Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Autumn asks: Why don't people think before they open their mouth?

"Don't buy that, its from China!"
"Oh, wouldn't want anything from there -- its all poison!"
"They don't make anything good!"

As my daughter and I stand in Target, right in their faces, with our mouth hanging open. So what do I do? My daughter is frowning and obviously thinking this over. She has recently become aware of the fact that she is Chinese. She is proud of this fact...something we work on. Some adoptive parents tear down the sending country and teach the children how they saved them from an awful fate. Not helpful or appreciated according the the adult adoptees that have been there, done that. And you don't want to hide the bad and only teach the good. That is too lopsided.

What did I want to do? Well, how about starting a conversation on the rioting students in South Korea? They are rioting because the government finally caved and told the US they would start accepting our beef again. The population is furious. They don't want any beef from the US in their stores. (If you are curious, look it up. Self education means more than "someone said".) Or I could point out the signs at the local HEB's warning about tomatoes and the salmonella outbreak in 16 states. Or I could say something about the recall warnings I keep on my igoogle homepage to check each day...and how most of the recalls are American made.

But it wouldn't do any good. My real problem is that they tear things down in front of children that are not deaf or dumb. The child is the real victim in these cases. And you think things like this don't happen often? Let me give you a rundown of a FEW of the things that have been said to me...with Mighty Mouse on my hip or standing right there:

"Is she Chinese? They kill all there girls over there. They hate them."

"Chinese think girls are trash."

"Thank you for saving a child from such a terrible country." (The savior mentality)

"How much did she cost?" (Constant question)

"I'll bet she cost a pretty penny."

"I can't believe they let you pick such a pretty one." (You don't pick your child from China, you are assigned one - unless it is a special needs adoption.)

"Thank you for being such a good person."

I could go on but this post would get too large. Most of the time I'm so shocked I just stand there looking at the person. I've learned to weed out which actual questions to answer by asking a question in return: Why do you ask? If they are in the process of adoption, I answer the best I can. If they are just curious I get to tell them its an inappropriate question. Bottom line - I scan a room on entering, notice the reaction we get and decide who to make sure and not make eye contact with. Our trip to Athens is a good example. We went to the Lake Marina for lunch. As soon as we walked in, one full table of about 9 gave themselves whiplash looking at us. Mighty Mouse was the only person in the place that was not white. And of course the waitress set us down at the table right beside them. I spent the next hour avoiding eye contact -- which they kept trying to make. Who knows, maybe one of them has a Chinese granddaughter (they were mostly older folks). But what does it matter? Do you really think Mighty Mouse likes people always talking to her and her mommy just because she's different than mommy??

So for those of my friends that have never thought about this....don't run up to people and ask personal questions that single out a kid and make them feel like their right to belong is questionable. The kids "get it" younger than you think and it hurts them.

1 comment:

  1. What an important message you've put forth. I've heard you mention some of these things before, and it really is unreal. Thanks for sharing this. I pray the God will shield MM's ears somehow from all this!