Sunday, May 23, 2010

Family Questions

"Do you remember when you were in your mother's tummy?" the teacher asked. It was shortly before Mother's Day and the class was discussing mothers and their importance in bringing us into this world. It just so happened that Isabel was the student to whom the teacher addressed her question.

"I wasn't in my mother's tummy. I was adopted, and so were my brothers and sister." Isabel is not one to let the facts slide and when put on the spot she just said it like it is! I have no idea what the teacher's reaction was, as I heard this story secondhand from my daughter soon after the incident happened. As proud as I was of her for being so forthright and self-assured, I still felt a sinking in my heart that Isabel had to face this unexpected question in front of her peers. Of course, this teacher (not her regular teacher) probably had no idea of Isabel's history when she spoke.

I asked Isabel how the exchange had made her feel and she said, "A little bad." My sweet girl. How do I do a better job of preparing her for the next time?

Not long afterward I asked Eva if her class had discussed anything similar. She said no and went on to add, "But I think it would be cool if you were my birth mother." My heart melted a little bit.

This week my sister shared a story from my nephew's kindergarten class (different city, different school.) He is my sister's biological son and apparently was asked to bring pictures in to share about his family. He and Owen are great buddies, so he chose a picture of the two of them for his collage. Quite a few of his classmates are Korean children living in Chile who have apparently never seen a black person! They were asking my nephew why his cousin was that color?? But my nephew didn't miss a beat and told them "because that's my cousin and that's the way he is!"

Questions. They are inevitable for an adoptive family and for a transracial family and even more so if your family is both. As my nephew learned, even if you're extended family you get the questions! :)

Which is why we truly must seek wisdom, compassion and understanding as we parent our precious children ...

4 comments:

Amundson Family Musings said...

I praise God that we are all the same on the inside and that when we are adopted into the family of God, color, race, creed, or personality doesn't matter! Praise God for the colors of his rainbow of skin and for your family showing first hand HIS RAINBOW!!!

Erin said...

aaa steph i know what you mean about the color thing. even though all of ours are biological as you know we still have the color issue. someone asked Logan one time why his dad was so much darker than him. And my niece had someone tell her she was "mixed!" aaaa the meanness of kids sometimes is unreal!

Corey and Nicki Shields said...

I enjoyed this post. What you say is so true. We live the whole trans-racial adoption thing too. We live in a culture that doesn't get adoption at all and doesn't value different. I appreciate hearing your stories about Owen. Our Tomo hasn't yet become aware yet of his own journey, but have never hidden the fact that he is adopted. I know our time of talking is coming, so I am tucking stories in my pocket.

What we are dealing with right now, in his 3 year old way, is his life at kindergarten, He is making that connection of looking the same but being different from his classmates. He is getting the whole big difference between Japanese and English thing.

Bless your beautiful family!

John & Perla said...

I grew up with both of my birth parents, as did my wife. When my mother passed away, I was 10. My father re-married and my 2nd Mom was, and still is, fantastic!

My wife had a child when we married and I adopted her shortly after.

There is a certain world that adopted children face - in their own thoughts and lives - that we, who grew up in traditional families never will experience.

It is those very thoughts and experiences that, as they grow older and come to know Christ, will help them understand how to cry "Abba! Father!" in a way that you and I never will.

That's a blessing in itself.