Without overstating the obvious, modern parenthood is expensive. The escalating costs of lessons of every description, enrichment classes, summer camp and orthodontia round out an unending list of ‘essentials’ that are endlessly discussed over skim lattes at Starbucks and on playgrounds all over the country.
In this era of ‘TMI,’ it seems everything related to child rearing is fodder for conversation. Everything, it seems, is open for discussion except how much it costs to have the child. Unless, of course, that child is adopted.
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When my daughter was still a baby, I recited a truncated version of that story whenever I was asked about Madeline’s “real parents.” Over the years, I’ve been asked questions that have struck me as odd; some have been downright ridiculous (“Does she only like Chinese food?” inquired a neighbor when she saw my baby daughter for the first time). Now that Madeline is in elementary school and is all ears whenever anyone talks to me in front of her, I’m less likely to give ad hoc lectures on adopting from China.
There is one question that when asked by someone, however well-meaning they may be, stops me in my tracks.
“How much did she cost?”
I was dumbfounded the first time someone actually uttered those words and thankfully, it doesn’t happen often. But now, when it does, there’s usually a first grader in the vicinity that I need to protect from someone else’s cluelessness.
2 months ago