I attended a book club meeting last night. We had a great time discussing South of Broad by Pat Conroy (I enjoyed it but didn’t love it) and eating, drinking, and chatting.
One of my book club friends, C, is very inquisitive about our adoption. She always makes a point to ask how things are going, or if we’ve heard any news. As usual, she asked what was happening with the adoption. I told her that if the current pace of referrals continue, we’re looking at some time around June for a referral, but of course I noted that it could be sooner or later. I feel like I’ve explained what a referral is many times, but I still often get the question that C asked next (although not in the same words). She said, “So is that when you’ll acquire the baby?” [Emphasis added by me.]
Now, I know what she was trying to ask. She was trying to ask if that was when we would be traveling to Ethiopia to bring our child home with us. But, she chose the word acquire, which really rubbed me the wrong way. To me, acquire is a term you use when making a transaction, or obtaining a thing. Not when adopting a child.
I was very proud of myself in that moment, because I talked to her about the use of that word. I said, “Now, C, we don’t like to use the word acquire when we’re talking about adoption.” I was very friendly about it, and it made her chuckle a bit. She said, “Well, I suppose that’s not a great word,” and I went on to talk about how acquire could imply a purchase (and adoption is most certainly not a purchase) and is mostly used in terms of obtaining things, not bringing a child into a family. She totally got it.
I was proud of myself for addressing the comment and not just letting it slide. I think C was glad I said something, too. I know that she and certainly 90% of our other friends don’t know much about adoption, and that most of what they learn is coming from us directly. I also know that this is just a tiny taste of the types of questions we will get for the next however many years (probably forever!) and that I need to be prepared and give appropriate responses, depending on the person asking the question and the situation (like whether our child is with me at the time). I felt like this was a good start, though.
As an added aside, at our meeting last night, we selected the books we will read in 2011. I’m excited that my suggestion, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, made the cut [no pun intended]. I can’t even count the number of people who have read this book and suggested it to me, both because it’s a great book and because part of it is set in Ethiopia. We like to pick themes from the books we read in terms of the food for our meetings, so come March (when we meet to discuss this book), the ladies will be coming to our house for an Ethiopian meal. Let’s hope we learn how to cook Ethiopian food in the meantime!