Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's feature is NHMD. He isn't someone that I would necessarily classify as "Friend or Family" but for some reason this man keeps popping back into my mind. I don't know his name and I don't have his picture. He looked a little like this person...

I met him several years ago at The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He was there with his son, and I was there with "J". This is J...

I was J's tutor at the time. I was volunteering here. J and I had come a long way. He was a kid living at a homeless shelter with his mom. We had built up a pretty good relationship.

One day, Steven and I took him on a field trip to the museum. We were busy uncovering dinosaur bones in one of the interactive kids' areas when this man, (I will call him Natural History Museum Dad, or NHMD for short), approached me. He said, "Your son has very good manners. He has been very helpful and polite to my son." "Oh, he is not my son," I stammered, " I am his tutor."

Why is this significant? I keep remembering how this man just assumed that J was my son. It was a few years ago, and I know more about adoption now, but I think then it didn't even occur to me that some people would be so accepting of a white mom with a black son. When I think about all the challenges we will face as trans racial adopters I always reach back in my mind to this moment. NMHD made me reevaluate the meaning of being a mom. Maybe he planted a seed that would grow in my consciousness and lead me on my path to parenthood.

I think about J all the time. The last time I saw him I met him in south Los Angeles. He had moved into a permanent home with his mother and his siblings. We walked to his local library. We had an incident that was the opposite of my incident with NHMD, but I will save that for another time.

Today, I would just like to thank that museum going stranger for making me think, and opening my eyes a bit.

J, I know that you are presently a teenager in south Los Angeles. I hope that you are ok.

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