she’s too stupid to know that condoms are not party balloons and that there is such a thing as the pill. Heck, why isn’t she infertile? I don’t think I’ll ever get over this major shortcoming in my life. It’s not that I’m bitter about it. But I am sad and I think I’m allowed to be.
I also found myself wondering at people’s complete lack of emotional intelligence. There she was, allowed to vomit out crap like that, yet I have to be aware of my response so I’m not labelled as a racist or a bigot or a bitter twisted old woman. I sat and listened to her telling me that in her culture adoption is frowned upon (but promiscuous, unprotected sex isn’t, I thought to myself). I had to hear how her dad told her mom (who had once wanted to adopt) that he’ll allow it over his dead body (that can be arranged, I mused to myself).
Being compared to Madonna, Brangelina, Charlize Theron or any other celebrity who has adopted isn’t the worst thing in the world. But the connotation is. The decision to adopt, for Mark and I, wasn’t an easy one. We didn’t, over a chicken cordon bleu and bottle of wine, suddenly decide that we wanted to be cool and walk around Sandton with our black babies. We didn’t say “How naas would it be to have two bleck kids? Imagine the BEE business opportunidies and the looks on our friends faces? They could also be laaak deterrents to crym and stuff laak that!”
Instead we looked at the pros and cons and we analysed every possible scenario, from what people would say and think, how we would be able to provide for our children, emotionally, financially, physically. We discussed the consequences for our children as they get older and how it would affect their place in the world. We seriously considered whether we would be adding to the obstacles our children might face.
I don’t know Madonna, Brangelina or Sandra Bullock personally, but I’m thinking that they didn’t want to start any trends with their AB’s (affirmative babies). Instead, like me, they had the opportunity to provide a loving home and family to a baby who needed it. I’m hoping that they didn’t do it for the sake of fashion or paparazzi moments.
As I drove home and the tears streamed down I wondered yet again whether I had done the wrong thing. Did my desperate need to become a mom override all reason? Was my decision to adopt a selfless act or an incredibly selfish one? You see, that’s what I do? I don’t think about the ignoramus who had made such a hurtful comment. I don’t worry that there’s more than one of her roaming the earth. I don’t hope that she, like the dodo bird, will die out one day. No. Instead I beat myself up. I second guess myself. I stress that I have placed Emma and Ben in precarious positions where they’re going to go their whole lives through having to defend themselves and their white parents.
As I always do when I’m having a crisis, I tweeted. And my support system out there jumped into action. By the time I got home I realised I wasn’t the one at fault here.
To adopt isn’t the dumbest thing I’ve done. Taking hurtful, ignorant, uneducated, stupid comments to heart is.