April 25th, 2011
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Categories: Family Life

94404_7820My husband and I are in New Orleans for the Easter weekend. We planned this weekend as a get-a-way from the stress of adoption and to re-focus our marriage. Our hotel is in the French Quarter of New Orleans. One evening, we decided to walk over to the legendary Bourbon Street. I have been there once before but it was during the day. I thought that the night life would be a bit different than what I had experienced in the day. I was definitely right!

My husband and I enjoyed walking up and down the street, watching the various types of people, and catching beads thrown at us from balconies. We saw quite a few interesting shops and entertainment venues. None of this is shocking as this is Bourbon Street. Much to my surprise, I saw quite a few families with preschool and school age children. As an expectant Mom, a late evening on Bourbon Street would not be my first dining choice with my kids. There are some things that they can wait a few years to be exposed to.

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And then it happened…. I saw something that made my jaw drop (literally!). There in my direct line of vision was a family with their school age Asian daughter. Since I am adopting one of China’s precious children, I always look at families with Asian children. I try not to stare but I do glance. And yes, I know that transracial families do not like looks, glances, or stares but it comes with the territory of being a multiethnic family. This time, I stared at the family and kept it for a good 15 – 30 seconds. Many thoughts ran through my head all at the same time:

How could they expose their daughter to this? You’re going to give all adoptive families with Asian children a bad name. What are you thinking?

I looked over at my husband and he was staring just as hard as I was. We exchanged a few private comments and went back to our hotel room. As I laid in bed and thought about the event, I realized that I was passing judgement on an innocent family. Most likely, they were on vacation and came to Bourbon Street to see what it was all about. They were probably more comfortable with letting their daughter be exposed to things than I am. This is ok. They are not giving all adoptive families with Asian children a bad name. This was just my initial knee jerk reaction.

I think this lesson will stick with me for a long time. And to the family that I saw – I’m sorry that I stared at you!

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3 Responses to “Shock in an Unexpected Way”

  1. Charlene says:

    Wow. A few years ago I went to New Orleans. Walking down Bourbon Street was one of the most uncomfortable moments of the trip. We walked through during the day, and I was horrified. Store windows were covered in pornography. Drunk people were everywhere, even though it was before noon. It was crazy. I definitely would not feel comfortable bringing a child through Bourbon Street.

  2. mommyof1 says:

    I think that sometimes adoptive parents are held to a higher standard and I think that in this case that is what you did….And, I agree with you! It is not appropriate to expose small children to Bourban Street, especially at night- they don’t need to see the pornography, the drunks, the drugs, or anything else there. Period. It is not a place for children. If people wish to go then maybe a relative can stay for the weekend with their children so there can be a grown up getaway….just a thought….But as for adoptive parents- I think that we owe it to our birth mothers not to introduce children to this atmosphere- these women place their children to give them a better life and home- I don’t think that having said children see Bourban Street is the picture they envisioned when deciding to place their children… Bourban Street at night isn’t kid friendly regardless of whether a child was adopted or not…There are far more appropriate things to do with children in New Orleans…

  3. Julie H says:

    I agree with both of you. Adoptive parents are held to a higher standard. I don’t know if we do it to ourselves or society does it to us….

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