A Revealing Conversation.

I forget sometimes how perceptive four-year-olds are.

It’s not unusual that we are approached when we are out with Baby Boy. Most of the time, people are so incredibly kind and say such nice, heartfelt things that really bless us. Sometimes, though, it can be exhausting and even invasive. When I’m out with friends and involved in conversations, I’m blissfully able to avoid eye contact with those who want to ask questions. When it’s just me and the kids, people often — usually — approach us.

I always try to answer questions, with the thought that maybe this person is considering adoption herself. There are times when I’ve had to draw the line — for example, when at an outdoor event with my kids and a perfect stranger asked me how much Baby Boy cost (yes this was right in front of Yaya.) But for the most part, even if I’m tired and not in the mood to answer questions, I do it anyway.

This past Sunday while Joel was home with Baby Boy during his nap, I took Yaya to the co-op with me. Before we shopped, we enjoyed a cookie together on the front lawn. As we sat down she told me, “Mom, when we’re out like this — it’s like we’re little friends!”

I agreed with her and said, “So, what would you talk about with your little friend?”

“Sometimes when people ask questions about [Baby Boy], it’s annoying.”

BAM.

Me: I think so, too, sweetie. What do you mean that you think it’s annoying?
Yaya: Well, they just ask a lot of things about him in his orphanage and stuff, and it’s just annoying. He’s just a baby and he’s just my brother.
Me: He is. Do you feel like he doesn’t get to be just a regular baby and a regular brother sometimes?
Yaya: Yeah. He should just get to be a brother. He’s not big enough to talk to them.
Me: I agree. And you should just get to be a sister. Sometimes I answer people’s questions because they’re our friends, but sometimes when I don’t know people it is hard for me to decide whether or not to answer their questions. Do you want to help me decide?
Yaya: Yeah!
Me: Okay — let’s practice. Let’s pretend we’re at the library and someone comes up to me and asks if [Baby Boy] is adopted. I’ll turn to you and say, ‘Do you feel like talking about it today?’
Yaya: No!
Me: So I’ll say, ‘Thanks so much for asking but we’re not talking about it today.’
Yaya: Yeah!  I like that!  Let’s practice some more.

So we had fun thinking of other scenarios where we’ve been approached, and thinking through how to politely handle it. We had our fair share of giggles.

The truth is, I get ridiculously nervous when people start asking me questions about adoption. How much is too much information? How do I protect his story? How do I decide if this person is well-meaning or just nosey?  I tend to stumble and/or have diarrhea of the mouth. I’m hoping that knowing that I am speaking up for my DAUGHTER’S sake will help give me strength to go through with what we practiced, and, in turn, empower her.

I totally get that we are a “conspicuous” family — but I want my children to be proud of our family just because we’re a family and not feel as though they are different or constantly on display. I’m grateful God allowed me this conversation and insight into my little one’s heart.

I would love to hear from some other adoptive parents out there. How have you handled the questions when you are out and about with your little ones? What have you learned along the way? If you could do it over again, is there anything you would change?  Please share — I need your wisdom and experience!

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  1. […] is not. She is listening even when I think she isn’t — and doesn’t miss a beat. A conversation with my 4-year-old revealed that she doesn’t always like answering questions and talking about her brother’s […]

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