Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I’m just back from the dentist from a cleaning. Man, I love my dentist! He’s done some great stuff with my teeth over the last year and a half. I never thought I’d ever say I loved a dentist!

But, that’s not the real reason to write tonight. The hygienist who cleaned my teeth was someone I haven’t met before, despite the numerous visits I’ve had there over the last several month. Very pleasant woman, and she didn’t hurt me at all, which is unusual for me when I get my teeth cleaned. Usually my teeth/gums ache for the rest of the day.

But I digress, the real reason I’m writing is because of some of the things she said. I was explaining that I was in the midst of IVF treatments and she asked if I had any other kids, so I told her about The Boy. But during the conversation I clarified that I had never been pregnant and that we had adopted TB from Russia.

This is the conversation:

Ignorant (but nice) dental hygienist (IDH): So, his parents didn’t want him?

Me: mouth hanging open, and not because she was doing anything yet “umm..well, its’ a different culture in Russia, and she was single, so I don’t think it was really an option for her.” But in my head I’m thinking “holy crap lady, I’m his parent, of course I want him, what kind of question is that asshat?”

IDH: “so he doesn’t have any contact with his parents then?”

Me: thinking “damn lady, do I just let this go or do I tell you how insulting your terminology is?”, but saying “well no, it doesn’t work like that over there, although we did just recently make contact with her father, but we initiated it and that’s unusual over there.”

IDH: “Oh, so he’ll know his mom and dad then, that’s good for when he’s older and wants to know who his parents are.”

Me: thinking “what the fuck!”

So I totally whimped out on the opportunity to educate this woman on positive adoption terminology. I’ve heard and read tons of stories about things like this, and know all the appropriate come backs, but I didn’t use any of them. I know she didn’t intend to be rude or hurtful.

Here’s my question to you dear readers. Did I do my son and the adoption community a disservice by not using this as an opportunity to educate her? Or was being nice ok, since I figured anything I said would make her feel bad? And me sound bitchy?

There’s been a lot of “conversation” going on in the adoption blogosphere (well the limited number I read anyway) lately regarding the feelings of birth parents and (versus?) the entitlement of adoptive parents to be happy and not feel obligated to feel guilty about their happiness.

I’m going to write about that soon. This is a topic I’ve thought a lot about since we first decided to adopt.

But what I wrote about fromt he dental office...that's a different issue yes? Who are his parents? Who is his Mom?


  1. Well it depends. I sometimes use the words Mom to describe Bug's birthmom. If someone asks if she gets to see "her mom", I know what they mean. Sometimes I will rephrase it like, "Oh, do you mean does she get to see her birthmom?" which indicates to them proper terminology without sounding mean.

  2. Ugh that pisses me off. But I probably would have not said much either, as I tend to be non-confrontational. But I would have stewed about it all week. She was way off base and totally needs to be corrected, but I agree its not necesssarily your job to do it all the time if you just don't feel like it and you just want to get your teeth cleaned and not get into a big discussion.