Sunday, November 2, 2008

On Being Adopted

There are times in everyone's life when they feel different from others. I have felt this most of my life because I am adopted. My entire family is tall and dutch. The community I grew up in was also very much the same. I love my family very much and thank the Lord everyday for the opportunity to be a part of it. I can not speak for other adoptees, but there are a few things that always amused me.
#1. I always had people ask me (in a very sensitive tone ) when I "discovered" that I was adopted. As if I found some secret box hiding under a floor board that unveiled a devastating truth. Uhhhh....did you think I didn't notice....ummm.... my FACE! This was my initial and very obvious giveaway....so don't patronize me, okay?

#2 There is always an awkwardness that comes from conversations when I meet someone who knows another member of my family. "Oh?? (long pause...darting eyes) You're Josh's little sister?!? Hmm...I would have never guessed" Well of course you would have never guessed it you moron....we clearly do not resemble each other in any way.

#3. People like to ask me who my real parents are. Well, they are Marlin and Lavonne Feyen. I have birth parents and adoptive parents...or as you like to think...my real parents. Don't use idiotic terms like "real" as if the people I've known my entire life to be my parents are fake.

#4. The best question is always "Where are you from?" My best answer is always "Grand Rapids, Michigan" I am always asked this exact question a second time, but people feel that if they emphasize the last word, then I will come up with a better answer. "No, but where are you from?" Its as if I am an alien life form from Mars. If you are curious about my ethnic or cultural heritage, then ask "Do you know any information about your ethnic heritage?" Don't phrase questions so stupidly.

One more thing....this is probably because I live in GR, but there seems to always be people that know me from when I was little. I have to honest and say that many times I have no clue who these people are. In my defense, its much easier for them to remember the lone and random Asian girl than for me to remember another tall and blue-eyed Caucasian with a Van-something last name. So please, I mean no offense if the look on my face is blank.

1 comment:

eknier said...

I know this post is ancient, but I just happened across it and wanted to share a "Where are you from?" story. My family and I were vacationing Springfield, Il. and were swimming in a hotel pool. My youngest, age 4 and adopted from China, made friends with another little girl in the pool. The girl's mother asked her, "Where are you from?" (meaning...."We're in a tourist area and my family is visiting from Iowa and I wonder which part of the country you hail from") My daughter immediately launched into "Well, I was born in China but my birth mom couldn't keep me. Next I had a foster mommy and she took care of me for two years. Now I live with my forever family and that's them right over there. So, basically, you can see that I have 3 moms." The poor woman from Iowa had no clue how to respond to this over-sharing and just floated there with her mouth hanging open. I still laugh thinking about it. So...thank you for reading my novella of a comment and now you've heard the flip-side of the ubiquitous "Where are you from" question! :-)

 

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