A friendly reminder: just because your teenager is not telling you that they are hearing the same hateful things they heard in elementary school around adoption doesn’t mean it stopped. Negative adoption talk (and even more so with the transracial adoptee) potentially becomes even more prevalent in middle school when the notion of difference is so deeply amplified.
I learned from my younger son that my older son was asked if he was; “Left in a box by his real mother?” last week. What the child added after that was too ugly for me to leave on this blog.
How my son handled these comments from the other child (who was, it has been suggested, jealous of my son for his performance on the basketball court), was completely justified in my opinion.
My younger son chose to connect with the child who made the comments and let him know that an apology was necessary. Because of my younger son’s social capital that apology was delivered. (My younger son said he could not be friends with someone who could hurt his brother that way.) As a family we talked about how we can help create a deeper understanding of what adoption really looks like in the moments that follow. For example did this young man know that my son spends time every summer with his family in Washington State? Did this young man consider how fortunate my son is to have so many parents and grandparents and siblings love him as family?While that is helpful and informative for next time it does not address the pain and discomfort my son experiences every time this happens.
As a transracial adoptive parent is our job to be vigilant and aware that these types of attacks are ongoing and impactful. Thankfully I was given a reminder to check in and let him know that I still want to hear all of it, and at the very least be able to offer my compassion and understanding, to the best of my ability. At thus age, that’s likely all I can do. But, if he needs something more, he’ll let me know.
Your sons handled this situation so beautifully. I love how the younger one stood up for the older one.
I agree with Pragmatic Mom. Kudos to your #2 for being such a passionate and firm protector of his older brother. He responded appropriately. I hate all those ugly stereotypes that are out there and have been for a long time. My son this past summer was called out in a crowd indirectly: He was playing with his cousin, my niece Anna, and a little girl that Anna says is a bully said to Anna, “Who’s that, your Chinese husband?” She ROARED to Matthew’s defense, and in hearing the story (no adults were around at the time) later, I was moved by her appropriate response. Keep on being there, Momma Bear. You got this. He will indeed let you know.