December 05, 2006
Of course the biggest thing to do to pass the time while in the waiting stages of an adoption is to get the baby’s room decorated. Unfortunately, we did that while waiting for Tank Boy and, since the new little guy will be sharing that room with him we have no room to decorate and set up.
So here is our boy room and a little bit of Tank Boy playing at his train table. The black things are supposed to be the Chinese character for love but one of Husband’s co-workers, who happens to be Chinese, said it actually means peace or something like that. There are gold dragons all along the red stripe. Red, white, and blue are the colors of the South Korean flag as well as the U.S. flag, so it seemed appropriate to me. I had such a clear picture in my mind of how this room would look and it came out exactly as I had pictured it. Very rare for me.
This reminds me of a humorous story. It was humorous to me, anyway. While going through the adoption process the first time we were taking the required classes* and, during one, the discussion was about honoring your child’s birth culture within your home. The social worker asked the class to think about items in our homes that might reflect our forthcoming child’s birth culture. If we couldn’t think of any, she said, we should start thinking of ways to incorporate cultural items into our home so that our child would not grow up feeling that his/her birth culture was something we were ashamed of. At least that’s was the basic crux of it as I remember. The discussion/lesson went on for some time, examples were bandied about and light bulbs were popping on over heads around the room. Then one man who, along with his wife was in the process to adopt a sibling group from Guatemala, said, “Yeah, but how far are you saying we should take this? I mean, just because we’re adopting from South America doesn’t mean we’re going to turn our whole house into a Chi Chi’s.”
There were a few muffled snickers, some outright belly-laughs, and a few people who probably couldn’t have looked more offended if they’d tried. I laughed. Husband laughed. We laughed about it for days.
I do believe we need to recognize our children’s birth culture within our homes; but, like the Chi Chi’s guy, I don’t believe we need to turn our homes into a shrine to the culture they left. Moderation in all things. We had already had Oriental pieces in our decor, such as it is, for years before we ever thought about adopting so we didn’t go above and beyond that in the main parts of the house. As far as the nursery, I just got this picture in my mind and thought it would be fun and boyish. I wouldn’t have hesitated to decorate it the same way for a bio boy; though I probably would have rethought it if we’d adopted from Guatemala.
*Normally I believe the government interferes a little too much in our lives, but in this case I’m glad our state requires adoption education classes before a family adopts. If your state doesn’t require it, I strongly suggest you find some and go anyway. I’m not saying I agree with everything we “learned” but a lot of it, if not most of it, was really worthwhile. Especially if this will be your first time parenting, GO TO CLASSES! I just can’t stress that enough. One woman in one of our classes said, “I’m really glad I came becasue it never occured to me that the baby I adopt will be scared when she gets here. I just thought, coming from an orphanage, she’d be happy to be in America in her own beautiful room with all of her own things.” If you can’t even slightly see the situation from the child’s point of view, TAKE THE CLASSES.
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.