Meltingpot readers, I am hoping you can help.
The other day my five-year old son threw a major temper tantrum in the middle of his brother's guitar lesson. Basically his DVD wasn't playing what he wanted it to. Trauma that only a tired kindergartner can relate to, but I digress.
Without much fanfare I dragged him out of the classroom into the hallway where he could finish his growling and wailing in peace and his brother could finish his lesson. These things happen. So after the lesson his teacher came out and assured me that she wasn't bothered and in fact, she understood the five-year old's display of emotion only too well.
"I understand perfectly. He can't help it. It's in his blood," she said. "My mother is from the south of Spain too and she was the same way. Very emotional."
Okay, since his teacher is Puerto Rican and she had told us that her mother was from Sevilla I did not take offense at this comment but I did think it was a sweeping generalization and that more than his Southern Spanish blood it was his tired five-year-old body that was making my son act a fool. But she kept insisting that my son was simply a product of his genes and his emotions were wont to get the best of him.
"My mother was always yelling and screaming," she said with a nostalgic smile on her face.
So I wasn't really bothered by her comment, and in fact I kind of chuckled as I recounted the story to my husband. We both got a laugh out of it since in our Kinky Gazpacho household I am the emotional one and if our boys are high strung and emotional we figure they get that from me.
So what do fiery Spanish tempers have to do with adoption? Well, as we contemplate adding a wee little girl to this house, I wonder what happens when people make those kind of comments about your adopted child, not knowing that they are adopted? Do you correct them and say, well it's impossible that her temper comes from her Spanish blood because she's adopted? Of course in a situation like that, you could probably smile and move on but what happens when the comments are coming from the family members themselves?
What I mean is, it is so common for family members, myself included, to look at our children and try to figure out where they got certain behaviors from. My older son's shyness we peg that to el esposo. The younger one's penchant for drama? That's all me. I know this could evolve into a nature vs nurture discussion, but I'm just wondering what do you do for the adopted child so that they feel part of the discussion? Naturally and not forced. Do you consciously avoid such discussions in front of your children? Do you warn other family members to do the same? Curious if anyone has an opinion? In the meantime, I'll go check if anything has been written on the subject in Adoptive Families magazine.