So when we got pregnant, I didn’t fully expect the kind of questions I would get like we did when we were adopting. I did wonder how all my friends who have adopted might respond, but there were no worries there. Everyone has been excited and supportive. It’s the strangers or people on the outside of your circle of friends and acquaintances that ask more than you would like. For example…
A parent of child at Elise’s school, “I didn’t know you were pregnant. And you tried for a long time?” Me, “Yes, I am. No, we didn’t try for a long time. We just adopted first, and this actually took less time than we expected.” Parent,”How far along are you?” Me, “I’m 25 weeks. I’m due May 9.” Parent, “Oh, you’re big. You’re not having twins?” Me, “No, I’m not.” (I don’t even know this lady’s name, but she always talks to me.)
My optometrist, “Is this your first?” Me, “It’s my first pregnancy, but we have another daughter we adopted.” Optometrist, “Not to get too personal, but did you have trouble the first time?” Me, “No, we just wanted to adopt first.” Optometrist, “Oh that’s great because you always hear those stories about the people adopt and then get pregnant after.” Me, “Yes, but that’s not our situation.” (I had not seen my optometrist in 3 years. He’s definitely a stranger.)
Then there are people who are more appropriate…
A professional at work, “I didn’t realize you were pregnant.” Me, “Yes, I am.” Professional, “Is this your first?” Me, “It’s my first pregnancy. We have a daughter we adopted.” Professional, “Where did you adopt her from?” Me, “Vietnam.” Professional, “Oh, I’ve seen you with her. I didn’t realize she was yours…I have friends who have adopted internationally and one that has adopted two domestically.” (I think this one went the best, because she didn’t tell me I was big. She had no reason to know Elise is my daughter because we haven’t come in contact with each other until this year other than passing in the halls which means she hadn’t been nosy before. And, she knew there were different words for the kinds of adoption – domestic and international.)
Now, these aren’t so bad; I’m getting use to answering questions about my infertility or fertility. I think I just thought I might be done, but I’m clearly not.
The other development we see is Elise is starting to retain words from her adoption story or ask for things that mention Vietnam. I have books about Vietnam and adoption and her life book always available to her, but she’s now to the age where words stick out more than make sense. We read through her life book and watched the videos of us in Vietnam on her Gotcha Day, December 18. She likes the cute baby, and she listens very intently. But, she doesn’t always connect that she’s the baby we are talking about.
She also has a book called, “When You Were Born in Vietnam” that she has started asking for a bedtime. So far the thing that has stood out to her is the picture of kids with no shoes; she can’t understand why they don’t have shoes on or why they don’t just go get them. It makes for an interesting thought process when I think of how I want to explain it and what her mind is thinking since she has a ridiculous number of shoes in her closet – that’s why it’s so clear to her that these children should just have them; she does.
She also recently asked me to sing her a song, so I sang her the one I made up when she was a baby. I inexpertly changed the words to Twinkle, Twinkle: “Little, little, little Elise, you are a such a precious baby. You are loved by your mommy and daddy. We went to Vietnam to get you sweet baby. Little, little, little Elise, you are such a precious baby.” What’s cute is Elise has started to hug my stomach and call Maggie, “Precious baby;” Elise is such a sweet child. (I say inexpertly because she asks Scott to sing it too, and he makes up his own tune since Twinkle, Twinkle isn’t a good fit.)
Then, the other night at bath time, she said, “I born in Vietnam. You born in Vietnam?” Me, “No, I wasn’t born in Vietnam. I was born in Texas.” Elise, “Yes you were born Vietnam,” so she has some new vocabulary just not the meaning. I’m pretty sure it’s all swirling around in there. It’s just nice to see that some of things we have done since before she could understand, she’s now asking for herself.
All this to say, people still get intrusive, but I wouldn’t change anything. I love my first child Elise who is adopted from Vietnam, and I will love Maggie who I will give birth to (though I try not to dwell on that reality and thought of future experience). And things might get messy and confusing, but it will be great. It’s great that currently our smaller than average two and half-year old is asleep in our king size bed with her daddy, and she has her 6 and ½ foot dad clinging to the edge – she’s almost kicked him out! He may have to find a new bed once he has three girls in his home.
PS – No, I will not post a pregnancy picture. You’ll just have to imagine me as huge as people are suggesting. And don’t ask Scott, he may accidentally put his foot in his mouth again.