Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The One Question Not to Ask APs

Hmmm, there are so many!  But Forbes brings it down to just one, and since it's Forbes, you can probably guess which one:
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.

* * *

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.

7 comments:

Molly W. said...

Ugh. Yes, this. I typically say something like, "Well, you know, adoption costs vary. But there are hospital costs to deliver a baby, and no one ever asks about those."

Maybe the worst, though, was when I told my (3-year-old!) daughter I was happy I got to be her mom, and she said, "Cause you could afford to buy me."

Reagan said...

Whenever I've been asked "how much were they?" I tell them that my kids are priceless!

Sunday Taylor said...

I am sorry, am I being naïve, or is there not a cost to adopting outside of from the essentially fee free foster care system? If other questions are somehow deemed as acceptable curiosity, how is it that this one is not? Maybe the best retort could very well be, “if you have to ask you can’t afford it…” because let’s face it private adoption costs a LOT of money.

Mei-Ling said...

[I typically say something like, "Well, you know, adoption costs vary. But there are hospital costs to deliver a baby, and no one ever asks about those."]

Probably because while a mother is expected to pay for her own hospital costs, the adoptive parents are not - unless of course, they wish to adopt that particular child. But even then, they are not obligated to adopt.

Mei-Ling said...

[Maybe the worst, though, was when I told my (3-year-old!) daughter I was happy I got to be her mom, and she said, "Cause you could afford to buy me."]

... O.o

jj said...

"Maybe the worst, though, was when I told my (3-year-old!) daughter I was happy I got to be her mom, and she said, "Cause you could afford to buy me."

Out of the mouths of babes....

-J.Darling said...

Are you ready to laugh?

My brother and I had a great fight once. A little backstory, we're both adopted from different biological parents.

Bro: Your mom didn't want you!
Me: Well your mom didn't want you either!
Bro: Well... I Cost more! (as if that made him more valuable)
Me: Well they didn't get their money's worth!

Yeah... I don't remember how we resolved it, but I'm guessing it was through a long silence and changing the subject.

I'd dare someone to ask anyone who's had IVF "How much did your kid(s) cost?"