Thursday, June 19, 2014

Strangers in the grocery store

I know I haven't blogged in quite a long time. Mainly because our blog is somehow messed up and runs all the paragraphs together...who wants to read like that? We'll see if it's fixed when I publish..but be warned. We've been busy with life too. But today I have a very interesting story to share, and I think it may be helpful to all those families still in the waiting that don't already have a child...that's different :)

Now this post is NOT what you expect....based on the title of the post.  I'm not going to tell you about a stranger asking how much I paid for our daughter, or who is her mother....or all of those horror stories you hear from time to time (of which we haven't experienced personally any of those things, but I know it does happen).  I'm writing to share some light and pure joy of what it's like to have an adopted child that is different than you.

Lauren knows she's different....she attracts looks from everyone....everyone says how pretty she is, they look at her and how she and I relate in public... I'm sure in their mind they are trying to figure her out.  What is her story??  Is her mommy married to an Africa-American man - and is that how her hair turned out so straight? (Lauren's skin is very dark, so I'm not sure everyone immediately thinks of India when they see her). She is strikingly unique ....   I see it in the "strangers' eyes"...they have questions.....and then little Miss Lauren breaks into that barrier with a wonderfully, joyful question, "hi, what's your name"....she says to strangers... they are surprised and happy she asked about them... they tell her, like tonight, "hi, I'm Joslyn"..."you are such a pretty girl"...Lauren replies, "I know it"...we all chuckle....and I prompt her to say, "Thank you" and she quickly obeys. But tonight was special, as the lady walked away she said, "I love you".  ...the lady asked, "what did she say?"... {her "I love you" is a hard one to understand at the moment}.... I relayed the message - and the lady looked back and said, "I love you too".  It was precious.  Now before we go down a path of protect your child, don't talk to strangers, "she must not be bonded if she can say that to a stranger", and all the other typical adoption concerns.... let's put all that on a shelf for a moment and just think about the pure, simple, innocence of a child .... that is merely telling another person, "I like you.... you are kind.... you are good".... and I hope that one day she will have in her spirit, "you are one of God's yes, I do love you as I love humanity... with all its warts". Don't misunderstand, I'm not dismissing all the typical advice about boundaries with your child, etc.  I so appreciate all that training and research.  I'm just saying on occasion I want my children to know that generally people are good.  This child has taught me soooo much about unconditional love.  It's hard to describe.

One other angle to share about almost all of our public experiences with Lauren that have a similar ring to them... although tonight was the first "I love you" addition -- {she's in a great mood...and just came home from Vacation Bible School with our who knows???}.....anyway, what if I told you that almost without exception the people that speak to us in public about Lauren... similar to above are ALL African Americans.  ..... and what is strange is, I didn't get the same reaction EVER with Joshua - and he was one cute baby :)  .... so what does this mean? (and this isn't just when it's me with Lauren...Brad experiences the same thing when he's with her.)  I think it means a barrier between us and the society is broken down when people see a happy, loving, well-adjusted transracial family. People don't assume we have prejudice...and appear free to engage in conversation.  We do naturally stay to ourselves as a society for the most part.... we come home from work, drive in our garages, close the door, and stay in a close knit family. Lauren has broken that wall down.... with her confident, free-spirit that says, "if you are looking at me, you must want to know me, even if for a minute" She assumes everyone wants to be her friend.... and she cares more about relationships than anything in the world. Of course we will watch her closely and not put her in harms way.... we will teach her not to help a stranger in the neighborhood that is offering candy...or needs help with their kittens in the car, etc.  We will protect her.  But I also want to share a thought ......what if we were all so bold that we could talk to strangers in the grocery with a loving spirit without fear??   I can't wait to see what God does with this special child through the years and all that He has in store for her.

There is hope...not all grocery store conversations are bad ones. :)