Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Do you feel LUCKY?

You never know where it's going to come from, do you?  I'm doing my job backstage as kid wrangler for Zoe's and Maya's performance for Ballet Concerto's Holiday Special.  I'm talking to another mom, and the conversation goes something like this:

Me:  Complain, complain, tired of rehearsals, kids exhausted, didn't get to bed until 2 hours past bedtime, no end in sight. . . .

She:  My daughter loves this stuff, lives to perform, as a little girl she'd dance naked around the house.  I had a friend who had a daughter who loved ballet and someone approached her and said she could get her daughter into a company if she'd attend her school for a year.  But my friend didn't want to send her 16-year-old to a ballet boarding school, but now she kind of regrets not doing it.  She had all kinds of trouble with her daughter, drugs, all the wrong men.  And she became a stripper.  Who knows, maybe it would have happened that way even if she'd gone to that school.  After all, SHE WAS ADOPTED AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE THEY COME FROM.

Me:  Stare in stunned disbelief, mouth hanging open.

This is a mom who has known me and the girls through ballet since Zoe was 3.  She knows Zoe and Maya are adopted, because even if I hadn't told her so, any idiot would know it by looking at us!  And THIS is her attitude toward adoption.  And THIS is what she thinks is okay to share with me.  Sigh.

Oh, and in the further meandering backtracking that followed, when she figured out that maybe this wasn't quite the right thing to say to me, she reveals that the adoptee-stripper is doing much better now.  And that her parents named her LUCKY.  Yes, her actual given name by her adoptive parents was LUCKY. Yeah, I actually took the trouble to explain to this lady why giving an adopted child the name LUCKY is all manner of wrong. Sigh.

And yes, that's Zoe in costume as a "Little Boo" (think a Who Down in Whoville) in the "Christmas Grump," er, what the heck, just call it "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!"  I certainly felt pretty Grinchy during that conversation this morning.  And yes, this is all a thinly veiled excuse to post a cute picture of Zoe (except the conversation did actually happen.  Sigh.).


Anonymous said...

Wow! Just wow! clf

Linda said...


Even though what she said was very rude, for the most part, she's correct.

Sounds like the 16 year old had a lot of adoption issues. That happens. Too bad the ap in this scenario couldn't figure that out.

joy said...

Lucky is a great name for a golden retriever.

I went underground with my adoption issues not too long after my reunion, which was v. young. Nevertheless, I kept my ears perked whenever adoption comes up. Often I admit, I would claim ignorance just to see how far the conversation would go.

It often goes far. I used to do the financials for a preschool in a very chi-chi area, we had lots of celebreties kids. The directors often made jokes about the adopted kids. One of the fathers in the program, single, was adopted. He actually naively reunited and told the whole board and introduced his natural mother.

My only comment was that the father was "cute" he was. Both the directors quickly chided me and said, "you can't date someone who has no real family, imagine how needy he would be!?" I said I wasn't interested in dating him, just thought he was cute.

My own son's father has admitted that being adopted is something he has forgiven me for. He decided to look past it as I am so effin wonderful.

I don't know about China adoption, or why children are abandoned, if all of them are, I don't know, that is not my culture. My amom lived in China for 3 months and sent me back newspapers and it was not anything I could relate to or believe, they take hyberbole to a whole new level.

I am just a run-of-the-mill domestic, aging and uninteresting. The stigma though, of being given-up like a baby-bird with some defect being pushed out of the nest is very real. For those that have the patience to see it.

By the way your daughter looks gorgeous in this pic. So precious.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your blog, there are few others like it. Your gentleness, your intelligence, your articulate posts, your willingness to enter into adoptee issues.

I was talking to another adoptee tonight about her adoptive mom who she describes as "dramatic, narcissistic,cold,all-about-her" and I laughed and said, "how unusual" because that is the norm.

I wish moms like you were the norm. If you were, there would be no fight for adoptee rights, they would have been solved long ago.

I know the domestic fight is not your fight, but I do appreciate your voice and would lend it more for us domestics. It is pretty awesome.

Oh and p.s. one thing that works for me, is when people like the DB who said that to you, say things like that to me, I say, "Why do you want to say that to me?" It works fwiw.

Sorry for the novel, I JUST HAVE A LOT TO SAY

Sandy said...

"Lucky" - isn't that just so "Special" a name guaranteed to remind her each and every time she hears it just how "Lucky" she is and how "Grateful" she must be each and every day...

Prescription to mess up your kid - name them "Lucky"...guaranteed to work and create every side effect possible.

