Thursday, May 14, 2009

it's a no bad mojo post

After reading the RQ today, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to lay it all out for the close family and friends that do read this blog.
However, most of you that read this, have adopted and have experiences of your own that you can feel free to share. Maybe you handled things in a poor way and you hope for a redo. Maybe you were hurt by a comment that clearly was a dig to your child and you had a great response that you would like to share.
J & I have hoped, planned & prepared for Emerson to come home, but one thing we can not plan on are the comments that just slide out of mouths, rather they be hurtful, insulting or just plain ignorant. There are a few things that we have talked about that will never be okay with us. If a friend or family member has anything negative to say about adoption or the ethnicity of my daughter, we will simply cut them out of her life. It is not my responsibilty to educate the ignorant at the expense of my childs feelings. It may sound harsh, but her emotional health is far more important to me than their feelings. I honestly do not think that that this will be the issue with our friends and families, they all seem to really respect our decision to adopt, but sometimes I hear little things that I think will have to change. One being the label, she will not be our 'adopted Chinese daughter'...she is 'our daughter'. We never want to hear an introduction like:
this is J&T with their 3 sons & their adopted daughter. Hearing that makes me cringe.
Being adopted is certainly nothing to feel shame about & we will raise her to know her history and be proud of who she is, but being introduced or pointed out as the different one in the family might play on her feelings and we will not tolerate it. We've been working hard on these sort of statements with the boys.
I do have one friend that I keep at arms length at this point in our life because she has said a few things that I find offensive. One time she tried to tell me about a mutual friend who was in the China line as well, but opted for a domestic adoption. She has repeatedly told me how much better the situation is because the child looks just like her, white with red hair & doesn't even "look" adopted. Another time, she tried to convince another friend to 'have her own' instead of adopt because there is no greater joy in the world than to have your own child, I suddenly felt very sorry for her. I felt she was selfish, selfish with her love. To honestly say that you could never love anything that didn't come straight out of your gene pool is just selfish & that's fine, adoption isn't for everyone, but those are the remarks that we just don't want to hear....so why place ourselves around people that always have some zinger of a comment. It's been over 2 years and I still remember that conversation just like it was yesterday.
I can honestly say that when we began blogging our journey back in 2006, we did so in hopes of getting friends & family on board with the idea so they knew the process & would feel our desire, even if they didn't understand it. I am part smartass and have struggled keeping my lips sealed when a zinger is thrown out in a conversation. I will not passively sit by to avoid the confrontation of a shitty remark by any friend or family member if said in front of my daughter. Friends are easier to handle, because you can pick them...but you can't pick family & the bar of expectation isn't lowered because they are family.
Here's a fun link to read.
My favorite response comment is, "Your an idiot" & maybe that will be my trained response.
I am sure that my mood will play a great big role in my responses and no doubt the comments will always take me by surprise.
Thanks a ton for all the shopping suggestions, I wrote every one of them down.
I really need to get busy....we only have
7 more days till we leave!!!

26 comments:

~ Alison n' Mali~ said...

Just as important as the stupid @ss things people say, is the way u respond. & the responses r never easy, no matter what is said or asked. They always take u by surprise . . .

M's been referred to as 'adopted' more times than I can count. It used to bug me, but I got over it - mainly for M's sake. She takes her cues from me, and I wouldn't want her to see my (negative) reaction(s) & think that being 'adopted' is a bad thing to be. So I always smile & respond positively, b/c that's how I want her to think about it all. I know everyone may not be able to let those kinda things slide, that's just what I do.

& now that she's 4, Mali tells everybody that she's adopted anyway. If I tell someone that I'm from RI, she pipes in & tells people that she's from the orphanage in China. & she says it with pride.

Diana said...

