The Joy of Pretty ThingsShe "wasn't that cute"? What a thing to say in print.
By Nancy French
In 2008, we decided to adopt. At first, like many couples who hear of the dreaded “one child” policy, I wanted to adopt from China. However, when we contacted our agency, the wait for a Chinese baby was four years. Instead we decided to go the quickest and most affordable route.
And so, several months — and a lot of paperwork — later, we got our referral photo from Ethiopia. She was a 14-pound two-year-old with a large head and twiggy arms. She was wearing camouflage, and it was noted on her file that she had experienced “extreme starvation.”
In retrospect, she wasn’t that cute, but we were blinded by love and adoration. My son, who was eight at the time, printed off her photo and took it proudly to school.
“Is that a girl?” a classmate asked. “Are you sure?”
On the way home from school, my son was devastated. “Why does she wear boys’ clothes if she’s really a girl?” he asked, his pride pricked by his friends’ doubt. “Are we sure?”
We weren’t. As with everything adoption-related, it’s hard to know much with certainty. Information is hard to come by. Language barriers and other factors make it hard to really figure out the truth. It’s an exercise in trusting God’s sovereignty.
I sure hope that little girl doesn't want to be an engineer. The family might think she's really a guy. Or a lesbian.
A year and a half ago, my family traveled to Africa and met two-year-old Konjit, an apt name which means “beautiful.” My blonde-headed kids were amazed at her rich, brown skin and her dark-brown fuzz on the top of her head. The orphanage had shaved her hair off almost completely. It was probably a good thing — so much was changing in our family. I cannot imagine actually getting a new kid and learning how to feed, bathe, and take care of her exotic hair without sharing the same language."Exotic"? " "Fuzz"? "A good thing"? And a woman with children needs to learn how to feed and bathe them? I am relieved that French let the girl's hair grow at all. And have her children never seen an African-American before? Either French is an idiot or her Baron Munchausen tendencies are acting up again.
French goes on to tell us how her daughter grew to love pretty clothers, even running around on their new wood floors in her favorite boots.
“Naomi,” I said sternly. This is the new first name we chose to go with her African name. It means “pleasant.”She refused to call her child by her real name? Why? She's a person, not a puppy you got from the pound. Our names are part of our identities.
“You’ve either got to stand still or take off those boots.”No child should be that obedient; it's a sign of deep insecurity. And why was French just watching her "for a very long time"? French might want to rethink this whole Conservative Mommy gig. She comes off as a little loopy and it cuts into her time servicing Mitt and Ann Romney.
She stood still, right in that spot for a very long time, motionless.
As I looked at that little brown girl trying too hard to maintain the style and beauty of those little brown boots, I smiled. And I finally said, “Okay, go ahead and run around.”
My reluctant permission was like a gunshot at a race. She smiled and ran around the house with even more joy. And with every clomp, she drove poverty and death a little further back into her past.