I took the kids on a rather big adventure today….we ran errands. I tend to avoid making more than one stop when I am alone with all the children, but today, I went to several different places. I wore either N or A in a wrap, had 2 others in a cart, and JR or M walked along side. The kids were awesome, and I felt right proud of our success. OK, I’m done bragging.
During one of my errands, a lady with a little boy came up and asked about the children. Turns out she, too, was a mom of 4 youngsters, all of which were adopted from foster care. She had 2 that were adopted transracially, and several had been meth exposed. I took the opportunity to mention some of A’s symptoms. Sure enough, all her meth-exposed babies had had the same symptoms. If I wasn’t convinced of exposure before, I am now! We had a lovely chat, exchanged phone numbers and e-mail, and agreed to meet up for a play-date.

N, 6 weeks

While we were chatting, we noticed a middle-aged woman pacing around us, stealing glances at all the children. She had a strange wobble, and I still do not know if she was drunk or had some type of disability. Finally, she approached us, smoking a cigarette, and started asking questions. Turns out she had overheard the majority of our conversation, so, she looked at me and asked, “So these are your adopted kids?” Since I still wasn’t sure whether she was drunk, I just briefly nodded yes. Then, having no tact whatsoever, she looked at A (who I was holding) and asked, “So, is he a half-and-half?” EXCUSE ME? “Is he a half-and-half? Half white, half black?” I was so shocked by those words for some reason, that I honestly can’t remember my response. Obviously, it is another response I need to develop prayerfully and lovingly to add to my “list” for the future.

Any adoptive mother knows that comments like that, spoken directly in front of all the children, will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Sure, we have adopted children, and yes, it is a fact of our lives. But we do try to be a bit more tactful in the way we choose our wording–particularly if the children are around. We try to be careful to never introduce a “label” of being “adopted” or “our own” to our children. Unfortunately, I am learning it is a label to many folks, and I am beginning to see more of that. All of our children are “our own.” Some were physically born to us, while others were “born” in our hearts. When it comes to their skin color, of course, it is obvious that we are different from each other. But that is a blessing from God. He created each individual after His likeness, and to be unique, and that is something we have learned to treasure with our children. To call my child a “half-and-half” is quite offensive. That is a type of cream, not my child. Don’t get me wrong, I honestly do not mind answering people’s questions. I love to educate–whether it be in regards to service animals, training horses, or adoption. Over the years, however, I have learned there are those who genuinely seek answers, and although their terminology and questions may be somewhat innappropriate, I realize it is an innocent mistake. In fact, I have made many of the same mistakes as I have learned. I am certainly not known for my smooth way with words! *blush* There are others, however, who are just plain tactless. They seemingly do not care who they offend, who they label, and who they look down on. For some reason, they do not view all people as equal in God’s eyes. As much as I would love to educate these people, I have found it is very difficult. I tend to have little nerve in such situations, and hate confrontations, and often times, I have found these people already have their minds made up. A quick encounter in a store parking lot will not likely change that mindset.

Thank you for allowing me this little vent, and for those of you who have gone through these adoption processes with us, I thank you for your support and encouragement. When we decided not only to adopt, but to be open to transracial adoption, we had a lot of concerns. We did receive a few negative opinions and remarks, but in most cases, we learned that we are surrounded by people who see all children as God’s creation. You can see the bigger picture of how God puts families together, and that love knows no bounds. I can’t tell you how much that support has meant to us.