Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ancestor's Legacies

Usually, my faith community is amazing  and supportive.  Today I was working in Elisabeth's classroom as a teachers assistant. This is probably one of the few classes where I have never been a lead teacher and do not know the curriculum.  I do know the fellow who was lead teacher and he is a great guy.  I like him a lot and this is not about him.

When he arrived, I asked him about the focus for the day and he said that it was about ancestors.  "Hmm," I said.  That can be kind of a loaded issue for adopted kids."  He agreed but before we could continue the conversation, kids began to arrive.

When class started, I began to relax.  The focus seemed to be on ancestors from the perspective of people of our religious denomination and the gifts and legacy of their life's work.  OK, cool, I can roll with that.  Next up was a story about a farmer and his legacy to his three lazy children.  Yup, okay with that.  Then at the end of the story, the teacher read something like this:

And I wonder what your legacy is from your ancestors. . . Do you look like your grandparents, or smile like your cousin etc etc."  

It was only a few sentences and I understand that it was not meant to hurt or harm, but it hit me like a hammers blow.  Some of my children don't know the answer to those questions.  It is not  that I don't want them to ask it.  It is that it is their right to choose when and how they want to deal with this.  KC is working hard on processing very deep feelings about adoption and his birth mother.  If that question had been read innocently in his class, he would have been devastated and likely reduced to tears.  Luckily Lissa was more interested in chatting with her BFF and not particularly attentive to the story in general.

I spoke with the teachers coordinator during fellowship.  I don't want the teacher slammed.  I know he was literally just reading a script. I know that although he knows my family is built with adoption, that this does not automatically connect the dots to 'gee this could be painful, how do we talk about this?'  Nor am I saying that we should not talk about it.  But we need to do it sensitively and with care.  She was receptive to my comments, so hopefully any further ancestral issues will be handled with a tad more care.

My ancestral legacy is that I have a tendancy to strong opinions and am not shy about sharing them! LOL

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