So last week one of my gym friends tells me that a man asked her about me (and the babe). He said that the baby was pretty, and was she mine? My friend said yes, that I adopted her.
(This man has only been coming to our gym for about a month or so. He's a very tall, African American man, in his sixties.)
Then the next day I'm in the gym hallway (holding the babe) chatting with a few friends and the man who asked about Ella and me walks by. He says to me, "Are you babysitting?" Um, did he not just ask someone yesterday if Ella was mine or not? So I said, "No, she's my daughter." I then say, "Can't you tell? She looks just like me." As a joke, of course. He then smiles and walks away.
Then a few days ago I walk into a step and weights class to hand something to one of my friends. The guy is in the class and says, "Aren't you the girl with the baby?" I say, "Yes, I have a baby." He says, "A girl?" I say yes.
Then, on my way out of the room, I stop to talk to another friend. The man comes up, interrupts us, and asks if he can talk to me for a minute. We step to the side and it goes like this:
Guy: Now, I'm sixty-nine years old.
Guy: Is that your baby that you bring here?
Guy: Where is she?
Me: In the nursery. (Um, where else would she be? Swimming by herself in the gym pool?)
Guy: I'm in my sixties, and I'm not used to this. (Ok, so are you trying to justify being so nosy/ignorant/rude/invasive?) Did they not have any [babies] of your own [race]?
Me: (Did he seriously just say that?!? I don't know whether to laugh, walk away, or respond. I respond.) We were open to the child God had for us.
Guy: Thinks for a moment. Was your husband, was he ok with that?
Me: (No, I adopted her secretly, and my husband has yet to notice she is black). Yes.
Guy: Well, it's nice to know some people are colorblind. (Obviously he's not....)
Odd. Really odd. I don't know what to make of it.
Is this a test? I was confident and not at all embarrassed or ashamed. I was slightly annoyed, though. How many times is this guy going to ask questions? And why does he assume that we adopted because we are colorblind? Who is colorblind/race-blind (besides people who are really, physically blind)? And why does he think stating his age is going to make me feel better? Well, maybe it makes him feel better.
I guess I admire the fact that he had the guts to talk to me. It sure beats a stare or a whisper. But those are few and far between. I mean, does this guy live under a rock? We live in a metro area full of interracial families.
Despite the odd, nosy conversation, I recognize that these questions and conversations (which rarely happen anymore but when they do, I'm ready) are opportunities to educate other people about adoption. It's sort of what I signed up for, I guess.