Monday, January 02, 2012

Should I or Shouldn't I?

This is the question that I ask myself every time I see a family that looks similar to ours (Caucasian parents with an Asian child)  and I want to reach out to that family.  Should I discreetly inquire about their child or not?  I would never approach a parent in front of a child who was old enough to understand me but if they are away from the child or the child is a baby, I usually try to provoke some conversation.  I have a couple of motives for making the connection.  The first one is that I am the founder of the local FCC chapter in South Florida and I like to share the fact that we have this amazing support system in place, in case they may be interested.  The second motive is purely selfish.  I just want to reach out to another family that was formed in a similar fashion to mine...period.

Marc and I always joke that there should be a secret hand sign that us China adoptive mamas can use...a secret sign that only we know, so we can make a connection if both parties are willing!  I know...seems a bit weird but quite honestly, it would have helped today so that I could have avoided making a total ass out of myself with a CAM (China Adopt Mama).  This CAM was nearby as Marc and I were having a child free day at the beach.  She was by the ocean with her daughter when Marc saw her and joked to me once again, we needed a signal.  I watched her and her adorable daughter and wondered if she was from South Florida or was a tourist.  They played for a few minutes and then the mom left her daughter's side and walked towards was my chance!!

As she strolled by where we were sitting and was not in ear shot of her daughter, I said hello to her and asked her if her daughter was from China.  She nodded yes and then I told her that we have two children who were born in China.  She then averted her eyes from mine, turned and quickly walked away from me.  For whatever her reasons were, she was not at all interested in discussing the common denominator between us. 

Personally, I just don't get it because I am super open and would never handle it the way that she did.  My kids have known that they were from China long before they could even understand the meaning of the words and they are very comfortable with that fact.  I am not sure if she is not discussing this very obvious fact with her daughter yet, even though she seemed to be about the same age as my kiddos, or she just did not like the fact that a stranger approached her about her family.

I totally respect whatever the reasons were.  We are all different and I respect those differences but about AWKWARD.....I totally needed  that secret signal today!!

Anyone up for making up a CAM signal? 


Diana said...

When she dished you did you give her the secret handle signal when she walked away;)
OK..that was bad..
All I will say is open it the SHS to other countries not just China as even though my boys are older..(sniff sniff) I still love talking about adoption and how wonderful it is and meeting other adopted families.

Sarah said...

A cashier at Home Depot once looked at my friend and her husband and their two kids (from Korea) and said, "My family looks a lot like yours!". I thought that was perfect and have used it often since then. It's an open invite to chat and makes no assumption that their child was adopted in the case that he or she was not.

Life with JJ, Starr and Spice said...

Diana, you now me honey...I am open to all of it. We are all part of the same sorority!! xo

Sarah, love that line and I can see how it would work well!

Shari McConahay said...

I love the "your family looks a lot like ours" comment! I move for the hand signal to be an "A" almost like an upside down heart that is turned into a heart. That way it incorporates all countries. Who seconds my motion? LOL

We talk about this all the time and never have a problem with someone asking us questions, although we are lucky that we haven't had any of the dumb questions and comments that others have had to endure. But, as you know, if Myke had not approached Tammie and David in Target, and they had not graciously answered his questions and invited us to the FCC, we would have never found our way to adopt Chianna.

ourchinagirls said...

We use the "our family looks a lot like yours" saying a lot, but sadly sometimes it just seems that people don't want to share that their family is as special as ours!

Anonymous said...

i have caucasian friends that have chinese husbands and the children look asian like father and not at all like the mother.. they are asked the adoption question a ton of times.. my daughter's friend at school looks asian and i asked mother about adoption.. she told me that her husband is indian and this is her birth daughter.. i was pretty embarressed about it.. maybe what happened to u today is this is her birth children and sick of having to elaborate on it.. i wouldn't take it personally..

Tammie said...

I love the idea of the secret hand signal!

David could have used it the one & only time he ever approached someone. He has never asked anyone since then!

Not long after Myke approached me in Target, Erin asked me to keep her story private. I have noticed people giving us "that look," but not say anything.

Sarah's line is great!

Anonymous said...

Could be a tragic story in there instead-a father who passed away, rape, her child with someone else or with an Asian man who was at work, a sister who lived in China and had a child there passed away, maybe she regrets adopting from China, any number of reasons. Or it could be she doesn't think or feel the need for a group.

Mireille said...

I have the same dilemma, especially now we live in South Africa and there are not that many adoptive families around. But don't come up with a sign for just Chinese families... since our twins are from Thailand, so we need a sign that connects all adoptive families.

Catherine said...

If you come up with a secret hand signal, count me in!

And, sometime when we're in FL and should we happen to meet, I'll be sure to chat with you. I love talking to families who 'look a lot like ours!' Great line!!