Some Folks Just Don't Know Jack

We've been a transracial family now for a little over two years through adoption. Along with the incredible experiences we've had raising a transracial family, we've also come across many people who are incredibly sincere, but sometimes misinformed. We have our dear friends, the Witmers, visiting this weekend who we traveled with in Ethiopia. We laughed our heads off this afternoon, almost to the point of crying, while describing the various looks, stares, and questions we have received. Thanks Jack Black for the helpful expressions! Bet you didn't know how much your looks crossed over into the adoption world! You're the BEST! Some Folks Just Don't Know Jack!

The eager excited look. This is the person at Cosco that sees you across the store and makes a dramatic beeline for you, sometimes tripping over their own two feet in order to get to you fast enough. It often goes something like this... "I know someone who knows someone who has a friend who's sister adopted and I need to make this connection NOW!"

Because I look 12 years old... "Did some guy knock up that girl and leave her with that baby?"

"God bless you. You must be a missionary. You are doing such a good thing."

Shy. I have a question to ask but don't know how to ask. So instead I will do a double-take. Then a triple-take. Then whisper to my friend. And end with a long stare. 

Disapproving look. 

This is the stranger who knows no boundaries and stuffs their hands inside your child's curly locks yelling, "I just need to touch their hair!!!!"

Wait a second, is that her mother ?

Curious questioner. 
"Did you have to go to classes to learn to do his hair?"
"What happened to his real parents?"
"Did you HAVE to go to Ethiopia?"
"Was there war in his country?"
"Well...what kind of food will he eat?"
"Does he speak English?"

Scenario 1: The hollywood depiction of adoption. "Oh my word, she looks JUST.LIKE.ZAHARA Jolie-Pitt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Scenario 2: "Oh my word I saw a kid in a magazine that looked JUST.LIKE.MEKONEN!!!!" Me: "Oh really? Let me see. (observe picture). Oh they are both black. But that's literally it."

"That is so great of you to save that child. He is so lucky to have you."

"Now, are you sure he doesn't have______ (insert anything from mental issues in his birth family to the bubonic plague)."

Over exaggerated excitement. "Oh my word he is GOOOOORRRGEOUS!!!!!!!!! Where did you GET him?"


Flinn said...

I'm a little worried that I might fit into one of these categories, because I distinctly remember sitting in your parents' bathroom, fascinated, as I watched you do Meko's hair one day. . . and of course those amazing ladies at Friendly's who thought you were a saint once they decided you weren't a harlot.

Kiss Meko a million times for Aunt Megan :)

doddyj said...

Bhahahahahahahah....if I wasn't so drugged right now, I would literally be falling out of my bed at your post!! This is seriously crying hilariously material. i love all of the pictures you found of Jack Black, which just adds to the hilarity!

Oh Rachael - you are just preparing me for the day God opens the door on adoption for us and I LOVE it. Don't give up blogging...it's been well worth it to the encouragement of my heart!!

Planet said...

This is hysterical!!!! I have had so many of those comments, stares, etc. I'm sure you had a fabulous time coming up with all the pictures to go along with them. This post should be turned into a poster and hung in grocery stores nation wide, so people can see how ridiculous they are! LOL!!

Ruthiey said...

Thank you for this post! I think sometimes people (including me) really like the idea of adoption, but aren't sure how to approach you and just say, "I think it's great you adopted," and leave it at that.

dustin said...

Jess recently got "well he's dark enough, I though he might be from Africa" when she told them it was a domestic adoption. One of my favoriets now is, "are they Brothers, they have similar hair". Yes they are brothers just like I am their dad, and no their hair is not similar at all. And of course they are both very coordinated and going to be athletic. Its funny how people dont know what to say but feel like they have to say something.

Theresa said...

Loved this! We have gotten...does she speak Chinese? (Said to us,instead of her, even though she is now six). My favorite is when Anna, Toby, and I were out shopping in the double stroller. Toby was bio, and Anna was adopted. They were probably one and two, and the cashier asked if they were twins. Hmm. That would be a stretch. I've also had people ask about their respective fathers while we were out and about. The best way to handle all this? Humor. Nice work.

The Roberts said...

Rolling on the floor over here! Coen has only been home 1 month and already we've experienced quite a few of these!

Katie Nester said...

THIS. IS. HILARIOUS!!!! love it! and great depiction pics! :)

Jon Ryan and Christy said...

this was a hilarious post. I always enjoy your blog, but this one has me giggling (late night by myself). I can totally relate with every single jack shot shown here.
I may have one to add. I had a flight attendant hide behind her drink cart from my husbands line of view so she could point at him and ask if I had "these kids with him." Then she proceeded to tell me my kids were so smart because of the size of their foreheads and big eyes. What? Hard to find a Jack picture to fit that scenario.

Julie said...

tee hee hee...tinkling in my pants over here.

Next time we'll do the video version!

Rebekah Zenn said...

Oh my gosh- I laughed sooooooo hard!!! I remember the post about you guys being on a train and a random lady trying to talk to Jon about it, and he was clueless... hahaha. Oh my goodness, so funny. Thanks for posting this!

Annie said...

Looove it!!!

Mary said...

I could do a similar post for the inappropriate things people say to foster parents. My personal favorite is when people compare fostering children to fostering dogs! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? I swear, every other day, someone new says "Oh, you are foster parents? That's great. My sister/neighbor/friend's cousin fosters dogs." Come on, people!

Chrissy said...

CRACKING up at your friend who made me realize that ALL of our reactions swing this dramatic pendulum between "harlot" and "saint"!! Perfect!

Anonymous said...

This is hysterical! Thanks! After awhile you don't even notice the looks. Your children become so much a part of your family you forget that people are staring until someone asks, "is that child a friend of the family?" Huh? Oh, no... that's my daughter. Love this!

Sara said...

Oh, so very funny!