On most days, I don't sit around pondering adoption. And, I don't think that my kids do. On a day to day basis, they don't dwell on their past; even though, it defines many of their behaviors. I think that their heads are more filled with thoughts about the xbox, Star Wars, the dogs, what I'm cooking for dinner, and the totally unfair fact that I'm gonna make them do chores when they get home from school.
But, this week was different. This week, the kid who has made a sport of taunting William for years, made sure that William didn't forget. On Monday, making fun of his clothes, his intelligence, and his personality weren't enough. He had to mock his adoption.
You see, daily, William walks through the hallway with a student with a disability (most likely, Down Syndrome). He often helps him with his books or finding his classroom. This is actually irrelevant, but I just felt the need to brag that my son is so kind. :) Anyway, after seeing us recently at Walmart, his friend asked William why I was white. (Fair question.)
So, when William explained that he was adopted, "Jerky kid" overheard and chimed in with laughing about him being adopted (As if he should be ashamed of it??) and these words...
"You probably were only adopted because your first parents didn't love you."
From the department of "Extreme Cruelty..." :(
Fast forward to William breaking down in the following class, being sent to guidance, me being emailed, and me (politely) ambushing the guidance counselor in the parking lot. (I'm sure you can be late to your dentist appointment..ha). Then, finally having William, Antwan, and Lizzie in the van.
I had been pondering what I should say, after getting the email. I had been pondering how to find out where the jerky kid lives. (Don't worry, I'm mostly joking.) And, pondering why kids can be so mean. This was all before knowing exactly what he had said.
So, I started with the typical. Are you ashamed of being adopted? Good! Because I'm proud of the fact that we adopted you, how we built our family, etc. You know that these non-adopted kids' parents were stuck with what they got, but you were chosen. That's how special you are. And, the most unhelpful, just ignore him.
Then he told me what he said about not being loved. Then I knew that we had to have a bigger talk. Then I wished that Brian was home to do it for me. ;)
We pulled into the driveway. I hopped out, opened the side van door and bombarded them with a discussion. I chose my words, carefully. I'm not good at that, by the way. So, hopefully, I did ok.
I talked about the drugs and how they took control of her. I emphasized that it wasn't about them, it was about her bad choices. I said that we'll never know what would have happened if drugs hadn't been involved, but they were. And, because I was determined to keep it as positive as possible, I also said that I believed all of that happened so they could end up where they were supposed to be, but that I hated that they had to go through any of that. I kept talking about how bad drugs were. I figured that I would try to take the focus off the idea of them being rejected and give a drugs are bad speech, all at once.
Of course, I was talking mostly to William since Lizzie and Antwan tuned out midway through.
When I explained that she took drugs, Lizzie asked with fascination, but not concern, "Did she die??" "Do I still have drugs in me??" Then, climbed into the front seat, stuck her head out, and yelled "I'm screaming at the sky!" This was followed by giggles. I'm thinking that it's not time for big talks with her yet. haha.
Antwan said "When I grow up, I'm going to put signs up in my house saying - I won't do drugs! I'm going to put them everywhere! I'm even going to put it on facebook!" Then, he officially tuned out. So, yeah, the talk was mostly for William.
When I asked him if he felt the initial rejection like all of the research says. He said yes and then burst into tears. What could I do then besides hug him, cry with him, and keep repeating how much we wanted him?
Then we did homework. Because adopted or not, you gotta do your homework. And, because adopted or not, we are a real family with real obligations. And, when Kaleb came home, I went back to the topic. I gave him a quick run-down and told him that I wanted him to know how wanted he was and that I loved him. I hugged him and dramatically repeated it over and over. You can imagine how much a 15 year old enjoyed that. But, I didn't care. :) And, within a few minutes, he was giving me attitude about doing his chores so, I guess, that's a sign that he's secure. haha
Jerky kid and William have been instructed to stay away from each other. (They couldn't prove anything so no consequences, this time.) Yesterday, the kid returned a bunch of pencils to William that he had evidently taken. So, that's a step in the right direction.
But, there will always be jerky kids. And, my sweet boy who is undersized, underweight, wears glasses, is socially awkward, and is black in a mostly white school is always going to be a target. There will only be so much I can do besides asking the teachers to keep an eye on things and to do damage control when something happens.
So, hopefully, we can keep filling up the bucket with all of that wacky unconditional love that we have for him. Because he sure deserves it.