Saturday, December 12, 2009

Phrasing a Question...

Okay... I had my first, "you're a jerk" moment with regards to Maeve and my relationship (well... I was thinking a different word, but I suppose I should keep this blog PG). I do have to preface this story with the fact that I was already annoyed and irritated before this encounter even occurred... but, still... I think it still applies.

The scene:
Maeve is currently an Ethiopian citizen. Sadly, this means I cannot put her on my Nexus pass, and therefore, we have to sit in the border line like everyone else, instead of getting the VIP treatment we know we deserve. Ha. I digress... sort of. We had to sit in a 40 min border line up this morning to get back into the states. 10 mins into this wait, Maeve decides riding in the car that is at a full-stop, isn't fun or entertaining anymore. Enter -- crying child. Crying child that is absolutely losing her mind and can barely swallow her own secretions by the time we get close to the agent. Okay. We are one car away... "Its okay Maeve... Its okay Maeve... we're almost through" as I'm trying to rock her carseat and sing, out-of-tune, nursery rhymes... yeah, she's not buying it. One freakin' car away and the agent takes, without exaggeration, 5 mins chatting it up with that driver. I am pissed. We need to move so my baby doesn't vomit all over herself because she's crying so hard. Finally... the car in front of me passes.

Me. I drive to the window. I hand him our passports... he completely ignores the fact that Maeve is wigging out. Fine. Whatever... I understand you have a job to do. He asked me if I had any more documentation for Maeve. I -- in an attempt to be patient, but probably didn't appear it -- told him that her Visa was in the passport and that should be all we need. He asked me a few more questions about that, but ultimately he didn't need anything further... And, then he proceeds in this line of questioning -- he asks me if Maeve is my child or if I'm adopting her. I respond somewhat curtly, "yes, she is my child and I have adopted her". He looked back and me and questioned further -- so is she your biological child? This is where I wanted to call him a bad name... but, because you don't piss off the border agents, I just answered the question again. And then he handed me our passports and I was allowed to drive away, which instantaneously ended the hysteria in the backseat.

I doubt the agent meant to annoy me, but... someone that spends their day asking immigration questions and dealing with people should really sort out their word choice... "is she your child or are you adopting her?" That question could be asked in a variety of different ways, without sending a parent reeling, sir.

Am I being too sensitive? I'm still slightly annoyed.

On another note -- so great to catch up, and for Maeve to meet, Grandma & Grandpa, Susan & James, and her new Bellingham peeps this weekend.... (Sadly my camera ate my current memory card. So, no photos... )


Eastiopians said...

Yuck. I don't like that wording either. I have decided that most good people mean "your child" and in "your biological child" b/c they aren't pc yet with adoption lingo. But I think it's nice to politely correct them exactly like you did. If we all teach, maybe they will learn. Maybe not. BTW, I love love love Maeve's hair in your pic at the top of our blog. You are doing awesome with her "huge hair." (I forgot exactly what Almaz called her hair). Haha! :)

markkarj said...

Welcome to parenting and what a piece of work he was! I think you answered exactly as you should've. I would've just repeated myself over and over and over if he wasn't going to get it! -Cassie

Anonymous said...

Good thing I wasn't with you - as cancer killed my filter.

JonesEthiopia said...

I don't think you're being sensitive. I was once told (when telling a stranger at a teacher workshop that I was adopting), "That's a weird place to GET ONE FROM, don't ya think?" Get one from... like my child was a dog or something. I was furious. I told her that my husband and I ddn't think so and she didn't say another word.

Recently, I was asked if I could have kids of my own, and I said I did have kids of my own, two of them in fact. The co-worker then went on to ask me if I adopted becuase I wanted to or because I HAD to... Sigh, some people are so dumb!

Karla said...

The crossing is always wierd. When Mandi was three, she looked like a clone of me, but back in 1996, pasports weren't required to cross. I had to park and go into the building and prove that she was mine. Yikes! The next week, we got her first photo ID at the DMV.

Sorry you had to go through all that. Some people just don't get it.

Glad you got to see Chelsey too. I can't imagine your unit without her.

Erin said...

That's just a strange interaction, I've had no issue crossing the border- sounds like you got a bad egg. I would be really irritated too- and yet bite my tongue since it's never good to tick off the border agents.

Andie said...

When I was at UCSIS trying to figure out why it was taking 5 months to approve my I600, the guy said, "Oh, so you are trying to be Anjolina Jolie." Smile, nod and a quick giggle....and I flashed a picture yet again of my daughter with the biggest anjolina jolie eyes, "Can you please help me". BTW I wore my biggest push up bra and only a moderately sleezy top- guess it worked. He was able to find my paperwork on the desk of someone that was "permanently out of the office."