Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Catching You Up, Story 1

It's 6:30 and now I'm in the Minneapolis Airport all checked in and ready to go, having a scone for breakfast. I promised to take some time to catch you up on a couple or more situations that I haven't taken time to blog about.

The first is about Salinda. For about the last 3 months she has been sneaking off on weekends to spend time with a boy/man who has turned 18. She would not let us meet him, so therefore she did not have permission to be with him. But she found ways...and was then grounded for doing it. She was miserable, but we were not going to back down. "either you are going to let us meet him, or you'll have to continue to sneak off, lie to us, and receive the consequences."

So that is how it went. For several months. She could usually go about 3 weeks before she couldn't take it any more and would devise some scheme.

A few weeks ago the reason came out. She had been less than honest with this guy and his family about her life. They are Hispanic and she had not mentioned that we are white and that she is adopted. She was pretending another family was hers and the longer it went on the harder it was going to be to expose her lie. I told her again and again that she was the one who was making her life miserable. That she was going to have to choose to accept her life as it was and live with it because the color of my skin and the fact she was adopted was not going to change.

I explained to her that I was not unhappy that she was spending time with his family. I told her that a lot of "cultural camps" for adopted kids weren't authentic and that her spending time in a Hispanic community with a Hispanic family was a good way for her to know her culture. And I reminded her that I had lived in Mexico 2 years, spoke Spanish, and was pretty convinced that the family would be convincing of our situation and like me well enough.

So over the past months I kept consequencing her, but started looking for moments when she and I could talk about other things and I would slip in questions about the situation and how it was going. Finally, this past weekend she was given permission to go to his Homecoming Dance with him with the stipulation that we would meet him and some of his family.

On Sunday afternoon (after several miscommunications requiring me to be more flexible than I like) I met Salinda, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's mom for supper. I told her ahead of time that Salinda was adopted and we were white -- didn't want her to be too shocked. Salinda also told her some of the story.

The meeting went fine, but I almost burst out laughing when I saw the big bad 18 year old man who was kidnapping my daughter and wisking her away to another town. He's the most innocent looking kid you'd ever meet, short, very skinny, and looks not a day older than 15. Turns out he is hardworking (drove a combine 15 hour days for several weeks this summer) has plans to go to college, and is an excellent athlete.

Other surprises included the fact that his mother's father is French Canadian so I don't think me being white was all that bothersome to her -- and the fact that she has custody of step children, helping her understand our foster/adoption past. We had a nice long supper and at the end both his mother and this sweet little man/boy gave me hugs.

Salinda is much happier now, as I knew she would be. She is still a teenage girl, still impulsive and doesn't plan well, but she is more settled. Her relationship with us is less strained. And even though he is 18, having a college bound boyfriend with a good work ethic and an overprotective family is not a bad thing. Especially if he is 75 miles away.

Sure, this was not the perfect way to have all this done. And I definitely have unanswered questions, but understand the culture well enough to get certain things about what has happened. And I'm happy to have that part of things over with. Maybe now she can move on to other things, like getting a job, taking driver's ed (as soon as she stops all the lying) and start making her own plans for her future.

But I'm smart enough to know that now that he's not forbidden any more, she might have to move on. ;-)

And I also know that there will be more challenges ahead. Today in fact. But it's nice to have this one wrapped up.

And so now you're caught up on that part of the lives and it's time to board my first flight to Atlanta (where I'll only be for an hour).

And I bought a silly novel and a puzzle book. My 12 hours of travel today requires that.

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