Tag Archives: Intrusive Questions/Comments

Not What We’re Used To

Spring break and the kiddos get restless, so we figured we’d hightail it up to Chicago for a few days, with an overnight stop in Valparaiso so that I could attend my first rehearsal with the other cast members of Listen To Your Mother (You really should come if you live in the region; it’s going to be amazing! More on this soon, I promise.)

We spent the day at the Indiana Dunes; it was sunny, but cold and brisk. We picnicked anyway, enjoying the sounds and sight of Lake Michigan from another perspective.  The kids burned off some energy running and then summersaulting down Devil’s Slide and trekking back up only to do it again and again.

On Friday we headed into Chicago, to explore some venues we hadn’t visited for some time—the Field and Lincoln Park Zoo. When we’re out as a group, we’re used to the myriad of looks and stares, and sometimes comments. We experience this less in a city the size of Chicago where diversity abounds, and perhaps that’s some of the comfort of why my kids love the city so much.

Invariably when out for any length of time, Mother Nature “calls.” We’ve always had a rule: young boys NEVER go into the bathroom unattended. It may appear that I feel this way because I don’t trust my sons to do their business and come out. Not at all. My (our) concern is the about who is in that men’s public bathroom—might he be a peeper, or someone who exposes himself to or molests young boys in bathrooms? It happens. More than we want to admit.

So, of course G had to use the restroom at the zoo, and Mark accompanied him. A maintenance guy, about Mark’s age, was in there cleaning and turned around after G had locked the stall door. Mark stood in the doorway, while G attended to his business.

Maintenance Dude: (pausing in his work) “Can I help you?”

Mark: “I’m just waiting.”

Maintenance Dude:  “Who are you waiting for?”

Mark: “Him.” (And motions to the stall.)

Maintenance Dude: “Oh, your grandson.”

Mark: “No, my son.”

Maintenance  Dude: (Nodding, with a huge smile and the “manly,” “he-he-he,” slap-on-the-back kind of approval) “You’re not shooting blanks! Good for you!”

I guess he kinda missed the obvious…

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Filed under Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, Parenting, The International Mom

St. Mom

The comment was one of those—well-meaning, misplaced and sorely uncomfortable in its energy once it was uttered. The comment hung in the air, like fractured pieces and I was supposed to gather it all up and make it “right.”

“Just think; what would have happened to ___ if you hadn’t adopted ___.”

Like, what was I supposed to do with that?

Well, I chose a simple way around it this time. I smiled. I could tell that the person who uttered it realized they had made a mistake once they said it. There was no agenda.

Let me assure you that I am often not so nice. In fact I have been down right rude at times, if the kids aren’t with me. I am turned off when people see me as saving a child (saintly), tell me how wonderful I am for adopting (ditto), or implying my kids are lucky (i.e., should be grateful).

I have imagined life without my kids and I pull back because I don’t want to think about a life with less laughter, less fullness, less richness, less love. Less “us.”

I’m the grateful one. The lucky one. And I’m no saint…

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Advocacy, The International Mom

Please…Don’t Stare

When together my kids are usually focused on something else—swept away by the latest discovery of a critter that has appeared in our yard, some game in- or outside, or learning a new song from an iPod via the communal sharing of ear buds. My kids spend a lot of time together because they want to. They enjoy each other’s company and I feel that is remarkable given the age span of nine years between the four of them.

But sometimes there are moments when they are out of their world and with me. Sometimes the real world intrudes and they notice the unabashed stares directed at us.  

Aubry said just the other night, “I don’t like people staring at us. Why do they do that?”

My answer was that we are a multiracial family. And her response was, “So what?”

Well, the “so what” is that what we know as “normal” is not necessarily perceived as such outside of the loving nurturing circle of our family, extended family and friends. People judge. Communities and family experts judge. And yes, there are those within the adoption triad that judge too.

Please don’t stare. And don’t make assumptions. Mark and I adopted for a very selfish reason; we wanted more children.

Can you help? When you see a family like ours, where there are obvious racial differences, please don’t stare but look deeper with your senses and you’ll see discover a family—in every sense of the word.

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Filed under Adoption Issues, Advocacy, Multicultural Families, The International Mom