Most people think twice before asking strangers personal questions. There is a line that typically isn’t crossed- nobody asks you how much money you make or questions if the man standing next to you is your husband. But, for some reason, the rules of etiquette don’t seem to apply when it comes to children.
We brought Grae and RJ with us to our OB appointment this morning and we were asking them if they were excited to hear their baby sister or baby brother’s heartbeat for the first time. The doctor (who was in the room for our entire conversation) turned around and blatently stated, “Well one of these children belong to you.” Ummm, excuse me? Did I just hear you correctly? I was so shocked, I froze dead in my tracks. Five minutes passed, and another Nurse Practitioner walked in. Her first comment- I couldn’t make this up if I tried- was to address RJ: “Well I know where he (Grae) gets his red hair, but WHERE DO YOU COME FROM?” My blood was (and still is) boiling. The original doctor came back with a third, completely INSENSITIVE, comment that I think I blacked out.
I’ve been asked the million dollar question: “Are they brothers?” too many times to count. And, although even that offended me at first, I have perfected the answer: “Well they aren’t sisters!” I say with a smile and a wink.
End of story.
But, not only were these two healthcare providers ignorant and insensitive, but they were relentless. THREE COMMENTS- each more hurtful than the time before?
RJ’s spirit deflating before our eyes… four little ears listening intently- I said nothing. I did nothing. Ian did nothing. With tears in my eyes… we did and said NOTHING.
After the appointment, Ian walked back to them to explain their mistake. I’ve called both of them and personally explained how it made him feel and what it did to us as a family. I informed the office manager of the ignorance of her practitioners. I’ve ensured that we will not be seeing either of these ladies again for the duration of my pregnancy. But, is this the world that we live in? Will RJ have to answer these questions for the rest of his life? What do we tell him? How do we protect him? He is as much our son as G… I never want him to question that.
I’m ashamed of myself for not having the perfect (OR ANY COMMENT FOR THAT MATTER) comment to shut them down dead in their tracks and I’m ashamed that people think they have the right to say whatever they want to in regards to a child.
Please don’t get me wrong- I LOVE talking about foster care and adoption-this has been the single most important and meaningful decision of our lives, how could I not want to share it? I desperately want to help other people that want to bring children into their homes and share their love. I love answering questions, but I cannot accept hurtful assumptions that make our son question his place in our family.
What should we have done? How would you have handled this?