Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are they 'real' sisters?

In our lives we cannot remember a time that there was an Aleigha without a Mya. Where you find one- you will find the other. I can sneak into their room in the middle of the afternoon and there they will be, heads meshed together playing away- connected. As I sit here typing they are right outside the window… on the same bike… Mya peddling, Aleigha riding on the back (sound familiar Jenny) They spend their day playing together- being sisters.
So I find it interesting the number of times I am out in public and I get the question “Are they REAL sisters?” The mama bear part of me wants to scream "OF COURSE THEY ARE REAL? Do they look plastic to you??" I wonder how in the world anyone could ever be so insensitive to ask a question like that in front of my girls. These comments bother me the most because they imply that becoming a family through adoption is "less than" becoming a family by giving birth. Aleigha and Mya see themselves as family- pure and simple. The reality is that adoption is a method of joining a family, just like birth.

Yet the other part of me, the part that knew adopting a child of a different race- knows these questions will come. And while I admit my first instinct is to become angry, I know that as a transracial adoptive parent I have to be aware of how my responses will effect my girls. I need to see this as an opportunity to enlighten people, embrace diversity, and teach my children that we are all different and that uniqueness should be celebrated. By doing this I am parenting not for today- but for tomorrow.

By being sensitive to how I choose to respond to these questions, not only am I teaching my children how to answer, but also representing the views society has on adoption. By being proud of our adoption decision, of our multi-cultural family-my children will be proud as well. By having conversations about race, diversity, culture, and adoption -it allows room for my children to ask questions as well. It opens the door for me to ask my children how the comments made by the stranger or friend made them feel- and will give us a chance to discuss it. And in the instance that we didn't respond to the question the way that we had wished (we may be taken by surprise, angered, etc.) or how my girls wished we had answered (as in maybe saying too much or too little) we will all learn and grow.

What I want people to know is that in adoptive families- our joys and trials are as authentic as those of any family that is genetically linked. All of my kids do the same things ‘birth’ siblings do, they love each other, fight with each other, share each others clothes . They play together, celebrate holidays together, and do chores. Being real can comes in many different forms. I pray for the day when the world understands that.

Once again I am thankful for a God who understands… A God who was an adoptive father himself.


Angel said...

Soooo good. So true. They are precious. You can just look at them and know they are sisters through and through. Hugs, Angel

Kimmie said...

Hi Amy;

So glad you connected me to your blog...
How wonderful that your girls are bonded and love each other. That is a gift from God for sure.

I always try to remember that people are curious and it is an opportunity to plant "seed." We often get looks, though our skin color isn't that different, with one daughter of a tanner color than the rest. I think a family with 6 children isn't that common and that gets people staring most often.

God has given us a story and though some won't have true ears to hear, still we chose to smile and plant we are always hoping for harvest. ;-)

blessings to you (and praying for you still!)

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Amy said...

I've been reading your posts today, you have a great way of sharing! We are a large family also and I smile as I can relate to some of the things you share.

I must say that adoption has made me much more aware of the Lord's adoption of me and has taken my adoption to a deeper level.

Thank you for sharing.

Live to love and laugh said...

I know exactly where you are coming from. People will stop me and ask if my two are twins. If I say no, the next questions out of their mouth is always "Are they real brother and sister?"
Yes as real as real can be. Blood doesn't make a family, GOD does.