Once upon a time, Zu was just a little baby bear. Bekah and I took her out with us to various appointments with her bundled up in her car seat where she would pass away the time cooing, sleeping, or sucking down a bottle of formula.
When we got into foster care, we knew there would be several challenges - difficulties that would be amplified when we welcomed a Native American baby into our family. However, nothing could have prepared us for the perplexing, biased, and sometimes demeaning questions posed to us.
On one of these trips where Zu rode along for a meeting, we faced one of those exchanges. As we talked with a banker, he noticed her brown skin in contrast to our lack of melanin and asked if she was ours.
We explained that we were foster parents. Since this was about a year before we would have the joy of finalizing Zu's adoption, we had to explain that Zu was a foster child.
"But she's so cute though," he replied.
Really? Do you mean that only ugly babies end up in foster care? That if kids were only cuter, kids wouldn't be so abused or neglected? Once we left and returned to our car, the only thing we could think to do was laugh. The audacity. The ignorance. It was too much.
Since then, we've heard worse. We've compared notes with friends of our who have adopted from overseas and their experiences are similar to ours. All of those silly questions, suspicious glances, and rude observations. All of it is humorously complied in this below video. The maker of this short film is not exaggerating. I've heard many of these lines from various strangers and acquaintances around North Idaho.
One of the more amusing occurrences happened when we had five kids in our home. A four year old, a three year old, and three two year olds. Not one kid looked related to any of the others, although two were siblings. While out shopping with all five, Bekah was stopped by a complete stranger who asked, "Are they all yours?" Bekah just smiled, answered, "Yes," and walked away.
All kidding aside, the adoption process has been a strange and wonderful journey. We have been blessed with three unique and wonderful children, two of which we've adopted. If you're counting, that means Bekah and I are out numbered. We don't live an easy life, but it is one that is filled with joy and odd surprises. If you're interested in adopting - either foreign or domestically - get connected with families in your area that have all ready completed that journey and check out Both Ends Burning.