Today as the children were taking their seats in the primary room for closing exercises, I heard one of the boys who generally sits behind Tank Boy saying, “Hey, you’re adopted! Hey! Hey! You’re adopted! You’re adopted!”
Freakin’ genius, that kid.
This, to my knowledge, is the first time Tank Boy has ever had to deal with something like this. I’ve been serving in one primary or another for about three years now, and I have never heard any of the kids say anything about adoption to him before. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, I’m just saying I don’t think it has happened. It certainly hasn’t happened that loudly and that publicly, anyway.
Tank Boy, for his part, mostly ignored the boy and kept talking to his little friend that sits next to him every week. I kept organizing my music and hand bells for the closing song, wondering if I should jump in or just let my son handle it himself. Since he wasn’t visibly upset, and since the woman in charge was shushing all the kids before I could make a decision, I did nothing.
When we got home from church this afternoon, I asked Tank Boy, “So, did I hear What’s-His-Face saying, ‘You’re adopted! You’re adopted!’?”
Tank Boy: Yeah.
Me: How did that make you feel?
Tank Boy: Bad.
Me: Really? Why did that make you feel bad?
Tank Boy: Because he kept saying “You’re adopted!” like I was just adopted or something. Like it just happened today or yesterday. But if I was just adopted, I’d be a baby. And I’m not a baby.
Me: So it bothered you because it made you feel like he was calling you a baby?
Tank Boy: Yeah, only I’m not.
And here I was worried it would have made him feel different from everybody else.
Me: You know, if people say things like that and you don’t like it, it’s okay to tell them you don’t like it. What do you think you could say if that happens again?
Tank Boy: (with a big, six-year-old shrug) I don’t know.
Me: Well, you could just say, “Yeah, I know I was adopted.” What do you think? Do you want to say that next time?
Tank Boy: (just a big, six-year-old shrug)
Me: Well, you could say that, or you could say, “Yeah, please stop saying that.”
Tank Boy: Yeah, maybe.
Me: Or you could say, “Oh yeah? We’ll you’re biological!”
Tank Boy: (hysterical six-year-old giggles)
Me: You like that one?
Tank Boy: (still giggling) That’s funny! “You’re bi-lo-logical!!” ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hee hee hee hee hee hee chortle, chuckle, snort. Umm . . . What does that mean?
Me: It means he came out of his mom’s tummy.
Tank Boy: hee hee hee hee ha ha ha ha ha. “Bi-lo-logical!” Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Me: (whispering to my husband) I guess I won’t tell him to say, “Oh yeah? Well your parents had to have sex to get you!”
McH: (whispering back) I’d go straight for the jugular. Just tell him to tell the kid, “My parents chose me. You’re parents just got stuck with you.”
Me: (totally surprising my husband) Hey Tank Boy, if anyone ever does that again and you tell them they’re biological, you can just explain that means that your parents chose you and his parents got stuck with him.
A~: (from the other room, laughing incredulously) That is so mean!
Tank Boy: “Bi-lo-logical!” Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Just to clarify, we also did talk about whether or not the boy was trying to be mean (Tank Boy said that no, he didn’t feel like the boy was trying to be mean) and about the fact that maybe the boy just recently figured out who Tank Boy’s parents are, and since we all don’t look alike maybe he asked his parents about it and they explained a bit about adoption, and since it may all seem so new to that boy he doesn’t realize it isn’t new to us (there are other kids in our congregation who were adopted interracially, though, so I’m not sure). Tank Boy seemed okay with all of that. Honestly, I don’t know that the situation really bothered him that much to begin with. It was just my questioning that reminded him of it. So maybe I should have left it alone; but really, probably not. Because now he’s armed with something to say should it happen again.