Things That Make You Go Hmmm.

So, I’ve talked about all the fun things about being home, and I’m pretty sure all that is getting boring now. I mean, you can only hear me say, “I love…” so many times before it gets old. I was thinking the other day that with our adoption getting finished and everything around that I haven’t really written much about anything else lately. Nothing really thought provoking. And, understandably so. But, I’m getting bored with myself, so I thought I would make more of an effort to tell you about some of the things I’m thinking about these days as they come up rather than just telling you what we do all the time.

One thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is actually something that has come up since we’ve been home. It was something I wondered about before we left Haiti, but knew I couldn’t anticipate until we got here because it could go any which way. I’m talking about people’s response to my daughter.

No, stop for a second. I’m not talking about friends and family and how they respond to her. That’s almost a given I think. They’ve all been anticipating meeting her, have known her in a way for a couple of years now. They understand our family and are excited. What I’m talking about is how the average person looks at our family.

The area we’re in is not exactly the most culturally diverse. I think I’ve mentioned this before. And it’s okay. It was and still is very much a farming area. But, it is growing by leaps and bounds and even since April I’ve noticed that it’s getting more culturally diverse, which is a great thing. There are a lot of First Nations families here, and have been for a very long time, as well as East Indian and Pakistani families. There are not a lot of black people. So few that they actually stand out quite a bit.

When we’ve been out with Olivia it’s been interesting to see how people respond. I will preface this by saying that not once has anyone responded negatively to our family. Not once. In fact, it’s just the opposite. People are interested and break out in big smiles when they see us, and I LOVE that. People of all ages. It makes me realize that things are changing and people are more open to adoption and things like that.

The thing that is interesting to me is how strangers respond to Olivia. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “Oh, she’s so beautiful/cute/precious…” And I smile and we say Hi. But, in my head I’m thinking about the fact that these people are walking by other children, white children, and not saying a thing. I know they notice Olivia because, well, she stands out. But it’s interesting to me that they so openly comment about her either to me, or to each other as they pass. And, I think it’s interesting the assumptions they make. I mean, yes, I do think my daughter is beautiful/precious/cute etc, but when they say these things it’s almost like they’re talking about her behaviour too. I was talking to a former student the other day and we were talking about this exact thing and he said, “And I bet everyone thinks she’s amazing.” See, his sister married a black man and he’s noticed how people have responded to his brother in law in an area that doesn’t have a lot of black people.

I want to say that I don’t think any of this is wrong or bad, just interesting. I hope that when people see our family they do think about things. But, I find it interesting that people so openly talk about my daughter when they walk right past hundreds of kids a week and probably never even notice them enough to say anything to their parents.

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

6 thoughts on “Things That Make You Go Hmmm.

  1. Olivia IS adorable, and I’m sure I would gush over her, but not to her face, if I were there. But I also gush over my next door white children Leland and Claire, both toddlers, whom I have enjoyed from birth. And the neighbors’ remarkable infant grandson who tries to talk to us. Perhaps many of these people do comment on other standout children they see when they’re out, as I also often do. I DO hear what you’re saying, but think the compliments are likely sincere and folks are both surprised and pleased at her adoption. Even though it’s really none of their business! Much love, Aunt Sue.

  2. Leslie, when our twin daughters were young I couldn’t go anywhere with them without hearing comments about how cute/pretty/adorable/awesome they were — not because they were, but because as twins they attracted much more attention. Whenever I took just one of them out, no one noticed her at all!

  3. I am the Caucasian mom of two Asian girls and at times, especially when my first daughter went through this etherally gorgeous phase at about three, I got a tad irritated at people telling her or me how BEAUTIFUL she was! I have always taught her beauty comes from within and didn’t want it to have a negative effect on her. But I know that I myself light up when I see a family that doesn’t “match” because the more families like that, the more accepted different races and mixed families become and the less children/people who are teased/looked down on.

    And while I usually don’t bother anyone by asking questions, I may give them a smile or say, your baby/child is so cute/beautiful. So I am guilty too – but I think it is because I want to let the family know I approve and find their family situation a positive thing in society. I got a few dirty looks after adopting my first daughter and one man who said he would run over my girls, then about 6, because “they ain’t white, are they?” So I think people who go out of their way to tell you how beautiful Olivia is are offering approval and acceptance, which is a good thing! And she IS adorable and sounds so smart for her age, so it could be just that LOL!

  4. bless your hearts…I love that we have the opportunity to right the wrong that was done in the 1800’s to the Africans…now, are adopting their children into our families and making them family instead of slaves…that was God’s heart all the time…what wonderful reconciliation between two cultures…

    people notice when there’s something unusual…I remember walking with my kids in a stroller when one was just a few months old, and we met someone with some dogs, and there were some other walkers that met us at abput the same time…they commented on how cute the dogs and didn’t give any attention/comment to my baby/kids…I thought that was interesting snapshot of society that dogs can sometimes get more attention than children…but then again…my kids are “normal”…

    thanks for sharing your heart and everything else too!!

  5. Thank you for saying what you did about Oliva … my daughter is also of black heritage ….. and the comments she receives and the looks can be a bit overwhelming for her at times…. we live in Vernon … I so understand what you mean about the other children not getting comments ….. One time while in San Miguel (mexico) we had a women follow us around … after four or five blocks I whipped around to ask her what she wanted …. she wanted a picture …… so ya! I understand and find it interesting … my daughter is now in gr. 5 and is getting used to all the attention … for her its just a way of life and you get to sat thank you lots to other for their comments.

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