We’re just gonna roll with some free flowing thoughts, mainly because it’s been a crazykins week and there was no way to fit in an interview with BrightSide. (It’s my next big plan for a Friday post…ssshhh, don’t tell.)
* I am truly at a loss when it comes to this gymnastics announcer on NBC who repeatedly referred to Ron and Nellie Biles as Simone Biles’ “grandparents” during the competition. (For those of you boycotting social media or – GASP – not watching the Olympics, Simone Biles is a Rock Star on a team of kick ass gymnasts. She is to gymnastics what Phelps is to swimming…what the SuperBowl is to football season…what authentic clam chowder is to soup. She was also adopted by her grandparents at the age of two and calls them mom and dad.) For reasons unknown, Al Trautwig (dude, might as well change your name and move out of the country now) decided he knew best. Those two people are Simone’s grandparents, end of story.
Well, not quite, because there were a bunch of people who were understandably upset by his insistence on downplaying the nature of their relationship. After receiving feedback on Twitter (roughly translated to “they are her PARENTS, you ignorant moron”) Al decided to push back with: “They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.” And those who love adoptive families everywhere lost their collective minds with an emphatic oh-no-you-DIDN’T. At NBC’s demand Al deleted the tweet and issued a retraction. Lessons learned? NBC needs to improve their screening during the hiring process. And they might want to consider restricting access to social media for certain (ahem) high profile, backward thinking employees.
* Apparently there are over two million adopted children in the United States. Two million. Talk about a large population of people who still spend time feeling very much alone.
* My kids keep talking about “Finding Dory.” Some of their friends have seen it, they’re hearing it’s terrific, they’re wondering when we can go. I hadn’t thought much about it until I started hearing bits and pieces about the plot, and now I realize there’s a lot more to this than just another movie. Dory remembers that she lost her parents, and she blames herself. It raises questions about who bears responsibility for separation from the birth family, the search for birth families, and fairy tale reunifications. In other words, triggers galore. Thanks a lot, Disney.
* The ethics of Not Telling are pretty cut and dried to me. I know the transracial aspect of our family gave us no choice in the matter, but I just don’t understand the reasoning behind waiting until a child is older before telling him he’s adopted. I can’t see the upside. Talking openly sets a tone of acceptance, a feeling of “this is our family” from day one. I’ve heard people say they wait because they want their children to be old enough to understand the intricacies of adoption. Well, I can’t speak from personal experience, but it seems like dropping this sort of bombshell in the tween/teen years is going to wreck far more havoc than easing kids through the concept when they’re young. As for the decision not to tell in the first place? I believe it’s unethical to hide such a large piece of someone’s identity from them.
* Telling a kid they were “so lucky” to be adopted (or saying it within earshot) is one of those remarks that sticks, and not in a good way. It seems so innocent, really, a comment on what a wonderful family she’s part of, what a blessed life she’s living. The adopted child might feel those things, too, but hearing she’s “lucky” carries a lot of baggage. She’s lucky her birth mother chose not to raise her. She’s lucky she doesn’t know who her family is or where her personality quirks come from. She’s lucky she didn’t have to suffer through growing up with parents who surely wouldn’t have loved her as much as her adoptive parents do. Doesn’t sound so great now, does it?
* Little pitchers have big ears, but they’ve got sharp eyes, too. T-man wandered into my room recently, found a book in my suitcase, and turned to comment, “I didn’t know I was a challenging child.” Wait, what? There were a few moments of blank confusion while I tried to figure out what on earth he was talking about before he finally gestured to a book entitled Help for Billy: A Beyond Consequences Approach to Helping Challenging Children in the Classroom. Ah-ha! I explained that no, he wasn’t a challenging child (just a wee bit of a lie there) but the strategies they teach in those books work on typical children, too. Moral of the story: be prepared to explain book titles or keep them out of sight once your kids can, you know, read.