Saturday, May 29, 2010

The attention we get
When we were completing the paperwork necessary to adopt, I watched some educational videos online about what it was like to be a "conspicuous" family. They talked about the different things that we might encounter and offered response alternatives. While we waited for our referral, I read countless stories online written by families who had kids of a different race. Some of the things that have been said to them are SHOCKING! Seriously unbelievable mean and stupid comments. I knew that by becoming a bi-racial family we may get some additional and possibly negative attention.

We've been home with G for just about a year and half now. Fortunately, we've received only a handful of stupid comments and been the victim of only 2 really ugly stares that I recall. Most of the attention we get is positive... or at least intended to be positive. But sometimes, it is a bit annoying. Maybe annoying isn't the right word. Maybe "tiresome" is more descriptive.

Example: A week or so ago, I took G to a birthday party for one of the little girls from her daycare. There were about 10-12 little kids there, all in the 2-4 range. All of them very cute. I mean they're toddlers, they're cute! We were there for about 2-3 hrs and during that time the parents just stared and stared at G. I got dozens of comments on how cute she was, how cute her clothes were, how beautiful her skin and hair were, etc. At one point, I looked over and noticed that there were no less than 8 parents and grandparents standing and gawking at her as she ran around playing. I heard no one make a single comment to anyone about any of the other little children. She's like a celebrity! And, our family is always remembered by store clerks, waitresses, etc. Always. I guess we do stick out: a fat girl, a short guy and a little asian kid. It does tend to leave an impression.

In some ways, I think the attention can be a positive. I believe that children who generally receive smiles and positive comments from people they encounter can develop high self esteem as a result. On the other hand, as time goes on, I wonder if she'll expect to be treated as special or possibly even resent the extra attention she recieves???

We also get unintentionally dumb/ignorant/uncomfortable comments. One of the grandmas at the party said to me something along the lines of "its wonderful that you adopted from one of 'those countries' --thank you for doing that." So what is the proper response? "You're welcome"?? or "Yeah, you're right, it was pretty great of us"??? Its hard for people I guess. They don't know what to say. I think a lot of times they just want to let us know that they feel positively about the situation. They're nice people and they're trying to be nice. I appreciate the effort. But.... sometimes I wish they'd just treat us the way they'd treat anyone else.

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