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We are not a circus act…

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My blog has become a place to vent rather than share experience as of late. Perhaps my tolerance is lower. Perhaps the new size and diversity of my family simply creates a stir and I only make time to blog when I need to get it out. Well, here’s another vent. Mostly though, I’m hoping I’m not alone. 

Just to recap. I’m 4’8″, so my five year old comes up just below my ribcage (he’s small, too). Leo is six feet tall. We got lots of gawking before we had kids. Now, Simeon and the twins are exactly the same size, so the 17 months difference is completely lost on strangers. Of course they are both much darker than he and he darker than us. Then our sweet baby girl is also biracial-black and hispanic. Of course we draw a bit of attention. And I don’t really mind the quizzical looks we get as we tool about our errands and outings. 

What I mind is people who think they have a right to make our business their business. Or the very worst, those who don’t think about the little ears who do pick up on all those comments. 

These are a few of the comments I’ve recieved since THURSDAY of this week:

1. Pushing the baby in a stroller while the big kids hold on to various handles and straps. We’re all walking nicely and quietly into the store (a vast improvement from the sheer pandamonium that was us exiting the vehicle). No one was running, yelling, crying or walking all rubber legged. A woman walking towards us stops, looks at me and each of my children. “Wow! You have got your hands full!!!” 

Well yes, maybe I do. But at the moment I’ve got four beautiful children politely and calmly walking into the store. So unless you’re merely doing the math and see that I’ve got more children than I have hands, you know nothing about how full they are. 

2. While walking down the sidewalk a woman from the parking lot yells for our attention. She’s older and moving slow, so we stop and wait for her to catch up. I think for a second I may have lost something, or perhaps she needs help. Alas, no. She gestures broadly at my brood and asks if I’m a daycare. And if I am, would I be interested in buying some play things off of her. 

3. Checking out at a store the cashier acctually points to my children (as though I don’t to whom she’s referring) and asks: “so, are you a nanny or somethin’?”

4. I was waiting in the car with Lyberty and our little cupcake while Leo took Raj and Simeon to potty. Because we can’t be in the car more than 20 minutes before someone has to go. And if one has to go… Anyway. I was waiting with the girls when a woman getting in her car sees us. “y’all in foster care?” Yes ma’am. “Y’all work with child services?” -not that it’s any of her business- Yes ma’am. “Why y’all work with ’em?” blink. blink. “Why y’all not work with an agency?” blink. blink. “If you work with an agency, y’all can make more money.” -not that it’s any of her business- thank you, but we’re not doing this for money. “course not, but them kids needs money.” Yes ma’am, I know exactly how much money these kids need. “Well, if y’all go through an agency, they’s gets more money.” Thank you, but we make sure they get. 

At this poing she actually throws up her hands and peels out of the parking lot with annoyance. I have so many things to say. Like why did I even let that conversation go on so long? And she clearly has no idea what she’s talking about. Especially since THESE kids would get the same amount of money because if we were working with an agency we wouldn’t be parenting them, someone else would. And that someone else WOULD BE WORKING WITH CHILD SERVICES!!!

5. Finally, we were waiting in line at a resturaunt when the woman in front of us turns around to see Cupcake then notices the rest of us circled around her “awwww…gasp… Oh! My!” 

So mostly, I’m astounded at the number of stupid things I’ve heard in the last 72ish hours AND how many people feel that we welcome their curiosity or commentary. 

Which for the record, we do not.

Now. If someone wants to sincerely learn more about foster care and/or adoption, we will talk. I will buy you a cup of coffee and invite you to spend more time with us. I love to talk about nothing more. But frankly I don’t care if a stranger knows how we came to be OR what they think about it. 

I’m getting tired of people talking so liberally in front of my children for no regard to their feelings or understanding of our family. 

So friends, what stupid things have you heard this week?

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About Monica

Christ following, husband loving, children hugging foster and adoptive mama.

