Second-Class Mom?

Recently I attended a baby shower for wonderful friend of mine. Everyone was excited about her upcoming baby. There was another friend there who was also pregnant. They were talking shop about baby items and trying to juggle two toddlers, as they each have a toddler also. I said something about using a double stroller. I got a quick look, then they went back to talking to one another. Did I just get slighted? Am I not to be included in expectant mother talk? What is going on here? I’m going to have a new baby, too..

Now don’t get me wrong,  I don’t need constant affirmation or to be coddled. I’m not a whiner or in need of special treatment. And my friends don’t even know they did it. They are both really great people and have supported our adoption and bought gifts for our soon-to-be son. But that isn’t the first or only moment where I felt that my expectant motherhood wasn’t as “real” as other people’s. But it got me thinking, no wonder so many adult adoptees feel like second-class citzens. They’re viewed that way even before they arrive! Isn’t my son as real, as alive, as any baby that would be in my womb? I guess to me he is, but to many others, he’s not.

I don’t expect everyone to totally “get” adoption. It is long and complicated with lots of waiting, changes, and frustration thrown in for good measure. Perhaps also, it seems so uncertain to people that they don’t want to get too excited in case of a big let down. 

But just to let you know. My son is real. And deserving, just like everyone else’s kids. He is not a second-class citizen.

And I am not a second-class mom.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karoliina
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 01:08:30

    I don’t have words to express how happy I am that you had the courage to write about this. I was so despressed while we were waiting – for these reasons among some other things. It is special. You are supposed to feel special! And to be treated special! It’s no excuse that you don’t have a belly or frequent doctor’s visits. No excuse! I really wished people at Trader Joe’s would have smiled at me because I was expecting. I wish I had had frequent visits to (no, not the social worker!!!) some place, just to keep me assured that the process was moving along. I think God gave us Tinsae partly because I had insensitive friends (really, I did). And I mean Tinsae as a supercute superfunny child – now that I walk around with her, everyone smiles!!!
    Anyway, I do feel like for me it really came down to being a second-class woman. Because I couldn’t get pregnant, I also didn’t get to experience the excitement of being pregnant. One of the greatest, most exciting things about being a woman. Right. Gone with the wind…. And it’s not that I would have wanted more (pink) gifts. It’s just the support of a community that I really wish I’d had. My friends and family being there for me. That’s all.
    The shocking thing is, and you’ll notice this too, that some people will simply be surprised that “all of the sudden” you have a son!
    Oh, yeah, we did have a baby shower… two months after coming home with Tinsae. She’d been with us for three months then and was happy to open all the gifts. It was certainly the most awkward baby shower I’ve ever been to… no question about that.
    Oh well. Better luck next time.

    Reply

  2. Laurie
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 17:37:54

    Oh boy, can I relate! I have had my share of awkward bombs dropped on me because people just don’t get it. And those people likely never will. It’s sadly probably not the last time you’ll be overlooked for parenting advice, info, etc. because, for some reason, some people will see your role as mom as if it’s second class status. It can be infuriating, but something we either have to confront and educate people about or shrug off altogether.
    And yeah, I totally hear ya about the implications that has for our kids. And that’s what’s really upsetting.
    Great post – very honest.

    Reply

  3. R Matthews
    Feb 28, 2008 @ 16:23:25

    Just because some folks do get it doesn’t mean you are second class. Under Roman law a natural born child could be disinherited but an adopted child could not. The Romans figured that the natural child may or may not have been plained or wanted. The adoptet child was a diliberate choice so you had to keep them 🙂 That is what make the adoption as a child of God so special. I’m His because he picked me and He is threfore stuck with me. Nice isn’t it. So the next time you get side swiped with an awkward bomb think about the Roman law and your Heavenly Father.
    Uncle R

    Reply

  4. Uncle Ryan
    Feb 28, 2008 @ 16:35:35

    As your brother you know I try to be honest, sometimes wrong, but honest. When you decided to take the path of a adoptive parent, although bravely and loving, deep down you knew comments were going to be made. Wrongfully so, but said. On the other hand comments are made about my family, with two daughters and no boys, many comments were made about my manhood, couldn’t even produce a boy, or my God Jordan (oldest daughter) is so tall what’s up with that. Even though she’s gorgeous and very intelligent, being 5’11” thats the first thing ignorant minds see. I believe we become over sensitive on things said and done, yes some comments are meant to be hurtful, but I also think we hear things, and just simply take it wrong. Just becoming parents we take a harder path through life, but for those that decide or don’t have the option to take the path of a parent are missing out on all the emotions and beauty of seeing such wonderful miracles happen everyday. Stay Strong, Brave and loving and those who purposely or ignorantly comment will soon realize just what they are missing out on.

    With love

    Reply

  5. Leanne
    Feb 28, 2008 @ 21:01:22

    Hey Char!

    Thank you for this honest posting! I can really relate to everything you said…I have totally been there with the same thoughts and feelings! I had an uncle make a comment to me that still makes me cringe thinking about it! Anyway….even though we have never met in person, I just know that you are an incredible mom! I am so happy that the Lord led us to this friendship!

    Love,
    Leanne

    PS – I am loving your blog and loving the name of it (since I used to teach my 7th graders all about the stages of cell division and remember having the same thoughts!)

    Reply

  6. Christina
    Feb 29, 2008 @ 01:40:09

    I’ve been there many times, before and after my kids came home… and I think it hurts the most when it comes from close friends. They really don’t mean to slight me or my kids, but it happens just the same. I also get the opposite of the slight – the spotlight. As in “oh this is my friend Chris – she adopted from Cambodia and Vietnam” … I don’t want extra attention, I just want to be like all the other moms and my kids to be treated like all the other kids.

    Reply

  7. craftymommy
    Feb 29, 2008 @ 18:00:13

    I’m sorry you were slighted by your friends. Totally been there, and now with the sister-in-law just finding out she’s pregnant I can see the same stuff happening over again. A little excitement and inclusion isn’t too much to ask.

    Reply

  8. Mommy
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 02:25:51

    Just got home from church and took time out to read this. My eyes are filled with tears. As this hurts you because of your child, this hurts me because of mine, Char. You see, no matter how old your children ever get they are still your little girls and boys. I know we talked about this the other day and I do understand what you are talking about because I am guilty of being one of those people who can not totally grasp this adoption as being like an expectant Mom. I guess not seeing you gain weight or talking to you everyday about how you feel makes it seem different but believe me once “Little Binh” is here he will be the light of our life just like the other Grandchildren. In the meantime, I hope and pray I myself will be more aware of you inside feelings and not just thinking of physcial feelings. Sorry Char, I am one of the guilty ones here but love you dearly. I love “Little Ava” too and do not want to forget about her in the middle of all this either. Mommy

    Reply

  9. Lori
    Mar 11, 2008 @ 12:12:54

    And you call these people your friends?

    Reply

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