Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Geography 101

A few days ago I was picking up the boys from school. I walked up to the Monkey's group where he was sitting and playing with one of his little friends, who also happens to be adopted from Russia. A close friend of mine who works at the school said in passing, "Oh look, the two little Russian boys are playing together." I guess another one of the parents heard her comment and looked at me and asked, "Did they know each other in Russia?" I looked at her, trying to determine if she was actually serious and realized she was. I didn't mean to be rude but the first comment out of my mouth was "Do you know how big Russia is?!?!" And then I quickly reigned myself in and told her that they did not know each other while they were in Russia but we are friends with the family and the boys had met prior to coming to school.

When I am asked questions about either of the boys' adoptions, I usually try to gauge where the interest is coming from. If the individual is truly interested then I'll share a bit of our story; if they are thinking about adoption I'll usually give some details. But if the person is just trying to be nosy, I tend to be curt and walk away from the situation. As the Chipmunk is getting older, he is getting a little weary of the constant comments that we receive when we go out (remember, we live in a small town where everyone knows everything so most people know our boys were adopted from Russia). I don't want them to feel like they need to share the personal details of their lives with anyone unless they want to do so.
As for the comment made about the "Russian boys" playing together, I know she did not mean to label them like she did; she just found it unusual (and it is very rare in our small town that in a class of 14 students, two of them are from Russia). But I do not want my boys labeled as the "Russian kids" for the rest of their school careers. Fortunately the person making the comment is a very close friend who I will have no problems talking to about my issues with her statement. I feel quite sure that she will understand and will pass my thoughts on to the other teachers in the building.

7 comments:

Carey and Norman said...

We too live in a small town, so I've worried about that too since my husband and I were both raised here and know many people. I want our daughter once she is home to be able to share her story as she pleases and not be marked from Russia by those who know her. My mom was a school teacher until she retired to watch our son, so she still has several contacts that will know our adoption story. Thanks for shedding light on this subject as it is one we plan to experience ourselves.

Christen & Frank said...

Yeah, I would talk to her. I'm sure she has no idea how it makes you feel or could make the boys feel.

Your response cracked me. Not to be rude, but what kind of a moron would think that the boys knew each other in Russia and then happened to be adopted in the same town?! Sometimes people don't think. lol.

Anonymous said...

Too funny. Loved your comeback too. I am sure she did not know how silly she sounded, but still, the boys knowing each other in Russia?
I hope your talk with your friend goes good.
Amy

Jane and Jim said...

Hey! Thanks for the note on my blog. It's fun to get to know others that are going thru the same thing as you out there. Your eldest son looks just like the "poster" child for CHI - is he? They are both so adorable! I bet they're looking forward to a sister. What fun you'll have!

Carey and Norman said...

Allison,

She is available and we are going to have her medicals reviewed by a doctor. Could we please get the articles you've found on birth order. Our son is very outgoing and loves older children. I think it would be fine as he will still be the first born male in the family (I don't think I would consider if it had been a boy we are adopting. Anyway, I would love to see the articles. I have an e-mail account on our blog page.

Many thanks,

Carey

Allison said...

Hi Jane and Jim
You've got good eyes! Yes, Chipmunk is the poster child for CHI - I can't believe you recognized him; that picture almost two years old. It's funny because they have his picture on lots of their ads as well as the giant posters in their offices and it used to freak him out when he saw the pictures of himself. Now he loves it!
But thank you for the comment. Our boys are absolutely adorable (not that I'm biased or anything:)
Can't wait to follow your journey!

Michael and Carrie said...

Allison-I think you handled that comment very well. I've seen so many discussions related to comments that people will make, and I totally agree with how you try to decide if they are truly interested in learning adoption or if they are being nosy.

Also, I did not realize that Chipmunk is the poster child, until I read the other comment. I've always thought he was such a cutie! You must be so proud!! :)