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Sunday, November 20, 2005

"She's from China!"

A funny little thing happened this evening when I took the kids by myself to the grocery store. The store wasn't busy so when we got to the checkout line there was no one else in line. There we were: the two boys strapped into an extension on the shopping cart, and Emmaline in her car seat inside the shopping cart.

So the cashier starts a friendly conversation, "3 boys?"

"No," I said, "2 boys and a girl. But you know, at this age, you could tie a pink ribbon and put flowers all over, someone would still ask..."

"Yeah, that's true" she says kindly. And then she turns over to Matthew as she finishes scanning items and waits for my credit card to clear: "Is this your little brother?" (pointing to Andrew). He nods. "And is this your little sister?" Nods again.

Then as we pull forward and they load the groceries, Matthew offers this random statement: "She's from China."

Now, seeing as we're ethnically Chinese and thus obviously Asian in appearance, the cashier and bagger just laugh, assuming it's just a random thing that a child says that's not quite correct. Probably inferring that he meant, "She's Chinese."

So the cashier says, "Oh, she's from China? So, then, where are you from?"

His response, knowingly, without a pause, "I'm from my mommy's tummy."

Again, they laugh, and I remain silent, not quite sure whether to reveal that Matthew is actually revealing more than they realize, since we just adopted her from China less than 2 weeks ago.

If my boy says something foolish, I'm not inclined to defend him. But in this case, he actually said the truth (albeit veiled)... so I didn't feel right leaving these nice strangers thinking him a silly boy (rather than the very perceptive bright boy he is).

"Actually... he's smarter than all of us, ladies. We just adopted his sister from China!"

We all shared a laugh as they realized that they'd mistaken him for a poorly spoken child instead of the perceptive kid he is! What a hilarious kid!

And then came the inevitable kind words about how wonderful it is to adopt, etc. To be honest, I'm not sure how to respond here: on the one hand, it's true (and perhaps even an opportunity for the gospel!). On the other, I'm wary of Emmaline being treated or perceived differently because she is adopted, at least early on in life. That's a subject for another post.