Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Three Scenes

Last night at work:

I was showing (with glee) my photos of Ruo-Ruo to the two gals I work with, one of whom is 80-something years old and said "She looks just like you. And David." Sweet! The other, who prefers dogs to children, was neutral, but wore an expression of "Better her than me." A third gal, in a holiday sweater, was subbing and we hadn't met before. After I explained that the photo was of my new daughter, she whiplashed back, "Where are her parents?" I felt my temples tighten, but smiled. "You're lookin' at one of 'em." "But where are her parents?" (Ping-ponging.) "I don't know," I admitted. "Somewhere in China." "But where?" (Teflon-like.) "She was abandoned." "Why?" "I don't know." I admitted again, and it reverberated in my head. "Why? Why was she abandoned?" Good question. Who abandoned my daughter? I figured my "Congratulations!" and "She's beautiful!" were not forthcoming. Got that right. It's very depressing to show off photos of your own kid and hear only "Where are her parents?" in response. It feels incredibly bizaare. That's not where my head's at right now. This one is finally mine--why is someone questioning that? One of those inconvenient adoption scenarios I'd forgotten about.

This morning at the pediatrician's office:

It's weird to sit in a pediatrician's office without a kid. It's even weirder when the nurse comes in calling your name and continues straight through to the next room when she sees only you and your husband sitting there. She returned anon, looking puzzled. "That's me!" I said brightly. She knit her brow. She knit once and then purled twice. "Um." she said, flipping through the papers on her clipboard. (This clinic specializes in international adoption!) "I look pretty old, don't I?" I asked. "Um." she said again, still flipping. "You're wondering where the baby is, aren't you?" Now I had her attention. She smiled. "Yeah." "She's still in China." (beat) "OHHHH! Come with me!" She took us to a little room and proceeded to ask my age and some other stuff before she congratulated us and left. David whispered that maybe she was going to get one of those little rubber hammers to bonk me on the head and knees with. But our actual consult with Dr. Dern was delightful. She gave us some prescriptions, some free samples, and some peace of mind. She also suggested that the mark on Ruo-Ruo's forehead in her photos was actually a bruise (aka temporary) and not a birthmark like we've been thinking, especially since she spends her time in a playroom that has hardwood floors and walls. All in all, a satisfying visit.

This afternoon, at Long's Drugs:

Woman, not unsympathetically, surveying my voluminous cache of stomach and cold meds parading by on the conveyer belt: "Oh, someone's not feeling good." I smiled. "Actually, I'm feeling fine, but I'm going to China, and think I might not be feeling fine there." "China! How exciting!" She seemed so thrilled that I couldn't resist adding, "And I'm going there to adopt a baby." "WOW!" She was bowled over. "That is so wonderful!" Suddenly I heard the checker saying, "My nephew is in China right now, adopting a baby! He and his wife are picking up a little girl!" "They're in the travel group right before me!" I practically yelled. "Do you have a picture?" the checker asked, "I haven't seen a picture of my niece yet." "Well, I just happen to have some right here..." I pulled out one of the Ruo-Ruo business cards that David made me. "OHHHH!" chorused the checker and the woman in line. "She's precious!" Now this was more like it. "It's almost her birthday." I announced, warming to my subject. "You must not know what to do with yourself, waiting for her!" the woman in line burst out. You know, that's pretty close to being slap on the nose of what I feel. "Yes," I gushed. "Every minute I keep thinking things like, 'I have to get her some Baby Tylenol!' That's why I'm here." Everyone laughed with delight. At this point, a small crowd had formed, and by the time I left the pharmacy, I had the well-wishes and have-a-good-holidays of a bunch of really, really nice strangers. That was awesome.

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