I've learned, but really should've already realized that it won't be obvious to everyone that we are, in fact, related; even though to some it will be clear. As I go around town, I assume everyone knows, but that's not always the case. It's easy to forget.
I was reading an interesting blog post, the other day, http://www.adoptivefamiliescircle.com/blogs/post/teaching-children-about-racism-racial-profiling-transracial-adoption/ and it got me thinking. It reminded me that this is my reality and it isn't and will never be typical. And, it reminded me of an experience that we had about two years ago.
It was spring break and we were heading to Orlando. The children were much younger.
William was awesome, but prone to tantrums and still struggling with not wetting his pants.
Antwan was adorable and very busy.
And, Lizzie wasn't technically "Lizzie." She wasn't officially ours, had a different legal name and we had to get permission from the birth parents to take her on the trip at all. And she was amazing.
So, after two days of theme parks, we decided to check out downtown Disney. We were taking a day off from the big theme parks and were trying to have a day to recuperate before the Magic Kingdom, the next day. It didn't work out that way.
We rode a boat across the little lake and when we got off the boat, I looked at William and saw that he had wet his pants. He was totally soaked. I was just beside myself. See, William was going back and forth between legitimate accidents and deliberately wetting his pants to regain control of a situation. But, he was hanging out on a cool boat, had gone potty recently, and had not mentioned needing to go!?! We couldn't fathom why it was happening. He pretended that he didn't know he was wet. And, I pretended that I wasn't furious. Oh, wait, no I didn't. I was really frustrated. Whether or not I should've been doesn't really matter now, no one really remembers my reaction. It was soon the least interesting thing happening. Anyway, I told him that we had to leave since he now needed dry clothes and he promptly started to scream.
That's when Brian stepped in, took William's hand, and said "let's go." One of my all-time regrets will always be that I misunderstood what his intentions were. I thought he was taking William aside to lecture him and get him under control. But, what he was doing was trying to get us out of the park and William into clean clothes as quickly as possible. This would take awhile as we were basically as far away from our parked car as we could be. So, I stopped walking and gave him the space that he didn't want.
As they walked off, I stopped and let the babies play with Legos. I chatted with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law who had taken the trip with us. I tried to make the best out of a bad situation. And, just waited for Brian to call. Well, he called.
When he did, I found out that things were anything but the best out of bad situation. While I was clapping for Antwan who had built a lego tower, Brian was going through hell.
As Brian tried to walk William out of the park, Willam started to officially tantrum. He refused to walk, so Brian had to carry him. He kicked and screamed and yelled "I want my Mommy!" People started to look. People started to stare. People started to chase him. Then a large man who could've easily hurt Brian...a lot; stepped forward and said. "Stop right there. I believe you are abducting this child." That's when Brian turned around and saw an angry mob of about 30 people following behind and ready to intervene and he realized that things could quickly get out of control.
That's when Downtown Disney security took over.
When Brian called me, he was with both the Orange County police and the Disney police and he said he needed me to come immediately. I left the kids with the in-laws and rushed to the other side of downtown Disney. In hind-sight, I should've brought them because it would've quickly made it obvious that William was with us. But, I didn't.
ID's were run, William, Brian, and I were all questioned separately, and Brian and I quietly panicked. We didn't have any proof that William was our son. Why would we? But, we found ourselves having to prove it, anyway.
Luckily, Brian was able to keep calm and explain that he was his father and his son was simply having a tantrum. Extremely luckily, William was able to calm down and confirm that he was having a tantrum and Brian was his dad. .
When I was taken aside, I told them the same thing that Brian and William had already told them.
In the end, it was pretty obvious to everyone that nothing was going on. And, they let us all go.
The police were just doing their job and, thankfully, they did it well.
I'm sure it's not surprising to anyone that the Magic Kingdom didn't seem so magical with the emotions of the day before still with us.
This was the first time that I really realized how having black children when you are white could affect things. And, it hurt my heart. It was also when I realized that people as a mass will step in and try to help, as unnecessary as it was. It took me a long time to see the good in that. But, it is good.
Brian has said that the only thing missing from the mob scene were pitchforks and torches. He had nightmares for weeks. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to be chased, confronted, and questioned. All because he was removing his child from a situation while ignoring a tantrum, just like you are supposed to do. Well, we can add it to the list of things that wouldn't have happened if our children were white. It's just not fair. But, it's life. Ours, anyway.
It's not as simple when you are transracial. There are issues that we have encountered and will, in the future. As I've said before, I try to have a sense of humor about it. (Although, this memory will probably never be funny and will always haunt us.) But, I try to prepare myself for the future, whatever it may bring.
With all the issues, preconceived notions, unusualness, and drama; do I regret adopting them? I think we all know the answer to that. Just look at them!