Not flesh of my flesh
nor bone of my bone
but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute
you didn't grow under my heart
but in it!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

America - the Melting Pot?

America is no longer as homogeneous as it once was. Inter-racial marriage, adoption, immigration, etc. are much more common. One would think that prejudices and crazy comments from ignorant people would be very rare, but they are not as uncommon as I had hoped. I belong to a couple Yahoo! groups about Guatemalan adoptions where people share stories, advice, and experiences about their Guatemalan adoptions. Two moms recently shared their eye-opening stories.

One mom shared a story from her daughter’s gymnastics class waiting room. The parents were sitting in the waiting area behind the glass. They were pointing out their children and commenting on how cute they all were. The mom pointed out her daughter and another woman said, "THAT's your daughter? The LATINA?! SHE's your daughter?" The mom said, “Yes, she’s my daughter,” and the woman repeated the "Latina" thing again. The mom told her she was Guatemalan and her daughter. The woman then asked her how she "found" her daughter!

Another mom was in Target with her two year old son who had been adopted from Guatemala. A woman approached her and asked her, “Is he yours?” The mom said, “Yes, he’s mine”. The woman repeated, “Really, he’s yours?” The mom replied, “Yes, he’s mine.” Again, she repeated, “REALLY, he’s yours?” The mom pushed the cart forward and walked away without another word. She was furious but her son was oblivious to this ignorance.

This same mom was chaperoning a field trip this past year with her son who is now in the first grade. A classmate asked the mom, very casually, “You’re his mom?” The mom said, “Yes” and the classmate asked, “How come he doesn’t look like you?” The mom simply said, “Because he’s adopted” and the child was satisfied with the answer. The funny thing is, that evening the son said, “Jake (the child who asked the question) doesn’t look like his mom either.” The mom said, “He doesn’t, how come?” The son’s response was, “Because he’s young and she’s old and he has short hair and she has long hair.” (Sweet innocence…!)

Another mom was at a store with her son, her sister, and her nephew who is almost the same age as her son. A sales clerk asked how old the boys were. They said that they are cousins and about the same age. The clerk then said something like "Wow, so you were both pregnant at the same time". The mom, of course, said no, that her son was adopted. The clerk seemed extremely shocked and said "Oh, I'm SO sorry for you". The mom said, "Actually no you really don't need to be" and left the store.

I will have to be prepared with how I will handle these questions and situations. Gabriella will take her cues from me; if I get upset, she will think there is something to get upset about but if I remain calm and nonchalant, she will think nothing of it.

I intend to raise Gabriella to be confident; she will not care about what others think or say. She will be aware of her surroundings and proud of her differences. She will enlighten those with prejudices, but will do so graciously. As her mom, I must set this example for her.

No comments:

Post a Comment