Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Let's discuss it...can we? I need thoughts.

Recently If found myself in a situation where I didn't know what to do, what to say or how to approach the situation. So it got me thinking that this would be a good topic to throw out there to you. So I'm calling on all of you, the parents of adoptive children, that have children old enough to explain how they feel in certain situations.
Being that we just moved to this new location, I am seeing a lot of Asian children with white families, a pretty good indicator that they are also an adoptive family.
As I stood inside of Target waiting for the dumping rain to stop falling, I waited with 2 other white Mom's, each with their Asian child, assuming of course it was their child. I didn't have EG with me, so I said nothing. I thought it would neat to chat and pass the time, but I certainly didn't want to say anything that might make the middle school girl feel uncomfortable.
Is there a proper way to strike up a conversation?
I would never want to make a little girl feel awkward at an age where she 'gets it'...
So I just wanted some thoughts on that, some discussion, some ways you've been able to strike up a conversation without your Asian child by your side so that it doesn't come across as the nosey nobody, but instead a shared experience, another connection for my own child to make that there are many families in the world that look just like hers.

17 comments:

Two Kayaks said...

I have a friend who has adopted from China and she strikes up a conversation by asking if they (the parents) have ever traveled to China. It's an inconspicuous way to get the information you need to figure things out.

a Tonggu Momma said...

My first thought was an encounter I had with another woman about a month ago. I was out with the Tongginator and she was solo. We, too, were "trapped" (due to a long line rather than the weather). Anyways, she got my attention and asked, "excuse me, but I wondered if you'd ever heard of FCC?" I clarified, "Families with Children from China?" And she said yes, then asked if there was a local chapter. That's how we struck up the conversation. *grin* I don't know if she was actually interested in joining FCC, but I thought it was a clever way to strike up the conversation.

Chinamama said...

I usually just smile and ask. I will then quickly tell them that I have a daughter adopted from China. If LiLi is with me, she will usually run up to them and ask the parent/child if they were adopted from China. I will ask what provence she/he is from.

Again, if you feel like talking, just start with a smile and end it with a comment about how cute their child is.


Oh- if LiLi is not there, I will show them a picture of her so they don't think I am crazy.

Tawni said...

Oooh, good one! I am totally stocking your blog now for answers. I quite a few families with AA children. I want to run and talk to them, but then I risk them thinking I am some sort of freak. So, I don't. Can't wait to see what the comments are.

Sorry I'm no help here. ;)

t

Trudy said...

Make it a family trait. "you're an adoptive family too?" Can't wait to read the responses. They catch so much if when you think they're too young. Great topic

Debra said...

How about just talking. I mean, does one have to talk about adoption? I love it when people tell me my girls are cute, pretty, whatever and then just talk. I'm sure the middle school girl would rather not talk about her adoption all the time. I know my 8 1/2 year old likes being special because of her good grades or some act of kindness. Once talking has begun between you, you could whip out a photo of your family to show the Mom. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

I always just ask "... of what heritage is your daughter". I got that actually from a young lady just entering college asking about our daughter. She was adopted from Korea herself. I've used it a few times and has never seemed to offend anyone or seemed too bold.

Wendy

cheekyradish said...

My niece is adopted from Korea. I had her with me picking up my dry cleaning. My dry cleaning lady is also Asian. She pointed to my niece, and said. "Who, she?" (she had VERY broken English)I said, 'my niece' to which she said, " Where she from", I replied, 'Korea'. She said, "me too".. my niece (who was old enough to get it) broke into a big smile.

I'm thinking the 'what heritage' is fine.

La-La-Liene said...

I often get the, "your children are beautiful," comment when people want to strike up a conversation about them. I've used the same and have asked what the child's ethnic background is. Most people recognize that Emi is from China. Eriks is different story. He's Caucasian and Black American. A lot of people think he's either of Indian heritage (like the India Indian) or Hispanic. Many are shocked when I say what his racial makeup is. Others, not so much and those people either have children like Eriks or friends and family who have adopted mixed race children like Eriks.

And by the way, you're right, this part of GA has LOTS of adopted children from Asia. There are a good handful of families from our church who adopted from China and when we first brought Emi home last summer, they swarmed us at church asking where in China she was from. Eriks had a girl in his K class that was also adopted from China. As a matter of fact his teacher said there were 4 children out of 20 in the class that were all adopted and she's never had that before.

Chasing Dreams Photography said...

Well I usually smile first...sometimes that will lead to a conversation and sometimes no. I don't really have a strategy I just kind of take each situation as it comes...I don't usually just come out and say something..especially if the child is school age. I would not want to make the child uncomfortable...I usually smile and and see where it leads...most of the time it leads tom a good conversation. We have a huge adoption community where I live : ) Sounds like you do too.

Anonymous said...

I have also used the FCC group comment. Usually I just ask them, "Can I ask you a question?"
And then I just ask if they are members of the FCC group. If they are, then of course they will know what that is, if not then I say the whole thing. I have never (so far) had an issue. Before we got home with Tessa, I would explain that we are adopting too, but now, she is with me most of the time, so it would be obvious.

Angela

~ Alison n' Mali~ said...

I think (u'd) be fine no matter what (u) said, within reason . . . just b/c u know how it feels to have someone be nosey - and u know how it feels to be Mom to EG.

At Mali's age, she doesn't mind her history/heritage coming up in conversation, but she'd much rather listen to and/or talk about other things. U know, what she had for lunch, Justin Be1ber, penguins, spiders, how old she is and the fact that she'll be (age) 9 soon. I think any middle schooler may feel the same =)

funnylittlepollywogs said...

Hey T-
This doesn't exactly relate to this post, but I just read an article that I found on the Rainbow Kids newsletter that I thought you might like.
http://www.rainbowkids.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=714

t~ said...

Great read! Thanks for the link!

Five Times The Chaos.... said...

I usually just say "My son is from Hanzhong, Shaanxi" and see what they say...

Pug Mama said...

I don't ask anymore. I used to all the time. I would say, "your child is beautiful. We are adopting from China so anytime I see an Asian child my heart melts" that way I was NOT assuming that their child had been adopted, or of what ethnic background she was from. That line would always open up a line of conversation between myself and the parents.
Now.......I just don't ask any longer. I don't know why, I just don't. I never get offended if someone comes up to me, as long as they are not rude - I am not offended. I adopted a child of a different race - I know that people can clearly see that. Some are bold enough to ask, some are not.
You know, I have been getting a lot of "what nationality is your husband?" (obviously when I am with Low, and Big Daddy is not with us) because people think she looks like me.

Debbie said...

Great question with lots of great answers. I usually will ask what the hertiage is and if they are adopted. I get asked a lot if we adopted and of course the answer is "yes". I don't mind all the questions I just take them in stride answer the question and move on. I look at it as my opportunity to educate someone. =)

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