Walking up the short flight of stairs at our local temple with Kay happily perched on my hips, a childish voice rang out behind me “Why is that Indian couple carrying white babies Appa!?”. I turned instinctively feeling defensive and amused. There was this little boy all of seven or eight years looking to his dad for explanation on what he saw was an anomaly. White babies being carried by desi adults in a temple. I was tempted to wait to see what answer he would get. I also felt sorry for the man who was taken aback by the blunt and rather loud question. Shooting a reassuring smile and waving to the little boy I sped to catch up with K and my mom who were following the priest rather rapidly.
We had a long day starting with a small ceremony in the temple for the first mottai for the girls followed by a full head shave at the local kiddie salon and then ear-piercing at Claires at the mall. By the time we were done in the evening, my feet hurt and so did my head.
Waking up this morning from a restful sleep, the questions came back thick and fast. The little boy said aloud what most people who watched our new family make it rounds in the temple thought. As we stopped in front of the Ambal sannidhanam or the Perumal, I was aware of curious eyes trying to connect the dots. I saw myself in them. If I had seen an Indian couple with trans-racially adopted children my eyes would have been drawn to them, connecting the dots and trying to imagine the story behind their family.
As an adoptive mom, my feelings were at odds. On one end I want to play the role of an educator. I wanted to stop and explain to the little boy that families are created in different ways and ours was just one of the many ways. On the other end, I craved acceptance. To see ourselves as normal. As any other family of four who might visit a temple. This is probably just the beginning of a lifetime of awkward and uncomfortable questions. Questions I need to be better prepared for. Just another reminder of the complexities of a family that straddles the inherent loss and joy in adoption.