This post has been floating around in my head for a long time. I didn’t have a good example of an incident until today. Prior to this, it was just a feeling, and I wondered if it’s real or just my overprotective mama bear nature. For those of you who have adopted and have spent time in your child’s first home, don’t you wish everyone could see what you have seen?
ShyGuy attempted to play basketball with some neighborhood friends for the first time today. We have purposely kept ShyGuy out of any kind of organized activities because he is NOT shy when it comes to sports. In fact, he’s kind of a jerk. He pushes and shoves, kicks, and occasionally hits to get to the ball. Running a race with him is SUPER frustrating for the opponent because he pushes and tries to trip. But, that’s every little Ghanaian that I saw out there on the football pitch. Those games were r-o-u-g-h.
So, we decided he needed to watch the end of the soccer season, learn the “soccer mom” rules of soccer and then attempt to play. He doesn’t want to. He wants to play. So, it was too tempting for him to go over and play pick up basketball with friends while FPD was watching Middle-Middle’s soccer game. He plays basketball like he swims, with absolutely NO technique and a whole lot of thrashing around. We try not to laugh. But, he was really getting into it. Then, it happened. In a race for the ball he pushed ResponsiBoy, who fell off balance and collided with another 5-year-old. Considering how roughly he was playing, this didn’t make the other parents very happy. The boy was very upset. We don’t play that way at 5-years-old in the U.S. So, I understand why they were upset. But, I wish everyone could see what I see.
I don’t see a young African-American boy who is overly competitive, or some kind of violence prone juvenile delinquent. I still see a scrawny, rough haired, dirty little boy who is running barefoot over a dirt covered pitch in Ghana. Even though that little boy has put on a lot of weight, gotten a hair cut, a bath and some shoes, my heart still makes me see the boy I first met. He’s still inside this new “American” boy. That boy is fighting so hard to fit in. He does this by trying to be good at sports when he has no idea why the American kids have these “be gentle” rules. There was no gentle in Ghana. You wanted something, you fought for it. This fighter attitude has served him well there, but here it makes people thinks he needs meds. It’s true. Because he’s black, a boy, and adopted, people make assumptions. I’ve dealt with those assumptions with four boys now for over seven years. They stink. I wish everyone could see what I have seen. I wish they could see where all my kids came from. Because they all came from a place that was light years away from white, middle class “nicey nice” America. If they could see this, then they would know that these actions aren’t out of anger or spite, they are an attempt to find a place in this new world. A world that is SO different than anything they’ve ever known before.
who is tired of assumptions.