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There has been a funny conversation thread on one of my adoption discussion groups about the Russian personality type:  very nice but not outwardly friendly and very very blunt.  Several told of gruff strangers who went out of their way to help without a word or  smile and then gave their child a chocolate upon departure.  My personal favorite is the frequent response “of course, of course”  with dismissive hand gesture.

The discussion started when one of the members complained about comments that a guy in Russia made about her email address.  It had the phrase “Russiancuties” in it and he said in a reply email to her… are your children really that attractive?  Ooh, Gemini hooted and hollered about that one.

When we started the adoption process I worried that I wasn’t outwardly excited enough as other people that I admittedly only knew through their online personalities.  Sample identities:

  • growingfamily@
  • alexssmom@
  • sueadopts2@
  • adoptivemom2010@
  • babiesacomin@

I made up the last one, but the others are real.  Granted these email addresses were probably created during the process to join the adoption discussion group, but they just seemed so much more animated about everything.  We didn’t really tell anybody, didn’t start a blog about the mind-numbing minutiae of the process, and the only thing I bought besides books was the vintage yellow and green giraffe lamp that I kept under my desk without opening for almost a year.

Then I worried that I would become one of those enthralled parents who talks non-stop about their kid’s toenail development and helicopters around every utterance and masticated morsel.  I would spout babytalk non sequiturs in the grocery line, share hilarious poo stories at bookgroup, and enroll my finger-painters in art appreciation classes at the Ogden.

It’s over a year in, and I really don’t have time to worry about any of that shit anymore.  I also don’t worry about anybody else’s parenting style either.  We’re all doing the best we can, and we’re doing it on the fly.  On the job learning experiences ad infinitum, my friend.    I do check in with friends about potential Facebook over posting, and I still read a lot of parenting material, but the difference is, I don’t worry about it.  too much.

Worry is best suited when it’s real, like when you’re in Siberia meeting with government officials who have control over your future life.  During our first trip, our facilitator said gruffly to me, “Rachel, come here, I need to ask you a question.”  Gut clench.  These trips are grueling and anything could go wrong, plus she asked for just me and not both of us.  What now?

We sat down and she said (gruffly), “Rachel, I want you to bring me a refrigerator magnet from your state.  I don’t have one from Louisiana.”  Eyes squinting and blinking, I had to make her repeat it.

It’s just how she talks, how they talk, how they parent, how we parent.  Who the hell am I to judge?