I don't mention this much because it's not really an issue for me, but our son is adopted from South Korea. I say it's not much of an issue because he's our son. Period. It doesn't matter how he got here, he's our son.
Recently though he's started bringing it up himself. I guess he's at that age so we'll get it out of the way now.
Yesterday he's eating a waffle, looks down, and says, "Am I the color of this Eggo?"
Wow, that was a little flustering. I said, "Dude, you've been outside all summer. You're the color of tan."
I thought that it was time to go over some things at this point until he said, "...because my hair is the color of this Eggo."
At this point I was considering color blindness tests since his hair is black. I knew that the whole adoption thing was sneaking up on us even though he let that drop.
This morning with his mother he said, "Mommy, how did I get here?" Now she didn't want to go into the whole, 'They wheeled you off the airplane and plopped you in our laps (it really wasn't much more auspicious than that) so she rambled. It was expert rambling, but ended up at "The Gift from Afar."
It's a story about a stork who brings adopted children, blah, blah, blah. (It's a great book: here if you're interested) and even though he knows its a fairly tale, it distracted him enough that we can start game planning.
Much of this is made worse by 3 factions. They are all plotting against us as one unified whole. Children, older people (yes, grandma P., that includes you), and assholes.
Children are the most straightforward. It's usually, "Where are you from?" when they meet him. He deftly replies with the name of the town we live in but the question still hangs there.
Next are older folks. Hey, I'm not picking or anything. It's just the way they were raised. Here's a list of gems we've heard from them:
- "I love Koreans, they're so cute." WTF? like bunnies?
- "He'll do really well in math." Yeah, because that's a racial feature.
- "He must like fish." Yet another defining racial divide...
- After we tell them he was 6 months old when we adopted him, "Did he speak any English?" Um, how good was your 6 month old with the language?
- "He'll be really graceful." Arrgh, I could choke you, but there's laws and shit. Now my son could do one-handed cartwheels by age five, but that's because he's coordinated. It's just a fluke.
The last is the worst: assholes. I chalk it up to ignorance more than malice. There's just more dumb that goes around. There's this one dude we know. A friend of a friend of the family. Here are two of his greatest hits:
- "Ya know, some of the kids in Japan are getting operations to make their eyes look more western."
- Upon viewing a baby picture, "He looks like a little sumo wrestler."
My Mother-in-Law gets all jazzed with him. We tend to just steer him away from this crap. The time is upon us though where we'll have to have 'the talk.' We can't be there all the time so we'd best prep him. He's almost six. It should just sink right in.