October 20, 2008

Live From New York, It's Us!

We're home. Vacationing as a family of 3 was fabulous, but I must say that while landing at JFK last night all 3 of us let out one of those "it's good to be home" sighs. It's fall in NY and aside from the insane quantity of leaves in our yard that will eventually need to be raked I'm looking forward to every second of this season. Only 38 days until Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade... I'm such a sucker for New York.

Ash is a true New Yorker as well, and this week I finally found myself responding comfortably to an uncomfortable question that strangers often ask. The "where is your son from?" question. I know my son is from New York, because that is where he lives, but that answer always seems to throw the questioner for a loop. He was born in Ethiopia, but to a stranger that is really none of their business. Especially seeing as Ash is now understanding the vast majority of what is said around him, and the last thing he needs to constantly hear is that he is "from" somewhere different than us. He, along with us, is a New Yorker.

We all have a special family history that includes family born in the womb, family born in the heart, family born of struggle, family born of fortune, but it should always be the decision of the family member as to how they want to share their family history with the world. Ashton will know the origin of his family, both birth and forever. He will be raised to be proud of his Ethiopian heritage and aware of his birth country and culture. And, he will also be raised to be proud of his home and his family and where he is from. And it will be his choice when it comes to answering the question about where he is from, not some stranger in passing who, admittedly is likely asking out of pure ignorance, a very personal and defining question that goes so much deeper than just where you board a plane or park your car or call home for now.

So for now, we're from New York. And when people ask where my son is from, that's what I'll say too.


Barbara said...

yah, that's a tough one. I know what people are asking for when they ask that question, so for me it's about whether i answer ethiopia or not. I've been trying to judge people's intentions. If they seem abrupt and nosy, they get a certain response. If they ease into it a bit, I give them what they're looking for. I've found that the ones who are asking politely usually have a reason beyond idle curiously, namely, either they or someone they know, is in the middle of the adoption process as well. So I try to be patient, and I've met some new people as a result. But it's very much indidivual choice.

stephanie said...

Wow, a similar post has been rumbling around in my head for the past few days. Bravo. You've said it all so well.

We're finally in the 60s here and I am loving the hint of fall. And omg, the parade is just around the corner!!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why they would even think he came from another country. There are children from prior relationships or adopted from the U.S. that are different races. If all he spoke was a different language, maybe the question would come up. I always love it when parents who have adopted children are asked which one(s) are adopted & reply they cannot remember. We are blessed to have him in our lives; that is all that counts at the end of the day. Carol McG

Brooke said...

I love your response to those annoying questions. "He's from New York", perfect, I love it.

Meg DeZutti said...

Perfect response. But why would they say that...There are plenty of black children "from" the US. I guess for some, ignorance is bliss.

Annie said...

I love your writing....I have been asked "is she from here?" I just say "yes" now but once I said "she is now" in which we got into a whole nice adoption talk. Sometimes I get so defensive; other times I see I can get into a great adoption discussion. But you are right...it will be up to our children to share what they wish to.

thanks for another great post.