I love getting questions about adoption but, honestly, some of them are just strange. I have had the same conversation several times when people find out that when the adoption is finished PK will be around 18 months at the youngest:
Lovely Person: A toddler? You do realize they’ll be talking then, right?
Me: I hope so!
Lovely Person: They’ll be speaking Polish.
Me: Polish kids typically do.
Lovely Person: How will that work?
Me: Well, by that point, I’ll know more Polish than “The man is driving the blue car” and “I would like something to drink” so we’ll have that. Besides, kids at that age are like sponges and they’ll start picking up English pretty quickly.
Lovely Person: Huh. I guess you’re right. Maybe it will work.
This conversation has happened so much it has gone from mind-boggling to amusing. One question that still confuses me, however, is “Do you know what you’re getting into?” When I was first asked the question, I thought people were playing off of the truth that parenting is so much more than what you think it is when you are on the outside looking in. The actual meaning became clear with further explanation. Basically, I’ve found, “Do you know what you’re getting into?” is a polite way to ask, “You are aware that you adopted child will grow up to be a serial killer/horribly maladjusted person/mutant, don’t you?”
I’m aware that Hollywood loves to capitalize on extremes and the unknown and so adoption is a great way to play off of “the bad seed” and “the devil next door” tropes. The film “Orphan” even goes so far as to have the little girl actually be a grown woman from Estonia who is mentally unbalanced and kills people. I know that our child will have a history and baggage and possibly even illnesses and handicaps. Then again, who doesn’t?
If you look at Becky and me, you’ll see we’re not the most shining of genomes to combine – I have Tourette’s, and scoliosis, deafness, and dementia run in my family. Becky has her previous illness as a starter. Cancer and all sorts of other problems
have popped up in both our families. Basically, if we had biological children odds are high that they would either turn out to be the X-Men and save the world or the Horsemen of Apocalypse who will destroy the world and recreate it in their image. It’s probably in the world’s best interest that we’re adopting. Take a moment to look at your family, though, before you start thinking, “Man, it sucks to be them!” Everyone I’ve run across has something or someone in their family that they hope skips a generation. We all have issues; not everyone has the luxury of hiding them.
Yes, PK could turn out to be a serial killer (God forbid!), but they could end up curing AIDS, being the next Indiana Jones or writing the Broadway musical by which all other shows are judged – just like your kids. As far as physical needs, PK might have have those, too. Kids adopted internationally often have some problem. It could be a major issue or something as common as ADD, in which case PK will fit right in to the Arthur clan. Becky and I have to talk about what we can and can’t handle physically, emotionally and financially. We’ve already chatted about a few of those (we know we’d be open to a deaf child due to my family background) and there’s more conversations to come. They aren’t decisions to be made lightly.
I suppose in the grand scheme of things, Becky and I don’t know what we’re getting ourselves into – just like any other expectant parents.