8 responses »

  1. I’m truly blessed. About the most obnoxious thing I’ve had happen lately was an old woman rubber-necking me as I left the neurologist office with Pumpkin. She stuck her head out so obviously and watched every move as I helped Pumpkin navigate the parking lot with her walker. But, thankfully, she didn’t say a word.

    I do find myself talking in third person more when we’re out in public. If someone is watching I will say things like, “Stay close to Mamma baby” as I’m walking next to one of the cherubs. I think the kids like to mark their territory too. They must tell me they love me about 100 times when we wait in line at the pharmacy or the grocery store.

    We have had a few very nice comments. Once, while out to dinner, an older man came over to our table and told us we have a beautiful family. That one melted my heart.

    Most folks don’t say much to us overall. I think we scare them just a little. LOL Two very tall white people with a brood of at least 6 kids at any given time (more if someone is bringing friends) in a TOTALLY Hispanic culture stand out. Shoot, we stand out when we’re out without the kids!!

    Sorry you’ve had so many negative comments. Vent away my friend!! Some people have no tact and it looks like you’ve met quite a few of them recently.

    Reply
  2. We currently have 5, our family is more than one color, and just today at church – because we welcomed a baby for a “couple months” (ha! caseworkers.) – someone says, “Didn’t you already have your hands full?” Um. Thanks.

    Reply
  3. We get looked at alot just because we are a big family but my oldest who is 18 is also bi-racial. This weekend at a local event we were hopping on a shuttle bus and the driver asked my son, “are you with them?” I know it was an innocent question, he was just trying to keep people together on the bus but my heart ached a little at that moment for my son. It’s funny that we don’t remember our differences until others point them out for us! Thank you for your blog, I have been reading for awhile now. We are waiting for our first foster placement and love all the support we have found in blog land.

    Reply
  4. Ditto Suzanne’s “Didn’t you already have your hands full?!?” In response to the possible 4th a couple weeks ago.

    And lately, the comment that’s been driving me the most crazy is something along the lines of “Why doesn’t that woman [bio mom] get her tubes tied?!” or “How does the state keep letting his happen?!” OH MY GOODNESS – don’t even get me started. What’s worse is that comment comes from people close enough to us to know the details…not just random strangers.

    Reply
  5. I get LOTS of “you’ve sure got your hands full!”
    I just say, “In the best way possible.”

    Once when we had two Hispanic little girls placed with us, someone actually said to me, “Wow, your Daddy must have dark skin!” (A commentary on her skin vs. mine) Ummmmm…..REALLY????
    I just said, “I don’t really remember.”
    That threw her for a loop!

    Reply
  6. Ha, Maggie! I’m going to steal, “I really don’t remember!”

    The comment that has been the most infuriating to me this week as we are doing respite care is, looking at an African-American four year old, and asking her, “Is that your mom?”

    Thanks. She is not navigating enough right now.

    Also, [generally middle aged white ladies] who ask the baby’s name, and then repeat it 17 times, saying, “that is interesting.” “that’s a mouthful.”

    Reply
  7. I’m not a foster parent (thinking about doing it someday when our bio kids are a bit older) but people even sometimes tell me “looks like you have your hands full” and I only have one child who is generally pretty well behaved. I think that one’s just a way for people to make conversation, and I don’t think they mean it to be insulting or rude in an way.

    Reply
  8. Oh, I so get what you are saying, but part of me is proud to go through the “rite of passage” as a new foster parent–we’ve only had our first placement for a month but we’ve already had some doozies. One lady at church–with no preliminaries–said, “You know, you can breastfeed that baby.” I think she meant “it’s physically possible” but I don’t think she bothered to realize it is, um, ILLEGAL in our state. We’ve also heard, “Oh, what a beautiful baby. [Look of pity while stroking baby] Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have children!” Huh? I think it was a knock on the mother, whom she knew nothing about. I wanted to say, “Oh! Do you know something about Mom that I don’t?”

    And before our first placement, we already got the “you’ve got your hands full” comment–and we only have two bio kids (ages 1 and 3). Yeah, it’s gonna be awesome when we have a half-dozen or so….

    Reply

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