"So promise me you'll never forget...that you aren't an accident or an incident...you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on this earth...Flooded by emotion, overcome by pride, the Starmaker turns to us, one by one, and says, 'You are my child. I love you dearly.'" Max Lucado, God Thinks You're Wonderful

Monday, January 24, 2011

Make Them Not Look At Me

Part of me wonders if I should write this.

A million things go through my head about why I should or should not share.
But then I think about why I started this blog: to keep my family and friends up to date on what's happening with us AND for those that might be interested in adoption.
You know I am a huge advocate of adoption and transracial adoption. You know that I believe 100% that my God created our family exactly how it is today and it is perfect in His sight. So please don't read this post as I wish things were different or to say I wish we hadn't adopted transracially. I am living my dream.

But today it came with heartache. And I feel the need to put this out there.

One of my lovebugs said something that instantly made me think of Black Baby White Hands and in my heart thank Jaiya John for sharing his insight.

We were at the Dr.'s office waiting to be seen when one kept trying to hide between my legs and said, "Mom, please tell them not to look at me."

This statement has come up a lot in this child's life. As are all my kids, this one is to die for cute. I can't quit staring at them, and so for years I have responded, "Sweetie, you are really cute. They just are looking at how cute you are."

And now I believe that was not the right response. It's fine. But it makes the wound deeper. Like being black and being raised by white parents is something that everyone can understand and has experienced.
Today this went on and on. This pumpkin kept squirming and looking around to what they thought were eyes of children judging them. Then my baby said, "Mom, I wish I was peach. Then they wouldn't look at me."

Oh Lord. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was thankful our name wasn't being called and we could just sit there a moment and be. I kissed those sweet soft brown cheeks and said, "Honey, I am so sorry. Is that why you think they are looking?" I kissed some more and hugged those squishy shoulders. Then I whispered, "Thank you for telling me. I am so sorry sweetie." Their response was, "Make them not look at me".
I told "them" that I couldn't control the little girl, but that we could talk and not pay attention to everyone else. I tried to distract with other things around us, but both of us were heavy with what had been said...what that tiny heart was holding.

As I type this out, the weight of the words and thoughts are streaming down my face. I want nothing more than for my children to feel the intense pride in how God created us, that we are different and that we love it. But I also have to sit still in the moments as my children adjust to that and come to accept it. I need to grieve with them as they feel the glares because we don't match. It's good for me to see that all they understand is that they are constantly being stared at, and what it feels like to them is it's because we don't match.

I think that it's not coincidence that this came just days before we move. It helps ease my sadness over the good-byes. Although our first move will not bring them more faces that resemble theirs, but it will bring fewer stares as we don't stand out as much when we are covered head to toe in snow gear as well as more time alone for the 6 of us.

Our second move is what I praise God for. I can't wait until our kids are the majority. I can't wait to experience what they do all of the time. I know it will be uncomfortable for Blake and I...but it's about time and we look forward to getting a better glimpse into their world.
Thank you Lord for knowing where we needed to be for a year. Thank you for knowing my kids' hearts and that this decision was made to move to Atlanta long before the weight of these words were understood. Thank you Lord for helping me to understand my lil blessings more and not continue to be a part of the hurt with my responses to their discomfort.


mom2many said...

Wow, Molly. He is an extremely sensitive child. I mean that in a good way. My chocolate's are too young to notice their differences yet, but I am so glad that God gave them each other so they will not be different alone. I think I would have said the same things you have, "You are so cute, that's why they stare" etc. On one hand, we know that people stare and some people are just rude. We get stared at all the time because there are so many of us. People count us in my truck! And you know what, I'm an adult. I brought this upon myself, yet sometimes I just want someone to make them stop looking at me. I think what you will have to do is just what you are doing. Assure him that Jesus loves him and placed him in your family for a reason. I would also suggest you turning this around into a lesson..."remember how that made you feel? let's try not to make others feel that way". People are not always nice. We always want to be nice. I remember my mother teaching us it wasn't nice to stare at others. Poor baby. Although, if I saw you, I would stare because your kids are so stinking cute!!!

Melodie said...

thanks for sharing. we are not there yet. but i know it will come in time. i'm readin the book now. this is my 2nd attempt at it as i tried a couple of years ago and for whatever reason just couldn't get into it. but with your persistent suggesting, i'm at it again. thinking of you guys as you head into lots of new transitions.

bsjones7 said...

Thanks for sharing Molly! Caleb doesn't notice yet but I'm sure it's coming. We need to add another little one so he's not alone. I need to get that book! I pray all your transitions go smoothly!

Kelly said...

Hey Molly!
I've been following your blog for some time now. We have also adopted transracially and I've enjoyed gaining insight from you. I noticed that you guys are moving to Atlanta, I wanted to mention someone, you might already know of them... www.babeofmyheart.com- Andrea Young. They have just adopted from Ethiopia. Anyways, she has a wonderful blog, I'm going with 250 other adoptive mommies to a retreat put on by her in Atlanta soon. Anyways, she is from that area and I know that they have African American Fellowships and all... Just wanted to connect you guys to other adoptive families Good luck!

Sweetie Pie said...

Oh Molly, I'm sorry your sweet punkin experienced that. I'm sorry to say that I know exactly the pain you are feeling. Just the other day, a kid told our punkin that if she didn't have two black parents, she had to be an orphan!

