After Bible study we arrived home to find Brisan standing in the kitchen. I walked in and he asked to go to the dentist. I decided that if a 13 year old boy asks to go to the dentist, there's something wrong, so I made an emergency appointment and we all hopped in the van to head out to the dentist's office. Kole and Daxx, age 6, and our soon-to-be adopted daughter, age 5, were all in happy moods. They chatted and laughed while Brise and I discussed the horrors of tooth pain.
We arrived at the Dentist's office. There was a woman and young teen boy in the waiting area. My three youngest sat at the kid's table to look at books while Brise sat in the chair nursing his tooth-ache. As we waited, a man of about 60 years entered the waiting room. He sat and watched as the kids come over to take turns sitting on my lap. He made jokes and did the little "magic trick" with his finger as the kids watched in awe while his pointing finger was cut in half.
I didn't pay him much mind because we get this kind of reaction now and then. However, about 15 minutes into the wait the man turned to the other woman in the room and announced that "having one child is nice and two is a little scary but to have three is just ridiculous; Any more than that, there's something wrong with the person."
Now, he doesn't know me from Adam. Granted, he's older and my back was turned to him so he may have a problem with hearing that allowed him to speak so rudely in that loud of a voice. I don't know if he wanted me to hear it or not, but suffice it to say, I heard it and so did my kids!
The woman was sitting there wide eyed trying to grin or maybe she was trying to think of a come-back, but it didn't take long for me to compose myself so that I wouldn't throw loud words in his direction. I took a breath, turned around and said in a much calmer voice than I had wanted to, "You know, I only gave birth to two children. Does that make me less of an idiot? Does it help at all that some are adopted or is it just as bad?"
It was at that point that he smiled and said, "Oh really? I'm adopted too." He tried to make small talk by asking where we adopted from, how old the kids were when we "got" them and what-not. I answered to the best of my ability, though I really wanted to explain in depth just how rude and obnoxious I found him to be.
The reason I was so upset is that this is not the first time this kind of rudeness has happened to me. It happens a LOT! For example, About 3 weeks ago I was leaning against the wall with Daxx, Kole and Chickadee, waiting for Vinze to get out of class at a local Charter School we were using. (We are not there anymore...another story for another day) As I waited, a fellow mother looked me point blank in the eye and told me that I am crazy to have more than one kid, as she shook her head in disgust. This was not a "laughing/joking" remark. This was a, shame on you for being so careless by having sex and creating so many kids, remark.
Of course, I told her that this was my kind of life and I enjoy it very much. I added that I'm a foster-adoptive mom, in the process and her tone changed completely. "Oh! Well, that's not crazy at all. I really admire you for doing that!" came her response. She wanted to be my buddy and basically have tea while we chat about the issue.
How does adoption make a such a difference in their thinking? Aren't I still parenting the same number of children?
Then there was the woman who stopped at our table, as she was walking by in a restaurant where we were dining. She asked if all these children were ours. This was when we only had the 5 sons. I said yes and she walked away, laughing and saying quite loudly, "Ha! They just keep trying for that girl don't they?!"
What in the world is up with that? Why would someone say that in front of my children or to me, for that matter? Those are the kind of comments that could cause our younger boys to wonder if we wanted them!
I'm an adult and have the right to have a large family, just as they have the right not to. I cannot understand how I can go from being the complete loony, that they feel the NEED to ridicule, to a Saint worthy of dolling out advice in the blink of an eye. What is their logic?
I've tried to deduce their reasoning by reviewing the comments of these complete and total strangers over the course of the past 7 years, and I think I may have the answer. Apparently, people who have more than 3 children are perceived to be so stupid that they don't know how to use contraception; or, Heaven forbid, religious zealots who WON'T stop having them. Either way, there is a sect of people out there who are lying in wait to spit words at "those" people who are the idiot in their midst.
I have to say that if I didn't have the golden "adoption" word to fall back on, I may have had to accost a person by now. As it is, I am trying to think of a response that will stop these people in their tracks without my having to announce that I didn't get to enjoy sex in order to parent these children. I really need a good one because I'm slightly concerned that one of these days, a person is going to say the wrong thing at the right time and I may just loose my cool. I would really hate to yell or say something so crude that my children remember it for the rest of their lives, but I'm starting to think that I would rather they remember that I took up for our family ferociously than to keep having them hear adults ridicule our large family.
It's a thin line and I can feel myself about to cross it.