Ignorance Is 1 Thing….

But hurting my child is quite another and believe me when I say this to all those who claim ignorance… hurt my child and you know those National Geographic programs that show a lioness defending her young? Well that won’t even come close to what I’ll become and what I’ll do to you.

So after yesterday’s blog posting, I took Ava for her weekly swimming lesson and her swimming teacher asked about where she got her gorgeous brown eyes and curly hair from. A perfectly innocent question given that I’m fair with blue eyes. I told her that Ava is adopted. And her response:

Wow, but she’s so pretty!

Erm, yes folks, apparently only ugly babies/children get put up for adoption, and any BBM seeing her beautiful baby would set aside all the reason’s why she’s decided to put her child up for adoption in the first place and decide to keep her, well yes, because she was pretty!

The second comment was said while looking straight into Ava’s face, as people do when making these types of statements and she said:

I don’t understand how any mother could give her child away!

I almost reached across and gave her a snot, nat (wet) klap (slap)!

So coming back to the issue of ignorance. Well, there’s ignorance and then there’s just plain stupidity! And I’m afraid that a lot of comments on adoption or surrogacy or any of the alternative paths to parenthood are often treated with a blend of both ignorance and stupidity.

What will happen when Ava is older and she can understand those types of comments? Believe it or not, while it may not always seem that way, children are not stupid and even though it may seem like they never listen, they usually hear most of what is said. I won’t tolerate those types of comments made in front of her. I won’t allow anyone, whether through ignorance or stupidity, to make comments that will cause her to feel insecure or call to question her sense of being, her sense of who she is and where she came from, in anyway.

As with any parent, protecting my child is of utmost importance. She will have enough experiences in life that will make her feel less than or insecure, without having to deal with the added benefit of people’s ignorance and stupidity. Of course, how Walter and I choose to parent her will play a large part in her sense of self and in her sense of security but that can all be destroyed by one stupid comment like the one above.

All of you who are reading, whether you’re a lurker or an active commenter, I hope that these series of blog postings on her adoption, on her circumstance, on our BBM and on BBM’s in general will help you all to have a better understanding of the very special miracle that is adoption.  A fellow Mommy Blogger sent me a very interesting link to a blog yesterday that also goes in more detail into what not to ask about adoption, I wish the world at large could read this posting.

Walter and I have taken a very firm stance on these issues and we have already distanced ourselves from anyone who has come across, in anyway, to be less than supportive of our our circumstance or anyone who see’s Ava as less than because of her circumstance.  While I can forgive ignorance, I can’t forget what certain people have said. I won’t forget, for my child’s sake, I won’t.

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  • Reply Hanneke C

    Thanks again Sharon for the insight into adoption! Your post yesterday touched a cord as well as a mother! WOW BBM are amazing!

    August 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm
  • Reply darylfaure

    Oh my hat but people can say the most ridiculous things. You have to wonder where they were brought up! I can imagine that your mother lion reared it’s head.
    I nearly took out a cashier at Woolies the other day who said to Dylan, “what’s a big boy like you still doing in nappies”.
    Strength to you Sharon. I’m sure that you, Ava and W are still going to encounter many insensitive people, but don’t take any nonsense from anybody who threatens little Ava in any way.

    August 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm
  • Reply Marcia (123 blog)

    Glad you liked that link.

    And as I read your post my mouth was quite literally hanging open. I can’t believe she said that.

    The bigger question is what did you do/ say? 🙂

    August 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Mostly I was so stunned that she could even say that in front of my child, that I’m not sure I responded in the right way, but I did tell her that placing a child for adoption is not exactly giving your child away!

      August 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm
  • Reply Sue Stuart

    What a ridiculous thing to say!