The Bad Seed theory never will go away...just one of the "Joys" of being an adoptee...

Reena said...

I'm with the first commenter:


I appreciate hearing about these occurence because it allows me to think about responses-- maybe something along the lines of,

"Oh I guess I can look forward to my daughter becoming a stripper?"

I mean really?


Dawn said...

So what was her response when you talked to her about the name?

I remember being at the park and there was a white dad pushing his Chinese-adopted daughter on the swing. I know she was adopted (and not HAPA) because another woman at the park came over and said, "Oh is she adopted? She's beautiful." And he said yes. And then the woman said (in hearing of the little girl), "I could NEVER adopt from China. You just don't know what they've gone through there, you know? Did your daughter have a lot of trauma in the orphanage? I hear there's a lot of fetal alcohol problems there, too."

The world is full of incredible stupid.

The father, by the way, excused himself and took his daughter elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Ya, I suffered from abuse in my adoptive family and was a very sad child.

Instead of people (even "relatives") questioning why I was sad, I was always labeled and treated like the lucky bastard whose "problems" were probably because of the questionable breeding I had.

Anonymous said...

"Sounds like the 16 year old had a lot of adoption issues. That happens. Too bad the ap in this scenario couldn't figure that out."

Yes, because of course she couldn't just have had normal problems, unrelated to anything except adoption.


Come on folks.

I'm a adult adoptee too; I have made my share of mistakes, but they don't all stem from being adopted. Very few do actually.

My family is great but NOT PERFECT.

Who among us is? I'm not.

I do agree the name was/is "icky" and Malinda this aquintance is a fool. Pure and simple.

Lovely pic. of your daughter!

The Gang's Momma! said...

First off, that picture of your daughter is gorgeous. Whatever role she played, I'm sure she outshone all the other similar characters - she looks stunning.

Second, I so appreciated "joy's" comments. Lots of good and important things to chew on. I learn so much at this site, from you, Malinda, and from your readers.

Third, I loved the second "Anonymous's" comments as a good counter-balance to the conversation. As a mom to both bio and adopted, I find myself often seeking some balance to the questions that my kids' behaviors create. I'm SURE that I'll only have more questions as Li'l E grows up.

Sometimes, a three-year old is just a three-year old. Adopted or bio. Inconsistent, strong-willed, impulsive, independent, fiery, and immature. I'm learning when and what behaviors have "more to them" than just the "tough three's." But it's a tough learning curve. And if I remember correctly, it was a tough learning curve for me when my bios turned three, too. Different kind of tough but these conversations are good for me to sit back and get some perspective.

JBH said...

"Ya, I suffered from abuse in my adoptive family and was a very sad child. "

I agree with Anonymous...why is it that any "problems" are because of the adoptee's genetics and NEVER because of the adopted family's home? I applaud my fellow adoptee friends who grew up in challenging circumstances and are courageous to speak about it through the blogosphere.

JBH said...

Oh - let me re-word adopted home was OK...but I've met quite a few adoptees who did not have the same experience...

The Raudenbush Family said...

Oh my goodness. That's insane. If you want to think "sorta" positively about it, I guess she has known you for so long and your girls that she has "forgotten" that they are adopted??? Not something that I would say is positive, but for someone with her point of view about adoptions, maybe that is positive???

Amanda said...

I had someone post back to me on an article the other day that adoptees shouldn't have issues and he or she is just so certain that we're all so happy to be able to make our parent's family complete, that it overrides anything else we'd think or feel.


Where do people come up with these comments and ideas?

I think hearing comments like this one, and like the one's Joy described, have been regular experiences for me. I don't always take notice because I guess I am just used to it. I notice it more now I suppose. I've had people say "oh yuck, I could never love a child that wasn't mine!" (it always warms my heart when people wonder how my parents could love me). Oh gosh, the list goes on.

It is important that everyone realize that rare is there an adoptee that will be able to escape these nasty comments, prejudices, and assumptions by others. It's why it bothers me when adoptees are raised where their adoptedness isnt' seen as a "big deal" or acknowledged. Other people in the world will not view them that way, so why aren't more parents preparing their adopted children for it??

LisaLew said...

Zoe is shining and beautiful!

One of the assets of your blog is not only the fabulous topics you cover, but the helpful comments. I am going to store away JOY's comeback - "Why do you want to say that me?"

Sometimes conversation can be so shocking that a comment like that preserved in our minds can be helpful. Thank you, Malinda and Commenters, as well.