I took the kids to the dentist today, to get a checkup so that it's something I won't have to worry about for a while after we move. This is only their second time at this dentist, and only their third appointment since they came home. Their medical records before this are a bit spotty (e.g. there is no record of their last dental appointment before we brought them home), and so I really don't have anything historical.
Their hygienist came out and asked me when Jordan's last panoramic x-rays were. I told her I wasn't sure. She looked at me a bit puzzled and, as if trying to nudge my memory, said 'they usually take them at around age 8.' Here's where it gets a bit awkward.
She was two months shy of 10 when she came home. Also, I don't just offer up that they are adopted to everyone I meet. It's their story, and I usually let them lead the way on whether or not they are ok with me sharing, especially if they are standing right there.
This time, however, I had to let the hygienist know that she was adopted, and she didn't come home until she was 9, and her previous dental visits were not consistent. She was very understanding, at least her face didn't reveal any sort of surprise or shock, which I was extremely grateful for.
I sat back after she left and thought to myself, a little bitterly I will admit, that it must be nice for other parents not to have to explain that. Not to have to explain that I'm not a bad parent who doesn't know what her medical history is, it's just that I don't have it.
I ran into this recently with Jordan and her softball team. A lot of the parents were shocked that this was her first year playing. Many times I was asked 'how come she didn't play before this?' Thankfully, Jordan was ok with me explaining that they were adopted. Once that explanation was made, it was no big deal.
It makes me wonder, though - how many times have I overheard a conversation and silently judged a parent for not knowing their child's medical history? Or judged because they may sidestep a question about that child's past? How many times have I assumed bad parenting, and in all reality, it may have been a situation such as ours? How many times have you?
Everyday I learn something. Everyday I am shown mercy and grace. I try very hard to show that mercy and grace back. And days like today make me realize I still have some growing to do.