The first negative encounter I remembered as a result of being adopted was when I was seven. A little girl who lived down the hill exclaimed in a hateful voice, “I know something you don’t know…you’re adopted!” Although that was a familiar word, I wasn’t fond of the tone.
“So what?” I fired back. “Your mom is not your real mother.”
Lost for words, I scampered back up the hill to ask Mom what was so bad about being adopted. Noticing my confusion, she reassured me that adoption was not bad, but beautiful. She even gave me the correct comeback words to say if I was ever challenged with that question again.
The next day I saw the girl again. When she brought up the same subject, I had Mom’s words memorized: “I might be adopted, but at least I was picked out special and your parents had to take what they could get!” The girl ran into her house crying. She never confronted me with that issue again.
In elementary school I was neither adopted or non-adopted, or black or white. Life was as pure and simple as drawing with color crayons on Manila paper. My favorite compositions included various flying machines that propelled red and yellow flames. Pastoral scenes were green for grass and hills, blue for the sky, and an occasional house, horse, or man which rested on the lower green level about one-quarter from the bottom. Although I was not fortunate enough to have saved one of those masterpieces, I do believe my personal feelings were reflected in my human characters who usually smiled in their frozen crayon states. I always had graphite or paint imprinted on the inside heel of my left palm from smearing my artistic works with the very hand that created them.