1.27.2011

Indi goes to the dentist... and the three year old who flustered me

So the first part's pretty self explanatory.  I had to smile when Dan sent this to my inbox this morning.  (I was home with Evie.)


As a transracial family, we get a lot of questions about adoption when we're out and about.  I would say it's a weekly or bi-weekly occurrence for us.  Occasionally we get asked borderline inappropriate questions but I try to brush it off and answer with a smile.  However this morning, I got a bit flustered, and it was a question coming from a three year old!   The conversation went something like this -

Three Year Old: (staring at Evie and me) Why do you have light skin and she has dark skin if you're her mom?
Me:  (caught off guard/don't know what to say) Because she is adopted.
Three Year Old:  What's adopted?
Me: (wondering where her mom is) It means she grew in another mommy's tummy but I am her mom now.
Three Year Old:  Why?  Why did you adopt her?
at which point another adult stepped in and did her best to explain on my behalf.  I left quickly, my cheeks hot and my eyes stinging as I held back tears.  I'm not really a cryer so I have no idea why this particular convo was emotional for me.  It's kind of silly looking back on it.  Maybe it's because I know Evie will have to deal with these questions alone someday.

I got in the car and decided I needed to think of a pat answer for this question.  It took me a few minutes before I decided on, "Not all mommies and babies look alike."  First of all, it's true.  Secondly, I can avoid explaining adoption to a three year old I don't know.  I'll leave that to her parents.

6 comments:

  1. You are amazing! Thank you for sharing such personal feelings as you learn and grow as a mother! You enlightened that three year old today and you are right-many children don't exactly look like their mothers.

    I am one of those idiots that went up to a white, red-headed woman carrying a baby in an Ergo that looked like it was adopted from Ethiopia. I asked the woman where her child was from and she abruptly told me that she was carrying her biological child (reverse of what happened to you.) I could tell she was annoyed (probably gets this often) and I felt horrible! So you are right-looks don't define a parent/child relationship...sometimes even biology doesn't do that if the parent is physically or emotionally absent.

    In any case, may you gain strength from watching your beautiful Evie look to you in trust for love and providing. Hope you are well!

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  2. *hugs* I needed to give those to you first.

    Second, we have all been in that place; caught off guard and suddenly emotional ( and maybe a touch angry?) for no other reason than the implied hurt to our child. That's just so so hard.

    Third, I was never a cryer either....before the kids. Maybe its kids or maybe its adoption or maybe the combo??

    I think you did just fine...better than fine under the circumstances. And I love your new response!!!

    Love ya!

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  3. God uses different colored crayons when he draws families.

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  4. Hi Rachel. Thanks for this. I've only had to deal with obnoxious questions from adults in front of M. I think that's easier than innocent questions from kids. I really appreciate your lesson-learned strategy. Hope you don't mind if I steal it. ;-)

    Funny, they made us take all those classes about our kids possibly having RAD or FASD, wiping poo on the walls, or pushing the cat down the stairs (even though ET kids are a lot less likely to do these things because they're nurtured while they're in the orphanage). They never taught us anything about how to deal with people noticing us all the time...

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  5. Thank you for letting us into your world. Your new response made me smile. Though our adoption is different, we do already get some interesting questions and comments. We plan to be VERY open with our child about where he/she came from. No secrets or covering up. The questions will come at times, but not nearly the same if our child had a different skin tone. Though, according to the bio sketch we have on the parents, this baby should outgrow Rhea & I both by at least a foot! ; )

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