The energy in the room changed as we filed in. Although I was focused on feeding my hungry kids, I sensed the stares and the toned-down conversation. My kids were already in the thick of making decisions at the vast breakfast bar and talking about seeing their cousins and being at the beach later in the morning. With a quick glance I could see that my kids were oblivious.
It had been some time since I had experienced this – at least a year. I felt my hackles rise and, as I looked up and away from my kids, I found myself being stared at by another adult, one of many in the room openly staring at us. He was taking us in. It wasn’t computing for him. I met his challenge and I’m sure my thought of, “What’s your problem?” came through loud and clear. He dropped his eyes. My message had been sent.
Sometimes adoptive parents just don’t feel nice. And I didn’t that morning. I was bone-tired from driving in the rain and fog for eight hours the day before, across six states and through mountains without my husband or oldest son. My younger kids had been super, but mind you when you’re traveling without a third of the family – it makes a big difference. Having people make non-verbal comments was the final straw.
Parents of multiracial families know that they are and always will be obvious. It’s part of the landscape. Most parents take it in stride. Most of the time. But sometimes we just need a break – from the inappropriate stares, the well-intentioned comments, and the prying questions.