Why does it matter to you?

Back at home after a particularly long day at work, I bathed the girls in turn. As I was drying Kay, I heard a stranger’s voice from the kitchen below. It turned out to be the handy man who was in to replace our leaky kitchen sink faucet. “She doesn’t look anything like you!” the booming voice proclaimed. I heard K’s voice struggling to be polite as he responded to that rather blunt statement. As I finished dressing Kay and walked down to the kitchen, I noticed him. He layย supine inspecting the underbelly of our sink. Waving Hi! he proceeded to entertain the girls with his small talk. Arms crossed as I do when something bothers me, I was artificially pleasant to the point of going overboard. He was a nice enough man but he started off with the wrong question.

Long after he was gone and yesterday gave way to today, I replayed the conversation from yesterday and ruminated on why it bothered me so much. When we adopted the one thing we thought about and discussed much was the fact that there will be no genetic ties that bind our children and us. It was after much discussion and analysis that we came to the conclusion that the desire to parent transcended the traditional definitions of family. Yet, when we came face to face with the fact that our daughters were nothing like us, defensiveness came rushing from within. I wanted to say “why does it matter?” or “why do you want to know?” or “So what?”. Yet I said nothing choosing to humor his obnoxious curiosity.

This is not the first time nor will it be the last. As I learn to be polite yet protective of my family’s choices, I can’t but help wonder why we have this innate need to know. Why does it matter when something is out of the norm? Does knowing why or what change our view of things? Why do we find it hard to be inclusive? Why do we need to have our choices validated?

Why does it matter to you? Tell me.

8 comments

  1. I thought these kind of things happened in Indian society! Guess it’s everywhere probably more common and casual in India..I guess it’s in the human gene to “know” what we don’t know..it’s also because we are always comparing our lives with others and judging whose life is better..I guess only when someone undergoes something they understand how it feels when strangers try to wok questions and eventually judge you..sad but I don’t think anyone can escape from such things ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  2. That was such a touching post. I’ve always thought of adoption as a wonderful thing, but I’ve never seen it up this close. I feel a mixture of emotions as I read this post, and can imagine how it would have been like for you. Kudos to you for taking the decision to adopt!

    As for your question, I echo what Aarthi has to say. It’s in the human gene to question whatever is uncommon and try to know more about it. When you or your loved ones are under the scanner, it hurts. But, I am sure, once people like you start standing up to those questions, things will change. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I agree,Laksh. But I would like to add that it is basic human curiosity to know what happened if something seems out of the ordinary- the same human curiosity that allows us to look at an injured victim on the side of the road, stop, and spurs us into action….. if I had been in the same boat as that serive person, I am sure I would have felt curious too- may not have voiced it, but would have certainly felt curious. Being an avid reader of your blog, though, I do know your story as much as you have chosen to reveal it, and would not be curious if I ever ran into you ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I think everyone of us is curious, laksh. If you think of similar circumstances in life, you would have these questions too. But we dont need to voice every question that comes to our mind, in this case we shouldn’t, a simple check of what this question does to the person would be good.

    Personally, I am thankful as some of my close friends dont press me with a question that lot of strangers do.

  5. Laksh, I get these questions for my biological daughter! It hurts just as much. The assumption that your child should resemble you, which implies ownership. I think the only way to handle these q’s is to get throughly comfy with the fact (which takes a surprisingly long time), and then ask a question back at the questioner or make a firm statement. I usually say, “I think she looks like herself, and is just plain gorgeous’. So far, no comments about my son not resembling me, but I hope I will be ready if and when they come.

  6. Adoption is something I often think of too, but never mustered the courage to do it.. yet! As for such questions, everybody is going to ask the same thing, all the time. They do it between sisters, between mother and daughter, between any two people of the same family!! People are just curious. And equally dumb, to think everybody in a family must look similar!!! I think I would just say ‘Well, they take after my step-mom’s step-son’s niece’s grandad’s sister-in-law’s mother-in-law’s grandmother’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. It’s the beginning of what people say and think. I would much rather have people ask and be able to talk it out. I find it harder to deal with people being studiedly casual. Then you know it’s not, for them.

    It is a fact of our lives but is a minority way of building a family. Let’s face it, adoption is not for everybody. I am quite happy it is for me! ๐Ÿ˜€

    On an aside, you will want to prepare yourself and have the common language ready when you visit India. People sometimes don’t even think before talking. My grandmother (and I find that the older people have the toughest time with it!) asked me what I would do if my son’s birth parents were thieves. In tamil (thirudanukku poranthavana iruntha), it sounds even cruder.

    That time I had the presence of mind to use her kind of logic to say ‘So, then all thieves are adopted?’ I could see that it only shut her up, didn’t make an iota of difference to her thinking.

    I hope you have a lovely time here. Do be prepared, just in case.

  8. I think I would have been curious too…it’s common for me to see white parents in the UK with adopted Asian and black children, but not often the other way around. You’ve done something that’s fairly uncommon and people sometimes just blurt out their surprise without thinking. If I hadn’t read your blog and just bumped into you I would have been very happily surprised, but you would have seen the blatant curiosity on my face clearly.

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