While being adopted is always an integral part of my identity, the older I get and the further I get in my reunion with my biological family, the less often I get triggered by words and phrases that send me into a spiral of emotion. However, this past weekend I have had a few instances where I vacillate between extreme anger and sadness and tend to shut down in conversation.
I was playing with Potamus, who was being quite cute, and my a-dad said, “awe, do you think you’ll keep him?”
Through gritted teeth, and trying to pretend I was distracted by the TV, I simply nodded my head.
And, not picking up on the social cues, he went on to say, “yeah, he’s a keeper, as the proverbial saying goes.”
What pisses me off about statements like that is the underlying assumption that a) there are certain babies that aren’t “keepers” and b) that my raising my child is somehow dependent on the actions that said child takes. I held my tongue, because adoption talk with my parents is usually futile, and my dad has been super defensive lately, but I wish to express how disgusting that phrase is, because, how I interpret it is: that I was not a keeper. That somehow, for some reason, I, as a baby, was not cute/smart/funny/cuddly/precocious/etc enough to be “a keeper.” Because, you know, she gave me away. She didn’t keep me.
My adult self knows that that line of thinking is ‘ridiculous,’ but my baby self believes it to be true.
And I am disgusted that anybody would insinuate that Potamus could do anything to make me give him up, away, or not ‘keep him.’ I would rather die than give him away to be raised by strangers. Of course he’s ” a keeper,” because he is my baby, and mamas want to keep their babies.
But then he looks so cute with his adopted grampy, that I can’t stay mad for too long.