Monday, May 12, 2014
When People Are Silly
On Friday Chris and I took E to get his Certificate of Citizenship. He became a U.S. citizen the day we re-adopted him in the U.S., but Homeland Security requires a (not fun) paperwork process and then an interview before they actually give you a Certificate of Citizenship. My understanding is that E might need to show that certificate for scholarships or to get a government job or any time he has to prove his citizenship.
We had an hour wait between our interview and the printing of the certificate so we walked around a little bit. We found ourselves at a park and a woman at a booth asked us to sign a petition about jail time for child molesters. (I fought the urge to grab my 4 1/2 year old's hand and walk briskly away as she loudly repeated the whole "child molesters" part!) But anyway...
The conversation quickly took a turn as she noticed the skin color difference of our little family.
She looked at Chris, "How'd you get that baby?" No joke, people.
Her countenance changed, "Oh, you adopted?! Wow! He is so cute! How old are you? Give me a high five, little man!"
Then she looked at me. "Is this your wife?" she asked Chris.
To me: "You can't have babies? How long have you been married?"
I decided to let the first question pass by. "7 years," I said.
"And you've never been pregnant? You don't want to have his babies? You don't want to have your own?"
There it was! The dreaded little phrase that pops up constantly. In front of my son. HE IS MY OWN, YOU NINCOMPOOP! That's what I said inside.
Chris with his ability to diffuse any situation lightly and jokingly chimed in, "We do have our own. He's right here!"
She did not understand.
She asked probably 3 more times as we were walking away why we don't want to have OUR OWN? Chris just kept lightly enforcing, "We do! We already have our own!"
Then she threw out something about blessing us as we walked away.
Then she yelled, "You're going to have your own! God just told me that!"
What don't you get, lady?!
Here's what I believe about intrusive adoption questions as well as ridiculous racial comments. Now this is not applicable to the really offensive stuff, but rather to things like the above "conversation." If we get all offended and visibly shaken, we teach our kids that something is wrong. We teach them that what silly ladies in the park say is important and holds value. But when we can just laugh it off and throw out some light response that validates our child and our family while remaining unbothered by the whole thing, we teach our kids that there's nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. I joke about what I wanted to say, but on the outside I kept a smile and acted like it was no big thing, and we just told this silly lady that of course, E is 100% OUR OWN.
I think that's the best way of handling most of this stuff. Affirm our kids, affirm our family, and brush it off so my sons know it doesn't phase me one bit because some people are just silly!
What are some ways you handle this kind of silliness?