Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gay families eat donuts too.

Somehow Tony and I have given our four-year-old the impression that donuts are an intregal part of Catholic liturgy. In the Catholic mass there's this pause right after communion where everyone's silent and people are either sitting or kneeling in prayer. It's very solemn.

And that's when the kid turns to me and says "We get donuts now?!"

And I whisper to him, "One more song. Sit down."

Then all the other kids look at eachother like they're saying "Donuts? Did he just say donuts? That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Donuts!"

So this past Sunday, as is my custom, I drive us to the donut shop, me, Tony, Nick and our friend's 13-year-old. Now pulling into the parking space in front of the donut shop, I hit the breaks too hard, and spilled the kid's water bottle, so the three of them went into the donut shop, while I cleaned up the puddle in the back seat.

As I walk into the donut shop, some worried-looking lady about my age looks me right in the eye and points to Nick, who's standing in line with Tony and the 13-year-old and says "Are you adopting him?"

And the question kind of takes me by surprise, because why would you ask me if my child is adopted, right? We look alike, and most people just assume he's my biological child. And why would she say "Are you adopting him?" (indicating that the adoption is not yet final) instead of "Is he adopted?"?

But anyway, I answer the lady in the affirmative, and she asks me where I'm adopting him from, and I tell her the name of the adoption agency Tony and I used.

Then she says to me "They allow gays to adopt boys? Homosexuals?"

And that's when I knew this conversation was not going to a good place, so I just said "Yes," and turned away, and as I did the lady said to no one in particular, "Gays, these two!" and she left.

And I didn't know to feel glad that she left or disappointed that she didn't stick around and ask more questions. I remember Barbara Jordan (one of my heroes growing up) used to say you should talk to people about their prejudices, not just walk away from them or shout them down. But I find that's not always so easy in practice.

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8 comments:

Jarred said...

That's truly a sad story. And I think you're absuloutely right. It's a good idea to talk to someone about their prejudices, but not everyone wants to discuss them with you.

And quite frankly, I think more of us would be willing to sit through a Mass if we knew donuts were a part of the bargain. ;)

Norm! said...

That story is so infuriating. I can't believe she confronted you --especially in front of your child.

I don't know what I would have done in your situation, but clearly the woman was less than sane.

grace said...

"They allow gays to adopt boys? Homosexuals?"

What a horribly RUDE and ignorant person.

Here are a two responses I came up with on the fly:

"Why yes Maam', I'm not sure if they allow bigots to adopt as well but I can give you their number if you'd like to call and find out."

or...

"Are you more disappointed that he's a boy or that we're not lesbians?"

In the future, maybe you should just reply with "why do you ask?". It's a question I've finally learned to use and it really can deflect a great deal of passive agression by putting the offender on the spot. I'm curious, does Nick even KNOW you guys are gay? I have a lesbian cousin and she and her partner have a 4 yr.old who has no clue as of yet. It just hasn't come up in his little 4 yr.old world to even ask or know about that yet.

kurt_t said...

Jarred,
I think you'll find Catholicism to be one of the more donut-centric faiths, but it really varies a lot by parish.

norm!,
Yeah, I think the woman might have some mental health issues.

Pam,
I wish I had thought to ask that question. ("Why do you ask?") Psychologists say that's a good way of defusing anger is you ask a person a question because it engages the more sophisticated part of the brain.

I don't think Nick has a real concept of Tony and me as a couple. He does know that some people belong together in a couple, and if he sees one half of a couple without the other one, he will usually ask where the other person is. And he asks questions to try to figure out if people are a couple. "Does he live in your house?" "Does she sleep in your bed?" "Do you kiss her?"

Jarred said...

I bet it's cute to watch Nick ask such questions.

kurt_t said...

Oh yeah. Very cute!

Ally said...

Oh, Kurt...I hate this for you. If you're able to let this go, you're a better person than I am.

Mark said...

Kurt I think it is great that you are adopting. It really is too bad that individuals like this woman who was so rude, don't look at the love that you are offering and have to share in raising a child.

In most gay or lesbian adoptions, the child more than not grows up being heterosexual! I honestly can't say I wouldn't have lost my cool in that situation.

My partner and I have talked about the possibility of adoption for us.
We do feel the void in our lives.

Kudos to you!
Your posts are refreshing!