    August 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm
  • Reply Gwen

    Ouch. Perhaps you could give her a call and explain why her remarks were inappropriate. Hopefully she’ll take it in good part and not get defensive. My father’s partner was adopted. She turns fifty this year and still speaks warmly of how special she was made to feel as a child by her parents who really drummed home the message that being adopted means that you’re extra-loved. I think that all the love you’re lavishing on Ava will help to “idiot-proof” her from silly remarks in the future (which I suppose are inevitable).

    August 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm
  • Reply em's mommy

    O my word shaz!! Some people really!!

    August 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply Mash

    I guess you could just respond that placing your baby for adoption is one of the most selfless things a mother could do, only someone who is really able to put her child’s needs ahead of her own is truly capable of that kind of courage and love.

    I’m guessing you’ll be getting a few of those comments over the next few years, so it’s best to get prepared!

    August 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm
  • Reply Laura

    I must admit to saying one or more of these comments – mainly the “I could never do that” comment BUT I have always said it knowing that when faced with a situation where it is an ‘option’ I may feel differently.

    I have actually just hired a BBM – she is still pregnant – due mid Dec so these posts are almost helping me to understand where she is and will be emotionally!

    August 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm
  • Reply eggsinarow

    Hi from ICLW. My mom was adopted, and she told me that the only thing that ever got to her was this: her mom looked like Jackie Kennedy. My mom didn’t. People would say to her, “Why don’t you look like your mom?” She used to say, “Why don’t you look like my mom?” LOL. It’s unreal what people will say, even without malice. BTW, Ava is gorgeous! Who cares where those curls came from? 🙂

    August 23, 2011 at 6:11 pm
  • Reply Captain Murdock

    Thanks for the link-up. I have to admit … the “post-adoption-smart” mom that I am reads these comments “I could never give up my child” and I absolutely shudder with horror. But, the many years ago, young and dumb (can’t remember if I was a mom yet or not) person certainly *thought* those things (thankfully I had the common sense to never say them out loud). It’s a basic lack of understanding that you really can never judge or begin to know what you would do until you are in a certain situation. It’s basic arrogance that assumes all moms are on equal footing to provide for their child. What a tragedy that there is such a huge disparity of footings.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm
  • Reply How could you give your child away??? | Tan32's Blog

    […] a post yesterday and today on things not to say to Birthmoms and Adoptive parents. Todays one is Ignorance Is 1 Thing…. and being a Birthmom I have delt with all of these but I wanted to answer this question. My […]

    August 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm
  • Reply tan32

    Again this is so relevant.

    Ps I did a post about it and linked you hope you don’t mind.

    August 23, 2011 at 11:15 pm
  • Reply Willow

    What is wrong with people?! What awful things to say in front of your daughter! Since we adopted 2 years ago, we honestly haven’t gotten as many dumb comments as I expected, but there have been plenty and I know there will be more. Let me know if you come up with any perfect retorts–I get so flabbergasted by nonsense like that instructor’s that it’s hard to say the right thing!

    August 24, 2011 at 3:10 am
  • Reply kate

    Some people need to be slapped; I think of the times in my life someone made a comment like that, and thankfully I never had a child to protect. If you can handle it with grace, good for you.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:27 am
  • Reply Margot

    I am gobsmacked. Would lOve to read what happens next in your interactions with the teacher

    August 24, 2011 at 5:43 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    Oh … my … speechlessness. There is always that one chop..

    (eggsinarow’s comment had me LOL!)

    August 24, 2011 at 7:14 am
  • Reply Lesley

    Maybe have informative quick replies ready for when it unfortunately happens again? Will check out link.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:40 am
  • Reply liz

    Hi Sharon, I’ve heard it all as a mother of 2 adopted children and now my daughter age 10 is getting ignorant/stupid comments from her peers!!

    August 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm
  • Reply MommyInWaiting

    WOW – Sharon, that is just shocking. I am with Gwen on this, call her and educate her in the nicest way possible, While staying away from these stupid people can certainly help protect Ava it doesn’t protect the next child this stupid woman may encounter. Strength Shaz!

    August 24, 2011 at 1:21 pm
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