I was working on a blog post for this week about how I am struggling with emotions (again) but then things changed – my spirits were lightened. One minute I’m up and excited and the next I’m doubtful and worried. It’s amazing how just a quick conversation can change your entire perspective on things!
I was walking through our front office at work this morning and spotted a man that works for one of our vendors. As some of you may know, I spent several years working for our company in our purchasing department, so I still know several of the vendors and they will speak to me if they see me around. This particular man, Jeff, had another gentleman with him that I have seen before in the office. As I was walking through, Jeff spoke to me and I stopped to speak.
The last time they were in, my dad (who they were meeting with) went to lunch with them and found out that the other gentleman had adopted a daughter from China several years ago. Any time someone mentions the word “adopt”, my ears perk up. I immediately get interested. I want to know more, hear more, talk to them, etc. Dad told me a little bit that he knew and of course, I was interested.
When I saw these gentlemen in the office today, I couldn’t remember for sure if this was the same guy that Dad had told me had adopted or not. Jeff asked me about Dakota so, of course, I filled him in. We talked for a little bit and something came up about the baby. Dad then told me this was the gentleman that had adopted the little girl. This guy asked if we were trying to adopt and we began talking in more detail.
We talked about their trip to China, how old their daughter was when they adopted her, and just various things about the adoption process. I thoroughly enjoyed that conversation. I love when I meet someone who has “been there” – whether it’s domestic or international – and feel like I have a bond with that person.
One of the most beautiful stories that this gentleman told me was about when his daughter was in preschool. Her teachers had wanted her to bring something in about China and since it was Chinese New Year, she had taken some Chinese items into school. A little boy in her class said, “Grace, I didn’t know you were from China!” To you and I, it would be obvious – if we saw a kid that appeared to be Chinese with a set of white parents (or a black child with white parents), we would immediately make assumptions. But to this little boy, she wasn’t “Grace, the girl adopted from China.” She was “his friend, Grace.” Her ethnic features didn’t matter to him. To me, that was beautiful.
When answering the race question for our adoption, we felt like we had to take into account how the people around us (our community, our family, etc.) felt….and that saddened me. Why does it matter? Jon and I felt like we could take a child of any color, love it and give it a home. However, we felt as though our community (and some family) might not be supportive. The support didn’t matter so much – but being concerned with how they would treat him or her (and Dakota) because of it did matter to us. But as I said, that saddened me – and still does.
The reason this little boy’s response to “Grace” is so beautiful to me is that it shows us that kids don’t care – unless they’re taught to care. Kids don’t automatically think “I can’t play with this person” because they’re different” or “I can play with her but she can’t be my girlfriend.” They just see their friend.
I’ve heard of people who didn’t want their kids to date outside of their race or even have friends of a different race. I’m so thankful that my dad taught me to be good to everyone and not judge others based on the color of their skin. Actually, he taught me not to judge others.
I don’t want my children to look at someone and decide anything about that person based on the color of their skin or their ethnic features. I want them to learn the person and decide whether or not to be friends with that person based on their personality and their attitude. I hope that I can teach them that while we may look different than some of our friends, it really doesn’t matter. I may not be able to change the world, but hopefully, I can at least make an impression on one or two little minds.
Still waiting, hoping, and praying…