Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year. We were able to celebrate with two different groups of adoptive families on Saturday and Sunday. The girls had a great time and I loved seeing the new little ones who have joined their forever families in the last year. I pray that the process speeds up for all of the families that are waiting for their children.

Monday I went to Jetty's class to do a presentation on China and the Chinese New Year. I was torn about the presentation and thought maybe I didn't want to make Jetty stand out more than her classmates. When I mentioned it to my ever-so-wise husband he told me a story about being in middle school and one of his classmates was Native American. He said they all thought she was a little weird and one day she wore her native dress and performed a dance for the class. After that performance he said that he thought she was really cool. (Keep in mind he is telling me from the perspective of being a kid.)

I am so glad I went to her class. Jetty was so proud and she should be proud of where she was born. I did a presentation last year for her preschool class and I am not sure why I was even hesitant but it won't happen again. There was an incident last week when I went to have lunch with Jetty at her school and I guess that made me want to protect her and that is not always the best answer.

Last week I was waiting in lunch line with her and the little boy behind her said " she has Chinese eyes." I knelt down and explained "yes, she does. We all have different shaped eyes." Thinking that was the end I turned back around to see Jetty staring behind me and then put her head down. I turned around to see the same little boy then pulling his eyes back at a slant and making a funny face. My heart dropped. I am sure this little boy wasn't intentionally being mean but maybe he was. I knelt back down and said that it wasn't appropriate and explained we all have different shaped eyes and different colored skin. How different was good, etc... He did it one more time and a teacher came over and took over as I moved on with Jetty.

I don't look at our girls as different but the reality is they are a minority. Even in a school as diverse as the one Jetty attends she is really a minority. Her class is made up of many Hispanics and African Americans. Even the little boy I spoke about is African American. That night I realized Jetty is 1 of 2 Asians in a school of 450. All I can think about is how you want to teach them to handle that type of situation when you are not there. I don't know how many times he might have been doing that to Jetty and I happened to be there that lunch.

Hopefully the presentation helped to educate. I started off asking who was born outside of Florida and then explained that Jetty was born in China. As an adoptive parent of different ethnicity you hope you are saying the right things.

That night we read one of our favorite books Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis. There is a great line "different is never something to hate" (The illustrations also show a diverse family). She looked at me and said "we are a little different and I think we are perfect." I told her that I thought so too and gave her a big cuddle.

1 comment:

Autumn and Baba said...

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Thank you for writing the post about you going to Jetty's school. It's something that in preschool has not been an issue with Autumn. Her class consists of her, a girl adopted from Nepal, a black child, two white girls and a white boy, and two hispanic girls.

But we know that when Kindergarten comes around it will be different. You really did a great job relating the story and I think that if the girls are proud and happy with who they are, where they were born, and the family they're in then that's what matters. We've told Autumn that she was born in China but she's an American. That everyone is different somehow but that's what makes us who we are...and special.

Hope you all are doing well!
Take Care!