A Conspicuous Family

This post is all about grocery stores.

Yes, I know– how exciting does the Kelly house get? Soon, I’ll be sharing about dry cleaning, and maybe even cleaning out the lint trap. But no, there’s something that keeps coming up practically every time we go out on seemingly mindless errands. You see, we’re a conspicuous family.

Though we heard the phrase used over and over again when we first looked into adoption, especially international, it really didn’t take hold until we had our little boy in our arms. We talked about it during our homestudy interviews, and we discussed it at length at home before we met Alexander.

Overall, our experience with others who either 1.) aren’t familiar with cleft lip/palate, 2.) seem confused to see a Chinese-born American toddler with us, 3.) seem confused to see Alexander’s level of dexterity and alertness compared to his size has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve gotten our far share of odd comments about Alexander’s steri-strip (which I can’t really blame them for– it looks as though we’re taping our kid’s mouth closed).  And fortunately, I can count on one hand the number of negative interactions we’ve had, where people are clearly uncomfortable with our family and/or Alexander’s cleft.

Even though we’ve been home for several months, it is still a little overwhelming that almost every outing involves a discussion with someone about cleft lip/palate, adoption, or China with complete strangers. Most of the time, people just comment about Alexander’s obvious adorableness and ask about his bandages. Sometimes, a Shriner introduces themselves and will bust out their business card for us, as they provide free medical services for cleft kids.  Usually, the only negative comments are from children, and those are mostly because they are confused and a little frightened. At first, I was really angry when we got weird looks, but I’m settling into the fact that our lives will be opportunities for education and sharing, and we need to be understanding that seeing a multi-racial adoptive family and a child with medical needs isn’t run-of-the-mill.

So back to the grocery store. One of my first outings with Alexander after we came home from China was to a grocery store to grab something from the deli. Within 15 seconds of grabbing a number at the deli counter, I was then fully engaged in a conversation with the woman behind the counter about international adoption and malnutrition. Soon, she was calling all her friends from the bakery over to meet Alexander.  Now we get waves, and he’s practically a little celebrity at our local stores, especially Target. Even at JC Penney, I was asked once by an employee where my son was when I was browsing sans Alexander.

I know someday, we’ll blend back in, and we’ll be just another family. But for now, we’ll stick out, occasionally people will point and whisper, and we’ll have the opportunity to share the incredible blessing of Alexander in our lives.

And now, for your regular update of adorableness….

Mama, tear down this wall!

Mama, tear down this wall!











One thought on “A Conspicuous Family

  1. Y’all are so patient. I think I would probably be irritated by all the attention and amount of personal space given over to strangers, so I appreciate hearing about how you handle that. Very cool. Great blog post. Love you guys!

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