Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shhhhh.....don't tell my mommy I don't look like her....

It may come as a surprise to many of you, but my daughter won't look like me. I know, I know, a shocker. The title quote for this post came from a t-shirt that is no longer in production. I saw it when I began the adoption process and am sad that I can't purchase it any more. As an adoptee, it was just luck of the draw that I happen to look like my Dad' s side of the family. I resemble them. I never had the uncomfortable conversation with folks who ask who my "real" parents were, nor did my parents have to explain to others what my country of origin was unless they told someone I was adopted. Audrey will not have that luxury. At all.
I remember a conversation with my friend Janene one night after a day of completing an online adoption class. " I'm not sure why they keep asking me all these questions about multi-racial adoption. My daughter is just from China, she's not of another race. We are not going to be a multi-racial family, are we?" "No, you won't be a multi-racial family," Janene replied, "Wait...." she said. And so began my realization that I will have a multi-racial family.
I knew my kid would be from China. I knew that she would have dark hair and olive skin. I knew she would be Asian. I just didn't think it was different. When you are looking through the eyes of love (you can thank me later for getting that song stuck in your head) I guess the differences doesn't matter to the Mom. What I had not figured out is that though I don't see our differences, the world does. Though I knew my kid could be purple with green polka dots and I would love her anyway, the world cares. Maybe because our family is different, maybe because they are racist, maybe because they don't understand how someone could love a child that didn't come from their body, I don't know. But people will notice, and have questions, and make snarky remarks. I'll never know where some people get their sense of entitlement to ask rude questions, but they have it, and they do. I would like to think I am prepared with intelligent, reasonable, kind answers to their questions. But I know myself and will have to really THINK before answering the ones I expect to encounter. And I will have to help my daughter with intelligent, reasonable, and kind answers to give as well. She will learn to answer these people from my example. And I hope I honor her with those answers.
Here are some questions and statements I expect to hear: (what I want to say is in italics, what I will say in regular font)
- Are you her real mother?  (Have you asked your mom if your dad your real dad?) Yes, I am her real mother!
- Where is she from? ( A town called Nunyabiznaz) Bethalto.
- Do you know her real parents? ( No, they didn't give me the serial number when they made her at the factory) Yes, I know myself quite well.
- How much did she cost? ( $1.25 - ON SALE!) She is priceless.
- Does she speak Chinese? ( She speaks 12 languages - a child prodigy) She is a baby and baby is the
   same in all languages.
- I don't understand how someone could throw away/give up a child! (when you were married to your spouse did your family throw you away?) She wasn't thrown away/given up. Her birth parents turned her over to God and trusted that someone could raise her and give her medical care.
- Your child is so lucky - you saved her. (She sure the heck is lucky to have me as a mom...I rock!) I
   didn't save her. God did. I just get to raise her!
I don't think that most people are out to be mean. The person asking may know someone who has or is adopting internationally or may be interested in adoption for their family. Most of the time, however, people are just curious as to why we look different. Or they may want me to know that they notice the difference. Or they are mean. Whatever. My family, my kids' story, is really no one else's business. All that matters is that I am her Mom and she is my kid. You that read this blog are priviledged to know most of Audrey's story because I love you and I am just so excited about her that I can't keep quiet. I want you all to know of God's provision for us and how He has made this journey just for His glory. There are things that I will not share with you because it is her story and I want to let her make the decision as to what she wants to share with people. Our looks are obvious, yes. But our story, her story, is one that is precious and not for public display.
I (hand on the computer, one in the air) pledge to answer intelligently, respectfully, and reasonably those questions that other people may ask of me and my family. Most of the time. I will refrain from saying, "So what if she is adopted, maybe you were a mistake." I will bite my tongue and not pretend I can't speak English. I will be kind and not punch people in the throat. But in the words of the great Ron White, "You can't fix stupid."

We are about the same age in these photos. Doesn't my Dad look groovy?

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