Saturday, February 23, 2008

This is my last post on this subject, I swear. We knew when we adopted transracially that our private lives would be public. I am not an unwitting victim, and I don't regret having my daughter in my life for a second, though whether she will find my choice regrettable as an adult is still anyone's guess.

I edited my last post to pose a question that I don't really think I want the answer to: Do people honestly think they are doing my daughter a favor/preventing future adoption by asking "Are they both YOURS?"

I asked Mia awhile ago a question that I want to ask more broadly, which is How can we find a balance between challenging the institution of adoption and adoption as it is currently practiced without undermining the security of children? How to make adoption less "normal" -- which is clearly a concern for many adult adoptees -- without making adopted children feel, as people, abnormal and, by extension, bad? (My daughter is already aware that the norm is not adoption, but should she be made to feel alien? Or, should she be made to feel that nothing is personal? That we're YOUR business?)

When I write about the strangers at the "grocery store," I'm not writing about recent events. We do just about everything in a neighborhood with lots of multiracial families. My daughter has preemptively introduced herself to every person in the neighborhood, and eagerly questioned them about every aspect of their lives:

What's your name?
- Where do you live?
-- Do you have a dog?
--- Is that your other grown-up? Why?!
---- Why are you buying that? Do you LIKE that?!

If the question "Are they both YOURS?" truly comes from genuine concern over adoption (Joy says -- in response to my comment at Paula's -- that people find families like mine "horrible and fascinating like a carwreck") it's led to a really adaptive behavior on my daughter's part:

She already has this sense that this is her world, and she'll be the one asking the questions.

Yet another reminder that I should try to be more like her.


Mia said...

I started to reply and it got long so I will just post it on my blog. I'm sorry I never came back to this question like I said I would. It's a great question and I hope you get a lot of responses.

abebech said...

Thanks so much Mia -- I'm sorry if I rushed you! It isn't a question I expected a short or quick answer to, and it's one I expect to be working on for all of our lives together, to be honest.