New first…

I took Snowflake to The Academy one day last week and had a little time to hang out with her there, which I love. She decided she wanted to take her teacher and I on a tour of the school (took our hands and off she went). We got to a big kids’ room and she peered in, curious, but didn’t go in. I heard a little boy say, “that’s not her real mom. She’s from China.” Honestly, I was baffled. Not sure why, as I knew this would come someday, but it happening is different.  I did nothing.  Then I was furious with myself for doing nothing.  Then I went into mental overdrive deciding what to do for the future.

  • Hubs and I will be donating several books about adoption to The Academy – some specific to adoption from China, some about adoption in general.  I talked to the principal of The Academy on Friday and I think she was upset that this happened there, but I assured her I didn’t think it had anything to do with the quality of the place.  In fact, we’ve been quite happy with the care Snowflake receives, she’s happy there, and the amount of racial diversity is impressive for our small town.  However, the principal is adopted from Korea, so perhaps this hit a sensitive spot for her.  We talked a bit about her experience.  I asked when she first noticed that she doesn’t look like her parents.  She said she didn’t remember how old she was, but that someone else told her.  She said she wasn’t too bothered by it.  She said that adoption issues are bigger for her now that she’s married and has kids than they ever were before.  She finds herself wondering what her birth parents look like, as she looks at her kids, her husband, and her husband’s parents.  She wishes she could see the links.  Also, her kids ask questions, like why don’t their grandparents look like mommy?  She explains the best she can.  I do remember telling her daughter, who is 6, that Snowflake is from China and that we went there to get her, and she seemed very interested.  Anyway, the principal said she would welcome a presentation about adoption and China, but for now we aren’t inclined to do that.  We don’t want to make Snowflake stand out more than she has to.  We want to educate, but quietly.
  • The second part of this is how I respond when people say these things.  I was just truly dumbfounded, so I said nothing.  I’ve never been good with quick responses.  I don’t want to act defensive, as I think that makes things worse – for Snowflake who will see this as a big deal and for the person making the remark, who will become defensive in return.  Rather, I want to just reply with a calm response that indicates, that I am her real mommy.  Another adoptive mom made a good suggestion: “Yup, I sure am her Mommy. She’s a little rascal, but she’s all mine. I bet you’re a little rascal too.”  I like something like that.  Thanks Ms. Dragonfly. 
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3 Responses

  1. So sorry you heard that comment. I can’t say “wow that surprises me”, as I’ve reached a point in my life where not much does surprise me anymore.

    Best wishes.

  2. I remember as a kid having other kids tell me my parents weren’t my “real” parents…… in my childlike mind I came to believe that “real” parents were “not as good” as what I had!
    This also came up as a discussion on a list that I moderate (not an adoption list at all!) and one person has an adopted Asian child and was asked by a stranger if the child’s father was Asian, The mother just replied, “Yes”.
    Maybe because I’ve been adopted all my life I’ve never really thought much about the questions…… I always treated them as curiosity…….. maybe I’m naive but it keeps me happier being this way!

  3. I think it is a great idea to donate books and maybe the school could make a presentation about different types of families using those books, not you giving it so that Snowflake is not directly pointed out. There are probably other adopted children there, maybe they look like their parents.

    For me I think telling the child with the comment “You are right that I am not her bio parent; however, I am her mother (or father, whoever is there). She was adopted from China, but now she is an American girl with us as her parents.”
    Kids will react strongly if admonished and then they will feel shame forcing more shame or picking on to the child that is being pointed out. If we approach children with facts and correction I think we will get a lot further.

    Just my thoughts.
    She is growing and adorbale as usual!

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