Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stuff people say

Since my last post, we brought a new kiddo into the house.  As of now, he's being fostered with the intention of adoption.  That's going to take a LOOOONG time.  J has been such a blessing.  Although he has special needs and requires a lot more time and supervision than what I'm used to giving as a parent, he's been great.  He's learning his new life just as I am.

Since J is black, his arrival into our white family has transformed us into a transracial family.  As much as our day to day life is pretty much like before, there's no blending in when we go places because it's pretty obvious that I'm not his biological mother.

Before he came to live with us I was fully prepared for strangers to do double takes when we were out and about.  It's certainly something that would make you curious and that's o.k.  I was even prepared for people to ask if he was adopted, although, I'd prefer if people would just stop at "what a cute little guy, how old is he?"  What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of really odd, uncomfortable, irrelevant comments I would get.  I know that people don't mean it in a rude way, but it definitely puts my other children (J doesn't understand yet) and I in an awkward spot where we just don't know how to respond. 

I feel like maybe this is going to be something that happens all the time and I should get used to it.  There's probably other families that deal with it too.

I've made a list of things that I prefer didn't happen anymore.  I can't run around and ask these requests of people before-hand, but maybe, those reading will keep it in mind when they see families like ours.  These are all from personal experience, in the past few months.  And they were all strangers.  In parking lots, in stores, in the library.  Please, don't do any of these things.  And I mean this in the nicest way possible.

1.  It's o.k. to tell me how beautiful my son is.  It's a little bit weird when you tell me that and ignore my other three kids.  I know you're trying to be nice, but my kids don't understand.

2. Your children are going to stare.  It's totally o.k. with me.  They're trying to figure out this unusual family.  It's not something they see everyday.  Please don't shout at them to "stop staring at that nice family.  They're just like us".  You don't know we're nice or just like you.  You may be lying to your child.  Also, it makes me uncomfortable when you're doing that in Walmart's vitamin aisle.

3. If your child asks you a question about us, answer them with something like "I don't know sweetie, maybe they're babysitting or maybe they adopt children".  If your child asks if "that is a brown baby with a white family", please DON'T SAY NO!  Why would you even do that?  Great, now we all feel weird and you're kid is totally confused! 

4. Once you asume he's adopted (without even asking), please don't take it a step further and assume his biological family did something to hurt him.  You don't know us.  You don't know his family didn't die in a fire.  You don't know that his parents chose to give him away in the hopes of a better life.  You don't know if perhaps I'm just babysitting for a friend.

5.  Please don't assume that I have set out to adopt a certain race.  I signed up to be a foster parent and they handed me a child that needed a home.  To imply that I'm part of "an adoption fad" is insulting. 

6. Please don't ask me if I love him as much as my other kids.  Remember, we're not friends, you're just the person that parked next to me at the store and is putting your groceries away at the same time.  No personal questions, please.

7.  Please don't ask me "what my husband thinks of him".  What does that even mean?  I don't ask you what your husband thinks of your kids or your haircut or anything......because it's not nice.....and also, too personal to ask the stranger at the library.  Don't do that.

8. Please don't ask me how much I'm getting paid.  If it was a reliable source of income, don't you think more people would do foster care than say, work at a restaurant?  I wouldn't ask you if you get paid for your kids......because again, I think it would be rude to ask a relative that, let alone, a stranger.

9.  Please, please don't try and say something positive about his race by saying something really weird like "I have a neighbor 'like him' and they're really nice people.  If you say this, or something like it, forgive me for getting red in the face and politely walking away.  I honestly have no idea how to handle that yet.

10. Please don't tell me I'm a great person for adopting.  You don't know that so you're pretty much lying.  Also, it's not true.  There is nothing great about me in any of this.  I'm just a Christian, who was blessed by God with extra beds and food that I'm compelled to share by His grace for His glory.  This ain't about me.

So I feel like I'm in this "class" now of.....I don't know what to call it really.  But it's for sure new and prickly.  I really don't hold anything against the people that say these "things", but it's something that, if can be avoided, would be awesome.  Please pass it on.  And please, don't stop staring.  It's a good way to make new friends!

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