When working with parents who have adopted, part of what I offer are “tools.” These tools are for the parents and their kids, helping them navigate comments and questions about adoption. The tools are extremely useful in advocating for themselves within the parameters that they have set. I have used these tools for years to help me and my kids deal with intrusive questions and comments.
We will not always be with our kids. And so it was that I was not with mine an exchange happened.
Holden and Josi were refereeing over the weekend. During a break, Holden and Josi were horsing around the way they typically do. Laughing the entire time. Their activity escalated to, as it often does, with Holden throwing Josi over his shoulder and spinning her.
As they fell in a heap laughing, a young man, who did not know either one of them, said, “You should stop.”
Holden answered, “Cool it. She’s my sister.”
The young man said, “You don’t look like a brother and sister.”
With that, Josi, (according to Holden, in a “Duh?” voice) said, “I’m adopted.”
At which this young man said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
My kids more or less dismissed him, bantering back and forth between themselves (about him, I might add).
I heard about this from Holden, who was proud of Josi for the way she handled herself, “She was great mom! No big deal.”
When I checked in with Josi she said the same. The fact that she found the apology amusing (I thought it nice) underscored that.
And me? How would I have handled it if I were there? Probably not any differently. This is what I’ve been working towards. I want my kids to feel confident and comfortable with who they are. I want my kids to embrace each other unconditionally, an interwoven cohesive family where love, respect, and grace are the ties that bind.