Our agency had a workshop for adopted kids a few years ago that was really great. I know you are moving but the workbook is available from Amazon...it's called W.I.S.E. Up Powerbook. It gives kids some tools to use to respond to questions and comments. With my Lil Sweetie, we remind her that people are looking at US, not her...that it's our family that is different, not her. Then we go over ways she can handle the stares, comments, etc. It's not a magic fix, but it does seem to make her feel more empowered to handle things. We even role play sometimes.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

rlvd said...

Thank you very much for sharing this.

Leah said...

Molly, you are a hero. This post touched my soul. I have no answers or quick fixes or ideas for how you should handle this. I would never presume to know what you're going through. Just know that your family is a picture of God's kingdom on earth and I feel so privileged to get glimpses of it when I can. You are forever a champion for your kids and I love that about you! Keep fighting the good fight and I will forever remember you in my prayers. I love you.

Kristy said...

Wow I never even thought of this situation, I too try to just say things like your so cute ect. And I always tell myself, he is over sensitive "my son", because of his sensory issues guess I have some reading to get to!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

Debbie said...

A friend linked to your post. It's heartbreaking and eye opening. I know we'll have days like that sooner then I expect as our girl is almost 3. We just moved last year and it's not a very diverse area but it was for my husbands job and we couldn't do much about it. It saddens me that we have at least 2 more years here when she needs more diversity.
God bless you for having such an open spirit about moving where you and Blake will be the minority. I've not heard many adoptive parents sound so willing to make that kind of sacrifice for their children.

Anonymous said...

Molly, I am the mother of many children. Some are white, some are black, one is hispanic and one is biracial. Having a mixed family is a blessing. We have not had these issues come up. We have talked with our African/American children about their heritage and will teach them specifically about Africa, slavery and current, racial issues. We are not teaching them each to be proud of how God made them, (after all, God made them) but to delight in the beauty of each race. I know people stare at us, but they always have and the children are not bothered by it. Black people and white people have stared at us, but not in what seems to be a rude way. We ARE different, and we like it. God bless you.

Lesley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lesley said...

my words wont take your hurt away, but i wanted to say that i can not stop staring at your children because they are all beautiful!! And i can not stop staring at YOU because of your beautiful smile. You beam with happiness!! Your children will know that you don't have to match to be a family and they will be teaching their friends that. And while your child is saying they wish they are peach, my little girl says to me "why cant our skin be dark?" ;)
KNow that we love you all and that we will miss you terribly and we will be anxiously waiting for your return. And in the meantime, we will be praying for you! Love ya!

Kristin said...

Thank you for sharing. I have began reading the book on your prompting and I'm not digging it. We don't live in a diverse area. Reading your words makes me wonder if we're attempting the right thing. Then I read the statistics that claim 80% of all abortion clinics are in black neighborhoods, and I think we may just have to tough it out and allow God to work out the details. I realize it's not going to be easy, but what's the alternative? I'm just praying God will give me insight into this as He apparently has given to you. Keep sharing, please!

mckenziegordon said...

My heart is breaking with yours. It's hard for ME to feel those stares and I'm old enough to understand. I always write it off as paranoia, but I also pray for the day with Tuck notices too. Thanks for your insight and vulnerability. You don't know how helpful it is! Praying for you guys as you move and adjust!

Al's World said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I will be praying for you and your PRECIOUS family through this next transistion in life and pray for your children that through these life experiences they can grow and have an exceptionally unique look at the world around them. I pray for yours and Blakes guidence and God's love to shine through all of you! Blessings to you all as you move and begin a new season in your life!

Ursula said...

Oh sweet friend.
This post made me cry.
I love those tender hearted kiddos of yours
The staring has hands down been the hardest part of adopting for me. I hate it, and I feel like it's so hard to explain how it feels. J doesn't get it yet, but I'm wondering when she will and how we'll deal.
You captured this issue perfectly.
I love you.
I'm going to miss you so much!

Rachel Crawford said...

I just finished reading black baby white hands last night. My heart truly breaks for your little one who is already feeling the pain of looking different from his Mommy. This world can be such a tough place. Know that you are not alone in your journey. Love you, girl. Give that sweet little man a big hug.

Kristen said...

Molly, I've been following your blog for a while and I wanted to know if I could email you with some questions. I can't find an email on your blog. Could you email me at kristensupan @ gmail.com? THANK YOU!

Cindy said...

Oh sweet momma, I can just feel your heart there. Is there anything worse than when one of your children hurts? He's got a huge, precious heart and you're doing a great job hearing and understanding his fears.
While that book is tough to read, it has definitely opened my mind and heart to some VERY important things. I know my sweet little guy will feel those stares very soon...and I need to remember to acknowledge and validate all those feelings he has.
thanks for being so transparent about all of this, love love love you sweet friend. and I already miss you!!

The only and only Lady: said...

Oh Miss Molly...I am sorry that your sweet little one had to experience that at such a young age! I love your kiddos so much that it breaks my heart as much as yours to hear those words!! We have to remember that kids only know what they're parents teach them...I think it is a BIG thing to teach your kids not to stare!! I am sad that in the world we live in that your and your sweet one are even having to experience such an experience!!

Keep the faith sister! You know God will give you the words to deal with this sad situation and you know that He will protect and teach all of you from this experience!!!

Traci Mullinax said...

What is the best way to handle this as a parent? If it is my child that is starring or asking questions, my typical response is God makes all kinds of people and all kinds of families. Is that appropriate?

cassie said...

I found your blog via Chass' blog- my husband and I are adopting and hoping to have a very diverse and transracial family. My heart breaks for you and your child, and for all those who experience this on a daily basis. I will be lifting you and your children up, Molly.