Monday, June 25, 2007

Spreading the news

It's been fun telling our family and friends about Smiley. For the most part everyone has been very enthusiastic and are quick to tell us how adorable our son is. What's been interesting are the few responses have been very cold and distant. I make a mental note of those folks to keep my eye on once the baby is home.

The most disappointing reaction was from my grandmother. I wrote a while ago about her realizing 8 months into the process that us adopting from Ethiopia would actually entail us bringing home a black child. Because of this interaction I knew going into this conversation that she had some issues with our adoption but I was completely taken aback by this conversation.

Me: "Grandma, guess what! You have a new great grandson. We got our referral!!"
Grandma: "Wow. That's good. So, how dark is he?"
Me: *stammering* "Wha...what? What do you mean? He's a baby!"
Grandma: "Oh, never mind. So, what's his name?"

Yikes! I wasn't sure how to respond to that question AT ALL. I can't believe that someone would ask me that question as though I'm going to start comparing my child to food products or something... Well, kind of a warm rich chocolate.

How dark compared to what? ME? My next door neighbor? The floor? He's a person for goodness sakes not a purse or wall paint! I know I'm going to have to develop a thicker skin but really, come on people!

Has this happened to anyone else? What do you say when someone comes up with something like this?


MMrussianadoption said...

Holy Crap! I don't know what to tell you. Maybe you should say that with sarcasm in your voice, "What, like compared to a purse?" Show them that it pisses you off that they would ask such a nasty/ignorant question like that and that you are not going to justify it with a response. I don't care if she was my grandmother. You just dont say those things about someone's kid.

Starfish said...

It's definitely a generational thing - those older folks just don't get it. I may have told you this already but when we announced the good news that we were going to adopt, my MIL said with a dead straight face "I just wouldn't have kids". My response: "I bet you'll feel differently when we get the baby". Boy was I right. She loves him to death. I'm sure the same thing will happen to your grandmother - but so annoying to deal with until then.

Sig said...

Yup! One of my (ex) friends asked me why I would adopt a dark child, because "You know they are all so dark in Guatemala". She then told me that she would never fit in with my kids and she would stand out. Well, guess what? She fits in fine, and she will always be the one that stands out because she is the girl after 4 boys and that makes her the SPECIAL one. (i don't speak to this woman anymore, BTW)
And BTW, I told my husband Abby is my Latte, and man do I looooooooooove Latte's ;)

Jenni said...

I agree with Starfish - it's a generational thing. My 85 year old great-aunt, who thinks we are saints for adopting from Russia, still refers to my daughter as "the dark one." She's got olive skin with dark brown hair and black eyes - not your stereotypical Russian!

I just take such comments with a grain of salt, considering the source, but also make sure to keep my kids protected from them. It's hard, but most people's negative thoughts have changed once they met our kids. Hopefully it will be the same for your family as well. Children have a way of charming others, regardless of the color of their skin.

A bit belated, but CONGRATULATIONS on your referral!

KrazyMom said...

That is something that we have been concerned about also. My husband and I are adopting domestically, but have noted that we are open to adopting any race. Some people we have discussed this with seem distant about it. In my opinion if they love us, they will love our adopted child...or they don't need to be a part of our lives. I can't say that for your Grandma, the generational thing has alot to do with it, I am sure. Praying she will come around once she meets him and sees how much he fills your hearts!

Lindsey said...

Ahh, and I thought it was just us! I got the same question from two of my co-workers. Upon telling them that I was adopting from Ethiopia they wanted to know what color he was going to be. I was so stunned at the time that I just sat there with my mouth open. Now I can think of a thousand things I wish I'd said! I too make a mental note of these people for later! Congratulations on your referral.
God Bless,
Lindsey Clevinger