As a mom of 2 boys adopted from Korea so I can so relate to this post. It is so HURTFUL when things are said. We went through infertlity so the comment we got was "ohh..you are adopting so you will get pregnant and have ONE OF YOUR OWN next!!!!" OMG that made me nuts. I hate the whole "give a orphan a home" line. We wanted a FAMILY and we got our family through adopted. I did not adopted as I wanted to do a "good deed"..We had LOVE to give a child. Do not tell me that my kids are lucky that we adopted them..let me tell you how lucky WE are!!! I could go on and on..(but I won;t:) There is so much ignorance in the world and it makes me NUTS!!! I said unless you adopt or are close to someone who has I do not think you honestly "get it". This is why I love reading adoption blogs..WE GET IT!!
HUGS!!!

Meg said...

laying it out there for family and friends is a good idea- I wish we had. Now that Eva-Kate is home it is like back peddling all of the time- family is the hardest....we were waiting for dinner one night and he "jokingly" (God I hate that word) pretended to eat our daughter and then announced to everyone not to worry he'd still eat when dinner came you are always hungry 15 min. after eating Chinese.....nice, huh? I had nothing nice to say- but nothing intelligent either- now I practice responses and pull them out as necessary.....good for you guys for thinking now rather than later.
Meg

Tawni said...

Love the post...love, love, love it. We've run into many morons this past year. The first one being the nurse in the NICU less than a week after Av was born. There's no need to write what she said - but, honestly, I can say I wasn't prepared for how I felt when she said it. Since then, they are few and far between, but I do have a stash of "things-to-say-to strangers/friends/family-members who-say-completely-ignorant-things-about-our-family." It's mostly curious strangers. Anyone else who was close to us who has said anything off-color is now kept at a very far distance. Why bother with them? Avery is our daughter. Period. Emerson is yours. Period.

SEVEN DAYS???? S.H.U.T.-U.P.

Island Girl said...

You nailed it. I have myself not adopted "YET" but I come from a extended family. Both my parents were married before and had kids before they got together and had me. I actually have a "brother" that introduces me as his half sister. Every freaking chance he gets. I don't get how you half care about someone but clearly he does ( his "full" brother and sister just call me sister). Needless to say I just don't mention him in my numbers when I am asked about brothers and sisters. I also hate it when you watch a tv show about star and they talk about their children and then say they also have an adopted child. Seriously ticks me off. To a point I wrote a nasty a$$ e-mail to this show to tell them so.


So T in just 7 days you will be on your way to holding your DAUGHTER and I couldn't be happier for you!!!
Bobbie

M :-) said...

Great post! I am so sensitive to comments, and I always hold my breath anytime a stranger comes up to me and starts talking. We haven't had many negative comments, but there is one in particular that bugs me to this day. Last fall we were out of state, and were at a park with our kids. It's quite obvious that Molly is adopted - we are white, she is Asian. I had an older gentleman stop and look at her, and then look at the boys and I could tell that he was confused. He then said "they must keep you busy" ... (they were 3, 2 & 1) I told him that they did. He said "well, she's obviously not yours - right?" ... I told him "yes, she is mine - she is my daughter" That's when he looked at my husband, and then looked back at me with a very confused look on his face. He then gave my husband a look - and then a few minutes later he said "well, where did she come from" ... and then he proceeded to point at my boys (who are biological) and say "well, are they yours?" ... I said "All three of them are MINE" .............. I wanted to smack him! I realize he didn't mean any harm, and Molly was only 1 at the time, so she didn't understand ... but I don't want her having to hear stuff like that as she gets older and CAN understand. I don't care that I didn't give birth to her - SHE IS MY DAUGHTER!

I will say though - I can count on one hand the number of comments we have received, and we have been home w/M for a year and four months. I expected more, but have been pleasantly surprised by the wonderful response from everyone we have come in contact with.

Oh, one thing that we get over and over and makes me want to pull my hair out is this ... "you guys are such wonderful people" "she's so lucky to have you" ... again, people mean well, but what they don't understand is that *WE* are the lucky ones. We waited five years for her, and she has blessed our lives in more ways than I can count.

SEVEN DAYS -- SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for you!!!!!! :)

Mandy said...

AWESOME POST!!!!! From an adoptive mom who can also appreciate it. Our adoption is domestic BUT sometimes you still have those awful comments like where is his real mom....That makes me cringe!!Adoption is one of my greatest Blessings and will be yours too!! If you get a chance stop by and see my little blessing!!

