We are used to stares, comments, and questions regarding our family. At first we were uncertain how to respond as strangers would approach us and nosily interrogate us. My daughter is eleven months old, and though I don't think these times of questioning have necessarily become less frequent, we are better prepared on how to handle them.
This past weekend we met friends for dinner to celebrate my husband's birthday. They arrived first and got us a table. We came a few minutes later and settled in. Soon the waitress appeared, a young woman, perhaps twenty-five. She set my friends' appetizer on the table and then looked at us and asked what we would like to drink. We both ordered water and started to return to the conversation with our friends when the waitress asked us, "Are you babysitting?"
I replied, "No."
She asked who the baby was. I said, "She's our daughter."
She then asked, "Did you adopt her?"
I said yes, thinking duh.
The waitress paused and then burst out at us like grand-prize-sweepstakes-winning confetti, "OH THAT'S SOOOOO COOL. THAT'S AWESOME! SHE'S SOOOOOO PRETTY!!!"
Listen. We are just a family. I don't wake up every morning, go to my daughter's crib, swoop her up and say, "You are black and adopted! That's soooooooo cool! That's awesome! You are soooo pretty!"
No. I'm like every other mom in America. I go to her crib. I wonder if she has a dirty or just a wet diaper. I greet her with smiles and kisses and a "good morning, baby!" I change her diaper. I get her some breakfast.
Adoption isn't necessarily "cool." I think God's hand can be clearly seen in our adoption situation. We are blessed to have our daughter. We love her, find so much joy in her, and love the family we have together. Oh, and we do think she's beautiful----but not because she is black or because she's adopted. She's just beautiful. Period.
Some people don't know what to say so they just stare. Some people don't think and rattle off personal questions that are never appropriate...but somehow because our family adopted, we should be open to answering anything. Some people just want to touch her hair. (She's not an animal at the petting zoo!). Some people tell us that she's soooooooooo cute (multiple times until it's uncomfortable) because they don't know what else to say. The babysitting question? That's a new one.
I want to respond with confidence while asserting our privacy. As my daughter gets older, I fear the questions that will hurt or embarrass her. As her mother, I'm fiercely protective of my daughter and her adoption story. It's my job.
No one prepared us for the questions, comments, and stares. However, we're holding our own , happy to just be us, to be a family.