Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Thinking about Being Thought About

We had dinner at the Drift the other night and for some reason there were at least 3 couples with kids under 1 or 2 years old there. Don't ask me where they all came from! I could sense as I tried to stare at all the babies without looking like I was staring at all the babies (something I do a lot more these days than I used to) that I wasn't the only one; cute babies always attract attention. Then I thought, We are going to get so much attention! I have been expecting that since the beginning, of course, and have heard many stories from other transracial adoptive parents. But for some reason it really struck me that if all of us in the restaurant were ogling those cuties who matched their parents, we are really going to get it with our baby.

Normally I visualize this in situations where I'm comfortable with it--in church, at the basketball game--where enough people know us that after one appearance everyone will know where our baby came from and move beyond questioning to enjoying having a new kid that everyone knows around to admire. For some reason, though, it struck me differently the other night to realize how the normal attention may be magnified. I guess we will find out to what extent I'm right and how it feels when the time comes. (Perhaps if they ask me who's the father I'll say, "Denzel Washington.")

I realize that the article I linked to in yesterday's post was probably a bit academic for some of you (since most of you are, fortunately, less nerdy than me). Here's the short form, what I realized belongs on the list: I have the white privilege of walking into any restaurant on the coast without attracting any attention because of my race. If I had a white baby I would have the privilege of being able to assume any attention I attract is because people are looking at my baby and most likely admiring him/her--without ever having to wonder if it's because of my baby's race or what people are thinking about my child. My child will never have the privilege of blending in as I do in the places I do.

And, due to the added dimension of transracial adoption, we will never have the privilege of not attracting attention or having to answer questions about our family or dealing with unsolicited opinions about who should adopt whom of what color and from where. In a sense by becoming a "conspicuous family" we are voluntarily giving up a few small, small pieces of our privilege.

In exchange for something far greater.

Which is our privilege!

1 comment:

Amy said...

It is so great to educate people, though. I sometimes have to remember that adoption is Roman's story, because I want to tell everyone all the time how wonderful it has been. And I find myself staring at transracial families because I feel a small bond, and admire them for taking that extra step of adopting a different race. The richness of your family is just going to increase!