Rhonda said...

I've never commented on your blog before and have been a long time lurker. But I have to pass on my favorite comeback when people tell me my daughter is "lucky" to have been adopted by us.

"I don't think she's so lucky...she could have been adopted by Meg Ryan and had her own staff. Instead she go us. We're the lucky ones."

or when I hear "she's adopted" I will remind people, "She came to our family through adoption yes, but it's not a state of being."

It's the comments that come out of left field that you don't see coming that are hard. I agree with Allison too, your daughter will respond to your response. We really want Lizzie to feel like she is special and her experience is special. Most people, most, have good intentions and a lot more have good intentions and are just ignorant. And I agree with you about educating people. I don't feel it's my responsibility either. I usually try to get away as soon as possible and keep those people far, far away from my kids.

I have a few zingers I've been waiting to use and sadly haven't gotten the chance...maybe you will.

When someone asks me if she is my daughter I always say yes(this happens a lot!) and am waiting for day that they ask if her father is chinese so I can say, "I don't know...it was dark."

Also, I've been waiting for the mean spirited ignorant person to say something so I can ask them, "Is it really bliss?" "Ignorance?" But thankfully haven't run into someone that ugly yet.

You clearly have quick wit and will be able to take on anyone who messes with your child. And in seven days you'll have your chance!

3 Peanuts said...

Tracy, I am sure you will handle all of that better than I did. I have had people ask "how much did she cost?" One of Harry's friend looked at Kate with disdain while at our house for a playdate and said, "What is that Chinese girl doing here?"

People will also give them special attention because they look "different." I was not used to that and literally people stop us almost everywhere we go or their gaze lingers a bit longer than normal.

I think of Kate as my daughter and I honesty forget her heritage as we go about our day to day lives and then people give us that smile...you will come to know that smile...it is part "aww isn't she cute" and part "oh maybe that woman could not have kids" pity look.

I do find that most people have good hearts and intentions their mouths just don't know it:)

Colleen said...

I have to agree with Alison, there are so many ignorant people out there and how you respond makes such a difference. Our daughter is very proud of being adopted and she talks so proudly about China. Fortunately we have never come across any kind of ignorance that was too offensive. I have had several people (in fact parents at my daughters school that never met my husband)actually assume that Faith is my biological daughter. Once they met my husband I got many questions.
I find that I get very offensive now when I just hear people talking casually about race, birth,adoption etc... and I do not like their opinions. It is nothing directly towards me but if I don't like what they are saying I speak up and give them my 2 cents.
7 Days!!!!!!!! Hurray!!!!!!!!

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Great post..
I am with you..
Our girls are OUR CHILDREN...
let the next 7 days FLY by..
Hugs....

laurie said...

7 days!!!! I loved reading the ideas in your last post. I for one won't leave China (if I ever get there) w/o a jade bangle for me and a string of pearls for my daughter's wedding or 18th birthday.

A couple of years ago one of my students traveled with her parents to bring home her sister and they brought me a heart-shaped cloisonne ornament that I treasure. Maybe you could buy the same thing from China Sprout, but I know they brought back from China when they were getting Emily. For a long while afterword Maya wore a jade pendant on a red cord with the year-of symbol for her birth year. Her mother liked Jennifer's Place on Shamian Isld best. Maybe you can research what E's province is known for and buy something to represent that (you know, in your spare time!)The family I talked about also made a beautiful video of their trip to show my students-not too much personal stuff, but Great Wall, the countryside they saw etc. Your boys might like to share some of their sister's heritage with their peers like that someday.

As far as handling intrusive comments, S and I took an online course called Conspicuous Families from Ad@ptionlearningpartners.org that was very good. We'll prob. go thru it again when we are getting ready to bring our girl home. I may ask some family members to go through it with us because no doubt they'll get comments too and can perhaps help us head off trouble.

If you happen to have typed your packing list please cut and paste here. Inquiring minds that are still waiting would love to see!

7 days!!!!

