Friday, May 14, 2010

Come On, Think About IT

I'm currently sitting and writing during Rosie's girl scout meeting, which is lead by volunteers.

One of them really gets under my skin.  She's the one white leader and she's loud and dominates most everything that goes on instead of making space for the women of color to lead.  I have a laundry list of insensitive things she's done and said over the course of the girl scout season. And yes, I've given feedback to the volunteer coordinator.

But what she just said totally pissed me off.  The group was talking about their middle names, which led to conversation about ideas for baby names.  Someone asked Rosie what her new baby was going to be named.  She explained the mama had changed her mind.  The leader looked Rosie right in the eye and said, "well it's good that baby gets to stay with it's mama."

REALLY?  You're really going to look a 6 year old adoptee in the eye and tell her that?  REALLY? 
Cuz in case you didn't notice, she didn't get to. And yes, it bothers her.


Guess what Rosie's reaction was?  Her head dropped instantly down in deep concentration of her project, and she dropped out of the conversation. Said leader didn't seem to notice the change at all. I personally spent a few minutes swearing out in the hallway.

Any ideas how I should handle this?  Do I talk to the leader?  The volunteer coordinator? What would you say to your child about it?


olliemom said...

Wow. Just wow. From the perspective of a birth mother in an open adoption and as the wife of an adoptee, this really pisses me off. I think it's worth it to speak directly with the volunteer. Someone needs to clue her in and it might be more meaningful for her to hear about the repercussions of her insensitivity straight from the source.

Seattle said...

Yes! You should talk to the leader about it and to the leader's coordinator about it. Yikes. What a thoughtless comment. Sadly, probably not the first or last such thoughtless comment made to Rosie. I am so glad that Rosie has a thoughtful mama who will help her process any hurts she gets as she grows into a beautiful woman.

Vicki said...

You would be doing this woman and incredible favor, and offering countless others she comes in contact with, an incredible gift if you talk with her yourself. It sounds like a challenging conversation and a message she may or may not understand, but as an educated, sensitive woman who is mothering an adopted child, you truly would be doing something great for the world by thoughtfully sharing your feelings and experiences with her. It is a risk but some of the most beautiful, loving, powerful moments are from when we choose to allow ourselves to be vulnerable with others. Hugs to you and Rosie. What a difficult, sad moment. Rosie's grace and strength will serve her well as she encounters others who show similar ignorance. If it were me, I would schedule time to talk with both the leader and the volunteer coordinator, if possible. It would be a learning opportunity for both. I would describe to my child what I was doing and why, my feelings around it, how I prepared, and follow up with what happened during the meeting afterward. I would possibly encourage my child to dictate a letter to send or present to either the coordinator or the leaders. This is a profound opportunity to learn about clear communication, standing up for what is right, personal power, etc. Hugs again to both of you and if I can help in anyway as a sounding board, I'd be honored. Take care. Vicki

Lisa said...

This woman cannot know the implication of what she said or she should in no way be working with children. As this post was in May, what happened? I'm a SHG'r too Sara-maybe we'll meet sometime.

Jenn said...

Put it in writing as you have here, and submit it to the organization. To the volunteer coordinator, sure, but also higher up. Local management, or something.

Intolerance - and this episode smacks of both religious and racial bias - has no place in Scouting.

/ what a bitch!/