Showing up with Fritos instead of kale salad

I should have paid closer attention to the online invitation. We are part of an adoption playgroup for transracial families and they were hosting a pool party. It’s a really nice group of people, but we don’t have a lot of overlap in our lives with the other families except for the fact that we’ve all adopted children who are of a different race than we are. They aren’t the kind of friends where I can walk in to a gathering and ask where the liquor is and if anyone else fantasizes about sending their kids to boarding school. I’m still figuring out my place in this group.

When we go to these events, I get the sense that my family is doing a few things differently: this group is decidedly Montessori and my kids are all in public schools; this group is earnest and intentional and we are kind of a hot mess; this group is vocal about having open adoptions and our only connection to the birthmother is sending pictures through our attorney.

Whether you have an open adoption or not is a very hot topic for adoptive families. I went to a mom’s dinner with this group a few years ago and the whole discussion somehow turned to how I could go about making our adoption more open since I was the only one there without an open adoption. I don’t think I asked for this kind of advice since I am very comfortable with the arrangement that we have now.

I do think it’s good for the twins to be around families that look like ours, so I decided that we would attend this pool party. I’d planned ahead and made artichoke dip and picked up a huge bag of Fritos Scoops. As we were leaving, I checked the invitation for the address and noticed a side discussion that I’d totally missed. People were posting what they were bringing to the pool party and I saw that I’d miscalculated the vibe of this gathering by like a mile. On the list of items that people were bringing, I saw kale salad. I saw quinoa. I saw gluten-free and dairy-free dishes. I did not see Fritos.

I thought about not going, but I’d made a double batch of this cheesy dip and I knew I’d be tempted to eat the whole thing myself. Plus, the twins already had on their bathing suits. I thought about bringing crackers or veggies for the dip instead, but I didn’t have any. Besides, it was a pool party. It never crossed my mind to bring a salad.

Here’s what I learned that day: everyone loves Fritos and cheesy dips. I also realized that every family is really just doing their best to raise these precious kids that we’ve adopted.

While I deeply admire the kale salad people who have open adoptions, that’s not who we are as a family. I’m okay with who we are. I’m okay being the Fritos mom. I do other things well, like keeping everyone alive and making good cheesy dips.

Here’s the recipe for artichoke dip:

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese
1 cup grated or chopped swiss cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Drain artichoke hearts. Mix artichoke hearts with mayo, parmesan and swiss cheese. Add garlic salt and stir. Put mixture into 9×9 baking dish or pie plate and cook at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until top looks slightly browned. I usually pour out any oil that has accumulated on the top before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or Fritos Scoops. (Go with the Fritos)

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  • Absolutely brilliant. ‘Go With The Fritos’ is going to be my motto this week. (And I definitely vote for them being made aware of their plug, and getting a little corporate sponsorship to subsidize the transportation bill you are footing!)

    Great writing. Thank you for sharing the gift.

  • Anna, I don’t think you are the type of girl who needs validating, but I could give you so many good sides about why I feel strongly about a closed adoption. I’m an adopted kid myself, work with a partner with two adopted kids, and have numerous patients who are adopted, so I have accumulated a wealth of experience from all sides. Open adoptions work well for some, but far from always. What is important is the love, heart, home, and family that you give all four of your children every single day. I promise you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of all my experience, it is truly ALL that matters. They will cherish their hot mess for life, I promise!