Friday, April 5, 2013

Why I'm evasive sometimes

My current favorite way to respond when people question how I can have two kids who are super close in age (13 months and 16 months - and different skin/hair colors), is, "Well, life sure can get interesting sometimes can't it?" And the follow up, "And it did." People are so confused they just smile and walk away and I smile on the inside.

A conversation ensued among various adoptive/foster parent friends of mine on ways to evade probing questions by strangers when a  friend asked, "Why not just tell them the truth?"

And, here is my response.

Well, it all comes down to relationship. But, when thinking about the nice old lady at Target, the intimate details of how my child(ren) “got” here (different dads, fostered, adopted, or from my womb) just isn’t an appropriate topic and here’s why. It would be like someone coming up to you and saying, “Something about you is different, so tell me how and under what circumstances were you conceived? Were you raised by those who conceived you? Maybe that’s why you look different from those you’re with. Do tell.” Intimate. Private. NOT stranger conversation standing in the freezer isle. But, when a child is adopted or being fostered, or looks “different” from their family, the heart of the question is lost. The real question is about their conception (Who was there? Mother? Father? Ethnicity? Circumstances?) and if they are being raised by those who conceived them and if not, why? Of course that sweet old lady isn't thinking that’s what she’s asking, but I as the guard of the words my child overhears and internalizes, am. Because one day, my child will wrestle with those very deep and personal questions of her conception and why she hasn't been raised by her biological family. The things I want her to hear and internalize is that she is SO CUTE, precious just because she exists, that she is part of a family – not a poster child for adoption or foster care. So that is why I am vague. If I am alone or with an young infant I often do share more, but with the child in front of me and that sweet old lady, asking the question with kindness in her heart – I generalize and I tell a generic version of the truth, because anything else isn't fair to the grown up version my child.

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It'll be a pleasure hearing your thoughts. Alisa