Saturday, April 25, 2009

It Doesn't Just Happen to Adoptive Families

Tekle, Aaron, Zenebesh and I were walking back to my house from the park today and a man walking by casually mentioned "Wow, you've got your hands full! You're baby-sitting on a SATURDAY?" I laughed and said that I wasn't technically baby-sitting because they were my brothers and sisters. The man replied: "Oh cool, you volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters?"
"Mmmm nope, they're really my brothers and sisters!" I wasn't offended because I am well aware that we don't exactly look like siblings and I don't expect people to automatically figure out that we are an adoptive family. We talked a little bit more and then the man continued walking. A few minutes later though he turned around and said "You know, I wanted to come back and apologize for what I said about you baby-sitting. I have an albino daughter and people ask me all the time whose kid I'm watching [he's African American]. It drives me crazy!"

I was caught off guard by his apology but I thought it was really cool. We sympathized with each other about how frustrating it can be at times to not be immediately acknowledged as a family. I know people's comments don't stem from bad intentions or anything, but it was nice to vent a little bit about the constant need to explain how we are related.

I think it was cool for both of us to talk to someone who "gets it" and I was reminded of the wide range of families out there--We are certainly not the only ones who stand out!

On a similar note, last week I was helping Leah do childcare for an Ethiopian kids playgroup and I brought Zeni along. When we got there one of the little boys asked me in a really surprised voice: "That's your sister?! But why are you so much bigger than her??" I laughed because the fact that she's Ethiopian and I'm not didn't phase him a bit, he just couldn't grasp the age difference between us :)


Jennifer said...

Love the new look of your blog. Your little brothers and sisters are beautiful (as are you)!!

Harman said...

I love the new header for you blog! Leah was telling me about the babysitting experience with the kids the other day. She said it was pretty crazy! Hope you are doing well. We missed you at the Dino appreciation today! Know that you are appreciated for all you do for the Dino family.

sarah bess said...

Kelsey, I know what you mean, and my girls were born to me. My eldest two daughter looks just her daddy (from India). I used to get asked whose children I was babysitting, too. My husband gets some looks when we're in the States when at a grocery store with our youngest girl, who looks very white.

sarah bess said...
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Leah Marie said...

Kels. The new look is amazing... This post was super powerful too.. what an incredible exchange to have with that man