SPY said...

Love it. Clear and to the point. In 14 years when I get my referral I will have to ask you to dig this up for me to post to my peeps.

Kisses and hugs for a deliciously wonderful trip!

Dawn said...

When I get the. "Are they adopted?" question I say, "No, they were they aren't now".
They are just Lily and Rose now, nothing else no need for long explanations to some nosey as*hat on the street.
Your mood really does set the tone to your response and whether or not the kiddies understand or not. It gets old it really does.

Anonymous said...

Most people mean well and haven't been on this journey with you. They aren't trying to offend you when they ask questions, even if they are ignorant ones. Just let your joy and love for your daughter shine through and make it into a positive for them and for yourself and those around you. Don't waste time being loaded with a ready comment. Just "be". :)

Four Times The Chaos.... said...

You know, our son has been home from China since 2005 and I have waited and waited for someone to say one of those dumb**s remarks but it has not once happened! In fact, I get the opposite....we adopted a 5 year old little girl a little over a year ago domestically and all the time I get "oh, they are twins!" Um...er....no. But, I just say "Yes!" with enthusiasm and let it go. :)

Daniella said...

First - holy cow 7 days!!! Okay next, we don't even have our daughter home yet and have had to eliminate some folks from our circle - sorry but the words "do you really think you can love her as much as you do Joseph?" just does not fly - NOT AT ALL. When Joe was recently telling a friend/acquantiance about our recent submission of our mcc (which he was explaining with so much enthusiasm) this person (now also eliminated) made a really ignornant statement about the waiting child program - goodbye.... ugh. We plan on handling this in much the same way - she is our daughter - yes obviously adopted and we will talk about that fact to her as a wonderful thing that brought us all together but never ever refer to her as our adopted chinese daughter.... can you spell ignornant. Ok back to my happy place - 7 freakin days.....

JoAnn in NJ said...

I've had stupid things said to us, but honestly people are normally very kind and loving...they do "whisper" I know she's adopted, but she looks just like you! (me) and I just smile and say thank you, I think my daughter is the most beautiful child I've ever seen. My husband is Filipino and when we are together as a family, it doesn't occur to people that our child is adopted.

Oddly enough, my Mom (who can be incredibly ignorant) has said some very stupid things (like don't tell her she's adopted! or made a comment about her feet not being bound!) People might say I'm not respectful of my Mom, but I do not allow her to say those things without telling her that she's wrong and what she said was incredibly inappropriate. And sometimes I do not say it nicely, either. However, my Mom really loves our girl and is incredibly loving to her and does not treat her differently than her other grandkids.

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

Tracy, I think you have a handle on it !! You understand already what needs to happen. I agree with so many of these comments though. Most people have good hearts, and if they ask me questions about Maddy with a sincere heart and not just being nosy, I usually tell them. Maddy will chime in and say she was born in China but I don't think she really understands what she is saying. My most recent a$$hat comments kept coming from the new pediatrician. Maddy has been their twice for sick visits...the first time he walked in, his first words were.. "she's polynesian right?"... uh NO.. she was born in China. Our next visit, he walks in and says first thing.. "oh, this is that chinese girl". WTF... does he walk in on other families and say, "oh, here is that white girl or this is that black boy" I think not. Maddy is NOT "that" chinese girl. Needless to say, I'm changing doctors yet again. :0(

oh.. and on Kim's comment.. you do get to know "that smile", and the comment "aren't THEY so cute". dipwads!

Jennifer said...

Ignore, Ignore, Ignore...the majority of human beings are asses... My all time favorite comment that was said, and I quote "Thank god you are saving Addison, otherwise she would most likely become a prostitute. That is what happens to orphans in Vietnam" My response was "really, I had no idea that was what was being taught in the Vietnam orphanages." What else can you possible say to that response....

A Beautiful Mess said...

Thankfully I have not had anyone say anything insulting to me or soph since we have come home....maybe I give off a "say something stupid and I will kick you ass" vibe???

When we were in China at the jade market a sales lady looked at sophie and said " wow your daughter really looks chinese...." Ummmm ya think??? needless to say I lmao on that one!!

elisa said...

