Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holding My Tongue

Should I have said something? I don't know.

I was with some students tonight. I am the advisor for a student organization and we were playing a game. One of the students got a text from her father. And a couple of the students joked that he was telling her she was adopted.

I stayed quiet. It was a joke. And no one seemed to be saying anything nasty. But I didn't really understand why they thought it was funny. They are students. They are young and say a lot of things that they don't think about first. They don't know I'm adopted. They don't know what it means to me, how it has affected me. It isn't really appropriate for me to talk to them about all of this.

So I said nothing. And I really am not sure I did the right thing. I mean, this is important to me. I want to educate others about the importance of adoptee rights. And I certainly don't think people should use adoption as a way to tease one another.

But I kept it to myself. I feel badly that I did. I guess I'm just not comfortable outing myself in that setting. Maybe I should be, but I wasn't. And now I find myself wondering what I could have done differently.


lava said...

I think it would have been too dicey in that situation. That is just me.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Lava. If you weren't absolutely comfortable talking about it (when you're in the authority position), it would be too compromising.

I don't know though. With your talents and thoughtfulness, you may come up with ways of communicating in those situations with more practice?

madduchess said...

Hmmmm, I do think it matters how old these kids are. If we are talking about teenagers here, well, I think that they are old enough to engage in more serious discussions. And frankly, many teens are actually open to this, considering they are so righteous about wanting to be treated as adults.

Bombarding them will all your thoughts and feelings, might not be appropriate, however, I think there are ways to start a useful discussion without even outing yourself as an adoptee (if you are not comfortable with that).

It could have been as simple as: "What is it about being adopted that you find amusing?" Not sarcastic, but rather point of fact. They might give you silly nonsensical answers, which you could still pull from or they could give you something more substantial that could then be explored.

At that time, you did not feel comfortable, so you did the right thing by not taking them to task. This would be a serious discussion and should probably be tackled when you are prepared.

I most definitely think it is an issue that should be tackled and believe (just from your blog posts) that you would do a great job :))