Several years ago, when the Tongginator was two-and-a-half, a man chased me down in the parking lot of a popular bookstore to ask me, “Where is she from?” A rather awkward conversation ensued, with him rambling on and on about how the Chinese hate girls and how he and his wife do everything they can to help these poor little orphans and the stunning beauty of Asian and South American girls. A tremendously icky feeling grew in my stomach as I tried to politely extract myself and my daughter from the situation. Our “chat” – for lack of a better word – finally, blessedly, ended when the man handed me his business card, then reached down to pat my daughter goodbye on her leg. Before I could yank the stroller back from his evil clutches, the Tongginator—being the Tongginator—yelled loudly at him, “I don’t like that! Please don’t touch me!”
At thirty-one months of age. THAT is my Tongginator. Heh.
Yesterday, as I dragged my now five-and-a-half-year-old Tongginator into a local coffee shop, a man surprised me from behind, asking quite bluntly, “Where is she from?” I turned and looked at him for a minute with a raised eyebrow before sharing the name of our town, then adding, “but she was born in China.” When he asked further intrusive questions, I asked the Tongginator if she wanted to share any information with this man. She shook her head no, so I explained to him that my daughter doesn’t typically want to share her personal life with strangers.
The conversation that followed in no way mimicked that long ago encounter which left me feeling so very icky. As I stood, waiting for my over-priced coffee, I deflected and minimized as much of this man’s uneducated, obnoxious drivel as possible. I used the ever-effective tools of “that’s private—I’m surprised you felt comfortable asking that question” and “China is changing in many ways and very rapidly” before eventually just ignoring any and all of his attempts at conversation. Before he walked away from me, he pulled out a business card from his wallet.
And that’s when I realized that it was the same man from before.
He hadn’t changed a bit, but I had. The Tongginator is not the only one who made remarkable progress these past three years. So have I. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve at least started down the path. I’m not just a momma to my daughter… I’m an advocate for her. I’m teaching her, as best I can, that she controls her information when faced with intrusive questions… that she can choose to establish boundaries, share or educate others about adoption…
And, when all else fails, that she can ignore them completely.
By Tonggu Momma for GrowninMyHeart