I am SO glad you posted this. Yesterday I was driving around thinking of a post in my head, how I was going to put to words what I was feeling with people saying stupid things to me.

A couple days ago one of my "friends" came over to drop off her son (who is friends with my middle son). She peeked at the baby and said, "I personally think you are crazy but more power to you" and then she left. This isn't the first time she has said this, not sure if she thought I didn't hear her the first time? At any rate I am done playing nice. She said it in front of my boys, what are they supposed to think??

I know people don't understand, and I am not asking them to. I fully expected to get comments because our daughter is hispanic, I didn't expect to hear over and over how crazy I am.

Ugh! Just wanted you to know you are not alone, and I may just have to link to your post since you said it so well!

Take Care- and I can't wait to see pics of your new daughter!!

Elisa
www.elisalou.com/blog

Mindi said...

Oh wow....love this post! And I love reading the comments. People truly are ignorant, and I think most of them mean no harm. Notice I said MOST. One of the most ignorant questions I had came while at a women's bible study, when a lady asked me "where'd you get her?" Seriously?? Like she's a pair of shoes??

What really irks me is the "child of your own" comments.... I have two children, one biological and one born in China and they are both my OWN children. And when people ask me where she's from, I always answer with "well, she was BORN in China..."

And I couldn't agree with 3 Peanuts more, you'll find that after you are home with Emerson awhile, you will totally forget her heritage as you go through your daily routine and she will just be YOUR DAUGHTER, just as your boys are YOUR SONS. Lily has been home since 2005 and we truly forget she's Chinese! (Not to worry, we are instilling a love of her country and pride in her.) She's just one of us!! It's a beautiful thing... you are beyond ready and I am soooooooo excited for you!!!!

Shari U said...

Our little girl has been home now for 5 1/2 years and I'm happy to report that we've only had one ugly comment. It was made by a brother in law who thought he was being funny. He wasn't, I told him so and immediately the other family members backed me up. Our community, our families, our friends, our church, the people at the grocery store...it's really all been very positive. I hope you'll receive the same with Emerson. Best wishes to you as you get ready to meet your girl. I'll keep you and Emerson in my prayers!

Jewels of My Heart said...

This post touched both my heart and a nerve. I too am very sensitive on this subject. I become offended for my children and for myself. We have had ignorant comments several times and they are often in front of my children. This really chaps my hide.
I so want to protect them from ignorance, and prejudice but at times I am not able.
One of the things that I hate the most and have been asked more than a couple of times is about their "real parents". Some people just don't get it! We are their REAL parents! I tell them that I am their REAL MOM. That they couldn't be more mine if I had given birth to them.
I commend you on your stand to not allow those close to you to hurt your children.
I am quite passionate and often share my thoughts without thinking first. But, I have to say, some people really ought to think before they share what is on their mind.
So happy for your family.... soon you will all be united.
God's Speed

Michal said...

The most difficult thing for me is when it's adults from China- CHINESE people asking the rude questions. I never want to appear that I am ungrateful or that I am "rude" to a person from China. It's hard though, I mean there are different cultural aspects. I know exactly how to tell a Caucasian off. Really, what's my deal with this? It is usually someone that we meet casually as a fellow shopper or even a waitress in our fave Chinese restaraunt and then I get all clammy and sit or stand there just answering invasive questions until they go away,then do damge control with Ev later. I know that they are not intending to be mean or invasive. They are generally curious and the lack of understanding about the adoption process in thier own country is astounding. I know that it is not the fault of the individuals, it's just the way it is. These are very difficult situations, due to the sometimes present language barrier, the cultural differences and thier need to understand and find out all about where your child came from.....So it's usually just lots of gushing, awkward question, gushing, question, lots of staring at Evelyn, gushing, question.....
Now with the Garden Variety Assholes? I just let them have it. I do try to clarify if they are adopting or know someone who has, then I open up and whale on them if they are just being rude and ignorant. My phrasing depends on my mood and if Evelyn can hear me
;0)