While the other kids were moving through stages of cognitive, emotional and behavioral development, I was going through stages of my own. In between my adorable kleptomania and uncontrollable pathological lying, I entered a new stage. One that was entirely different from the previous and subsequent stages, except exactly the same in the sense that they were all ploys for attention. This time I convinced myself that I was adopted.
“Nobody adopts a kid when they already have nine.” my sister told me flatly.
What a buzz kill. I would never tell her that she wasn’t adopted.
I was rapt with the entire concept. It amazed me that parents could just trade in kids like x's and z's in Scrabble. How did it work? I was dying to know. Did children get lined up at the market in height order while potential buyers browsed through their qualifications? Was it just for infants or could big kids play too? How did these parents network to know which ones were for sale?
Eventually, after noticing that I did kind of look like my sisters, I had to admit that I probably wasn’t adopted. Unless all eleven of us were from the same birthparents, which was highly unlikely.
But just because I wasn’t adopted didn’t mean that I couldn’t be. After seeing how easy it was for the girl in Matilda, I suggested that my friend Zoe’s mother adopt me.
“Mom, could we adopt Mushka?” Zoe would ask whilst I put on what I was certain was my most adorable puppy face. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what Zoe stood to gain out of this, but all I really wanted out of life was to lay on a couch and watch Looney Tunes while eating Skittles and peanut butter cups. Also I wanted a Tickle-Me-Elmo and a fabulous Beeney Baby collection. Was that too much to ask for?
Apparently, it was. Her mom just laughed. How rude. Did it sound like we doing this for kicks and giggles? Was my puppy face not puppy-ish enough? Was I too old? Not African enough? Did I have to do cartwheels, list the ways I could improve her family, pull out a broom and start cleaning her house? What did a girl have to do to get adopted around here?