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 :)