So yesterday Erin, Lil Bit and I were running errands and an African-American couple, probably of the generation between mine and my parents, spotted us.

Initially, the woman presumed Lil Bit had wandered off from her parents and was alone in the store. It’s not the first time it’s happened. It wasn’t an unreasonable presumption. Here’s this 5 yo African-American girl playing with the faucets on various sinks in the bath section of a home improvement store while a Caucasian couple seemingly ignoring her are talking over counter tops and vanities.

But at some point, one of us must have interacted with Lil Bit in a way that the light bulb clicked on for our observer. It was obvious by the woman’s initial reaction that when she worked out that Erin and I were Lil Bit’s parents, she was momentarily surprised and she spontaneously remarked, “Oh! Are you her parents? Did you adopt her?”

My instinctual inner response is sort of a Bill Engvall reaction, “Nope. Kidnapped her just yesterday. The brainwashing is off to a great start though, don’t ya think?! Here’s your sign.”

Instead, Erin and I both answered, “Yes. Lil Bit found us five years ago and she is adopted.”

It’s always a bit of an awkward thing. Lil Bit’s old enough now to know that adoption makes her situation unique and that may or not be a good thing in her mind. That’s something we’re going to discuss with her about how we’ll handle these questions in the future.

In this case though, we had a very brief exchange and the woman commented how Lil Bit’s life would be blessed for what Erin and I had done. We explained that we see it differently. That from our perspective Lil Bit had blessed our lives by finding us and that she made our lives richer, not the other way around.

In the end, we chit chatted, smiled and hugged then went about our day. It all took place in the span of about two minutes or less. But it was an important couple of minutes.

Adoption advocates would likely say the exchange wasn’t “ideal” from a PC perspective. Yes, it’s a bit of an awkward, sometimes seemingly inconsiderate, question and our answers may not have been text book. It might have made Lil Bit feel a bit uneasy, but I don’t think that it did. And in the end, here’s the lens through which I choose to view it.

For a too brief moment two couples, one African-American and one Caucasian, smiled together, laughed together and hugged together because of the radiance of a child. Lil Bit saw THAT with her own eyes. That’s not insignificant and in today’s world, it seems to me to be a pretty good and powerful thing. If Lil Bit remembers anything about that experience, I pray that’s the moment that sticks in her mind.

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