Our family is conspicuous. We stand out in a crowd. People look, take notice. A Chinese daughter, an Ethiopian son and two white parents make up our wonderful, beautiful family.
It's what happens with trans-racial or in our case multi-racial families. It's not the norm but it is who we are.
I knew that going into the adoption process. I tried to educate and prepare myself for the inevitable questions that may arise from people who are not as open or knowledgeable about the ways families are created. I armed myself with a tool kit of answers and tucked it securely in my back pocket. I thought I would be prepared.
I was surprised at what I found. The questions never came. Instead we were flooded with support. People told us stories of friends and relatives who had adopted from China or other countries. I remember an elderly gentleman approaching us at a restaurant with a picture of his Chinese granddaughter. He smiled and said he could not imagine life with out her.
The support continued when we started the adoption process for Lion. People were excited. They were glad we could expand our family and happy that Bunny would have a sibling.
When the four of us are together, no one says anything. There may be looks but I don't notice them. Instead I am focused on my family and the joy it brings me. No one questioned us about our family. I didn't need to educate anyone. We were a family and no one said anything to the contrary. Until yesterday when I was stopped dead in my tracks by a five year old.
A little girl stopped me after Bunny's ballet class and asked if I was her mother. When I responded in the affirmative, she said "oh. I thought you were the babysitter." I was surprised but said "no I am her mother". And gesturing to Lion, I said "I'm his mother too."
The girl then whispered something to her friend. I could see the wheels spinning in her head. I knew there had to be questions but I did not say they were adopted. I simply gathered my children and headed home, leaving any questions to be addressed by her mother.
The more I thought about it, I was surprised it hadn't happened sooner. Bunny's classmates have seen me with her and Lion all year long. They must have noticed the differences. There are other Chinese children in her class but they are picked up by Chinese mothers and they do not have African American siblings. But no one questions it. I am Bunny's mom.
I am Bunny's mom. I am Lion's mom. It doesn't matter what anyone else says or thinks, I am proud to be their mother.