Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kids Say...

May 11
I teach 10th grade.  They have a thin veneer of civilization.  I've been telling my classes lately about our adoption, and their responses have been so...interesting.  They say the stuff that adults are thinking but don't say.  Like...

  • How much did they cost?
  • Why did you adopt from there and not from here?
  • Are you going to be one of those moms who won't let them eat sugar?  (I explained that I will be all weird about screen time and my husband will be all weird about sugar, and we will balance each other out on both those issues)
  • DO THEY SPEAK ENGLISH????  (This is freaking out my English only kids, although I don't think a single bilingual kid has asked this.)
  • Why did you guys decide to adopt? (Or the even nosier one)  Why didn't you have your own kids?
  • Won't it be really weird when you first meet them, and you don't know them, but you're all "Hi, I'm your mom?"  (this question apalled my more tactful kids, but I appreciated it because--honestly, he's right.)
  • What if you don't like them?   Can you give them back?
On the other hand, I've been amazed by the number of kids who've said mainly, "I'm so happy for you; you must be so excited."  And two days after I told one class about it, a girl said, "Linden is 6, right?  And how old is Oak?"  She remembered their names, and in Linden's case, it wasn't a name she ever would have heard before.*  They are rallying to make posters for our fundraising garage sale.  They keep asking if they'll get to meet the kids.  And I am trying to be mature and tactful and not haul aside the girl who identifies herself as a foster kid, despite having been adopted by her foster family 6 years ago, to question her inappropriately about her experiences and feelings. 

I start these conversations with a slideshow of those few photos we have.  Invariably, kids see the photos of Linden and ask, "Is that you when you were little?"  I know many adoptive parents look nothing like their kids, but I have to admit that something in me sings when people mistake my little girl for me.

*Their names are not Oak and Linden.  Trees are a big part of Baltic folklore.  Oaks are associated with men, and lindens are associated with women. 

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