30 August 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 11 comments

What is the answer. Educate me.

In my last post I mentioned that a man took a picture of our cricket while we were eating dinner at a restaurant and as a result I got quite a few emails and comments asking how we handled it.  With my head hung, I have to say that we did nothing unfortunately.  Shame I know.

First of all, I loathe confrontation.  I run from it.  I hate to hurt someone and nine times out of ten will take the blame in a situation so that confrontation is minimal.  I hate that about me and it is something I've always tried to improve upon but obviously in this case I ran.  Stupidly.  Very stupidly.  But the thoughts of what happened have opened my mind to future bouts of confrontation and has given me just enough strength to not let a person do that again.  It upset me deeply.  It made me think of what lies ahead and where we've already walked in our international adoption journey.

There have been many things in the last six months since we've come home with our daughter that have been off color, odd, sincere interest or sometimes just plain stupidity by the uneducated.  We've been stared at more than is comfortable for me sometimes. We've been approached by strangers to only spend an hour answering questions about what to expect when they start their own adoptions.  We've been followed through a mall...that was a bit scary.  We've been asked, and I quote, "will you tell her she's adopted"...SMACKED that person upside the head.   Besides the man who asked a million questions, I have felt little need to confront the people who have walked pretty close to crossing the line.  The person who asked if we will tell Miss J if she's adopted was an old (uneducated) friend who was quickly put right in the world.  I knew how to deal with each incident I guess.

My reason for this post I guess is to ask you how you would have dealt with the camera guy.  One thing I did not mention in my previous post is that we were sitting at the table with others who felt that what was happing was okay and to "just let it go".  Also it happened so fast and was over before it felt like it even happened.  

I do know the easiest answer....confront him and ask him to delete the picture.  But how, is my question.


When it happens so fast, it's hard to navigate the situation. I think most people would respond exactly as you did. I can't say for sure what I would do. A lot depends on the location and who is with me (ie am I safe if I approach this person?). If I did decide to approach the person, I would probably ask their name, their purpose for taking the picture and inform them that it creeped me out. Most people who innocently overstep boundaries don't, in fact, realized they overstepped.

First of all, Cricket is so adorable how can you not stare at such a cutie! It does not excuse the behavior of people. Next time you will be prepared.

Where ever I go I get comments on Tate's cuteness. It has become an almost daily occurance. I just agree that she is amazing and move on. I have stopped chatting it up with people about China adoption. I just smile and leave.

I would say the first 2 years or so that Grace was home with us, we had most of the obvious staring, odd comments and uncomfortable conversations. At first I answered all the questions and tolerated it.
With a little experience now under my belt, I'm a boundary person. I have ignored people and walked away, and one time informed a woman that my daughter's story was 'her' story and I don't discuss my child with people I don't know well.

As for the picture taking incident, it happened so quickly I'm not sure you could have done anything. I agree with TM that most people don't know they've overstepped boundaries.

I try and remember my children are listening to my responses and watching my facial expressions when these things occur.

It'll get easier, I promise. :)

Firstly I would say don't beat yourself up about it. When things happen quickly we don't have time to fully comprehend what is going on and react how we want to. It's easy after the event to rethink things and criticsie ourselves. I have had exactly the same thing happen and it is very hard to react 'in the moment' especially when we have to consider what our children can see and hear. As TM says, most people are not creeps, just ignorant of crossing boundaries. Though how anyone could follow you thru the mall and not think they would be inappropriate is horrifying. I think with comments we actually just get better at phrasing our responses and establishing what we are and are not comfortable with discussing, and with whom, as our children grow. I know I can deal with the offensive people much more easily now - the benefits of practise unfortunately.

I think I would ask why they were photographing my child and then simply tell the person that I am not comfortable with a stranger doing this and I would like them to please show me they are deleting the photograph. If they refuse I would say I was calling the management and have them deal with it, if it was inside. Outside I hope I would whip out my own camera, photograph them, and take the ID to the police if they wouldn't delete it, and make a complaint: because a reasonable person would delete if you asked I think. But that is all easier said than done, in the moment such things happen. It is very easy after the event to think of ways to behave, it is not so easy at the time.

I asked in the previous post about it. I guess these momma's up there will give you better advice than me (who haven't deal with it).

But I think you shouldn't beat yourself about it. You probably were with friends and having fun that you just didn't have time to respond.

I totally agree with Tonggu Momma.
And about your friends telling yourself to let it go, I'd just ignore it. Just do what you feel you have to do for your daughter =)

Hope you're feeling better about it

One thing that was suggested in a class we attended regarding race and people who just come up to you and start taking up your precious time is to (if you want to educate them) make an appointment to call them and talk to them at another time that is convenient for you (and them).

Not sure what I would do with the picture situation. Confronting them and asking them to delete the picture sounds like a good idea if it is possible in the situation. I also like the idea of whipping out YOUR camera and taking their picture to the police if they will not :-).


Great advice above & a hug from me. People are weird and boundaries are good. These sorts of things come with time as I'd imagine. And, I'm learning from your experience, so thank you. I'll bet that some days are better than others - and that some odd interactions are more benign than others. I hope that I can hold my girl close & manage the weirdness of it all with grace...but I bet I'll lose my cool and trip on the choices I've made like the best. Comes with the territory, right? xoxo

I wish I knew. I think I would have been shaking and unsure, but I would have probably just stood up and used my adrenaline to confront him.

Man, coulda woulda shoulda, huh?

First of all, you shouldn't beat yourself up about not "doing something" when he snapped the photograph. I'm absolutely certain that your loathing of confrontation wouldn't have stopped you from going full Mama-Bear on that guy if you thought for even a millisecond that your baby girl was at risk!

I've been thinking all morning about your question and I keep coming back to wondering exactly what harm there could be in someone having a photograph of my child? And if there is harm, how would it be any different if they came to my blog and took one of those pics?

Now, if they took of pic of my child with their modesty compromised, that would be a totally different story. I don't post those kinds of photos on my blog and I wouldn't be keen on a stranger exploiting an otherwise innocent opportunity to get a photo like that.

It seems like it should be illegal to take a picture of someone else's child without permission - but it's not. Just look at all of the photos of celebrities kids. If there was a way to stop it, I'm sure they would have figured it out.

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Don't beat yourself up, sometimes things happen so fast that you can't react. When we were in South Dakota we went on the train in Hill City, and the boys were dressed in full on engineer gear from the hats to the overalls to the bandanna's and gloves. We had numerous people ask to take their picture, and if they asked we agreed because hey, they were cute and they were in front of the train, it was ok with us. But while on the train my oldest son fell asleep and the lady in front of us turned around and said 'awww!' and then snapped a pic of him, without asking and then just turned back around! I was mouth agape shocked. Her daughter (probably 17-19yrs old) chewed her rear end about it! LOL

People are weird, and many have no boundaries at all. I'm sorry that a huge boundary was crossed with your little one, and I hope it doesn't happen again.

Like others said, please don't beat yourself over it. It happened fast and now you can be prepared next time. I would either say excuse me, could you please delete that photo of my daughter? Or I would take photos of him!