What does it matter whose car we came in?

1 Nov

Photo courtesy of
‘Manly Harbour pool, 193-’
courtesy of ‘State Library of New South Wales collection’

I wrestled with whether to share this article, for reasons that will be brutally obvious once you get started on the article. Spoiler: the question asker is a complete loon.

Never the less, this question to Salon’s Cary Tennis “How do I tell my daughter she’s adopted? has some excellent moments in it. It’s also got some really awful moments in it, but they manage to raise some interesting questions. If I’m going to defend unpleasantness in fiction then I’ve got to be willing to learn something from real-life uck, right?

From the start I started getting irrationally offended when friends referred to it. I cut off someone because she said “oh, she has really taken to you.” Like, why should she not, she is my daughter.


Everything I read tells me that this information should be shared early. However, I also read that adopted children grapple with the issue, agonize over it. I mean, why should my lovely daughter have to deal with something her peers do not?

and wrapping up with

I just want to be her mother, not her adoptive mother. 

To which I say, yeah, totally! What makes a family connection isn’t that moment of conception or birth or issuing of a birth certificate. It’s each moment on top of the next and the next, the decisions we make over and over again to be and stay a family. So why is this one tiny thing so much the topic of conversation that it gets equal billing with being a mother?

But… you are her adoptive mother. It’s a simple and unarguable fact of how that child came into your life. Isn’t that just fine? Adopted children were chosen in a way most kids are not. Does bristling at the raising of the topic imply that it’s a problem or something to be hidden?

Where’s the line between “yes, and it’s no big deal” and “holy cow, would you just shut up about it?”

Anyway, check it out for yourself. I think the writer is a nut and Tennis’ answer isn’t perfect. But I do like his metaphor that I took the post title from.

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