featured post: “parents, please educate your kids about adoption…” by Rage Against the Minivan

Lately, I have been wading into adoption blogs – doing some backwards reading (yes, it is me stalking your archives you stats-checker, you) and starting to comment. I didn’t blog about our journey to #1. I didn’t even start reading blogs until I was pregnant and losing my mind with anxiety. I mainly followed other ladies who were also newly pregnant after treatment and slowly, slowly started commenting. The more I speak up in the community, the more I seek out the stories of others. I admit that by now, very few are still TTC#1 journeys, and none of these women are pursuing adoption. As such, despite two years in this community, I know very little about adoption. This is something I am working on – it is important.

A funny thing happened last Thursday. I was reading this post by traathy (someone I recently started following after this month’s theme post, and a fellow Canuck!), and then a day or so later this post came up on my personal Twitter feed. The day after that, none other than traathy emailed it to us suggesting we feature it on the site saying “After writing a post myself just last night about the inappropriate and downright idiotic comments I’ve received since bringing my daughter home just six months ago, Kristen at Rage Against the Minivan  also wrote a post about the same.  She did a fantastic job at expressing how every family looks different and that it is our job as *parents* to educate our children on the differences that exist in families today.” WORD.

This especially poignant post about talking about adoption begins with an exchange between her son and a group of children at a playground:

I don’t think these kids were trying to be cruel.  But the way that they were surrounding him, asking questions and refusing to accept his answer as he repeatedly pointed to me as his mom, made the situation feel confrontational. Kembe looked embarrassed and I decided to intervene.  I approached them and tried, in my most friendly and casual voice, to introduce myself and then asked if they had some questions I could help with.

It was clear from the exchange that what the kids were saying, and the questions they were asking, came from a place of sheer ignorance. Not the “refuse to learn” kind, but the “genuinely don’t know” kind. Kristen recognizes that although her children will inevitably be asked such questions by their peers (and be more and more on their own as they get older), the parents of said peers can do their part too.

This isn’t the first time my kids have been questioned on the “realness” of their family by their peers.  I suspect it won’t be the last.  I know I can’t expect every single kid to have been educated on adoption, and inevitably my kids will be the ones educating their peers.  But is it too much to ask that other parents, whose families don’t have exposure to transracial families, take a couple minutes and explain it to them so that my kids aren’t always the center of the After-School Special on Adoption in the school playyard?

What I took away from this post (and from the other bloggers whose stories I know follow) is that educating your kids about adoption (and different types of families in general) isn’t hard and need not be uncomfortable. But it is important to normalize what they see around them because their peers and their families, are well, normal. This post also had a handy outline for a script to talk to older kids, and a variety of book and movie suggestions as well.

I appreciated this post so much, and I know I still have a lot to learn. It isn’t good enough for me to just think that my children will soak up my attitudes by osmosis, or embrace diversity just because we live in a very multi-cultural city. That isn’t good enough. We have to talk, daily.

Please head over to Rage Against the Minivan and check out “parents, please educate your kids about adoption so mine don’t have to.” It is worth a read through both the post and the comments. Comments on this thread will be closed in an effort for you to connect with Kristen directly and share your thoughts with her.


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