At a party this weekend, someone I met was telling me about this mysterious guy he knew a little bit, a fellow regular at a bar he went to a lot in his '20s. The guy would sit in a corner by himself, drawing and reading. He always had a tab, which his family would pay. The person at the party who was telling me about him found out that I know the family who owns the bar and asked me to find out about the mystery-guy, if he was still living and doing okay.
Today, I ran into a member of the family who owns the bar, so I asked him about the artistic fella I'd heard about at the party. He told me that the guy is basically homeless and has spent the last fifteen years sleeping on the back porch of the bar. He's very artistic and intelligent, and his family is very wealthy. Oh, and you know what else?
"He's adopted. Yeah, all the kids in that family were adopted."
Nice. And what does this have to do with the story? What does his having been adopted have to do with anything?
I wouldn't say that I got mad. But I was certainly exasperated by the realization that so many people still have the misperception that anyone who was adopted is "damaged goods" somehow, that any problem they face in their life can be chalked up to their being adopted, that any difficulties their family goes through also is due to the adoption.
Sometimes I feel like our family exists in a bubble of wonderful, understanding, compassionate, open-hearted people who love us all unconditionally. I truly feel this way 99.9% of the time, so it's somewhat of a shocker when I encounter someone who is holding on tightly to antiquated ideas about what it means to be adopted. It's hard for me to just brush it off. I know I need to prepare our child(ren) for the times that they will have encounters like the one I had today (and in case anyone thinks I'm simply being too sensitive, the person I talked to today is the same one who once told me and another adoptive mom, out of the blue, that he "could never love an adopted child as much as my own." Well, thanks for letting us know. I shook off the shock of hearing the boneheaded comment and let him know what a good thing it is that he's not adopting then).
This is why I get so excited when I see stories like this one, and I want to know more. Isn't there a book out there about successful and famous adoptees? Does such a think exist? If not, I hereby copyright the idea. I would very much like to give this book to the bonehead I talked to today.