Oh, Shirt

I came across a site selling the t-shirt shown below:

Do you love your adopted kid?

Do you love your adopted kid?

The designer explains the shirt on her personal site:  “So many people misunderstand or don’t understand what being an adoptive parents is all about.  I think adoptive parents should completely own being an adoptive parent. Be proud of it and confident in it.”  That makes sense.

I’m not going bash on the person who designed the shirt, and is selling it.  To each their own.  But I would not buy this shirt for myself or anyone else I know.


It’s not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed by our adoptions.  It is the complete opposite:  the choice to adopt is easily one of the best things my wife and I will ever do.  Our lives, as well as those of our family and friends, have been forever enriched because of our three kiddos.  I may not have enjoyed the paperwork and expense of the adoption process, but I have pride in making it through that process three times.  I have confidence in who I am as a parent – regardless of if “parent” needs to be qualified with “adoptive”.

It’s not that I don’t want to talk adoption or advocate for it.  The first thing you learn about adoptive parents is that we LOVE to talk adoption.  We love to tell our stories, share advice, and many of us will speak up to remove misconceptions or correct outdated language.  I’m no exception.  I’ve written a ton about adoption, and will continue to advocate for it whenever the opportunity arises.

And obviously, it’s not that I don’t love my adopted kids.  They are my world.  My pride and joy.  I love them with all my heart and would do anything for them.

So why would I never ever wear this shirt?

Because when I look at my kids, I don’t see them as “adopted”.  I see them as amazing little people who happened to arrive in my life through adoption.  I will raise my kids to have pride in their adoption – as it is nothing to be ashamed of – and to respect the strength and love shown by their birth families when they were newborns.  But I don’t want “ADOPTED” to be the label that defines them for life.

I accept that when we’re out in public people probably see my children as adopted (I’m very white.  They are very much not white).  That is the reality of living in a society that tries so very hard to be colorblind that we notice every little difference.  So why should I reinforce that singular, impersonal label by wearing this shirt for the world to see?

If the world really needs to pigeon-hole my kids, I’d much have them defined by their amazing personalities (loud and proud, sweet and shy, loving and laughing) than by a generic label that really doesn’t tell you anything about who they are.

Borrowing an analogy I’ve seen elsewhere, would parents of biological children proudly wear a shirt that says “I LOVE MY C-SECTION KID!” or “ASK ME ABOUT MY TURKEY BASTER BABY!”?  Probably not.  I mean, sure, there might be some folks out there who are oddly proud of the marvels of medical science that helped bring their child into the world, but most people don’t choose to define their child as C-Section, breech, the result of a fertility treatment, or anything else.

I like that the designer of the shirt is an adoptee, as it tells me that she has pride in being adopted and wants to be an advocate.  But I’m guessing that she views herself by other terms (talented designer, independent businesswoman, etc.) instead of having adoption be her identity.

Now, if she comes out with a shirt that says “I LOVE MY KIDS”, I’d consider wearing that – if for no other reason than to see if my soon to be six-year-old rolls her eyes in embarrassment.

What Not To Wear – Nebraska Football Edition

Okay…I’m going to talk about something that will be considered trivial by the vast majority* of my readers.  I’ll completely understand if you want to read something a little more meaningful like this or this.

English: Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska...

I see a red sea, and they want to paint it black. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Of course, the last time I wrote about a niche subject like this, it ended up being one of my most read pieces.

There is a growing controversy among Nebraska football fans.  It started during last week’s win over Southern Mississippi and has been growing stronger throughout the week.  Lines are being drawn.  Names are being called.  Generations are being divided.

What could possibly cause such a rift within the “Greatest Fans In College Football”?  A quarterback controversy?  Debate over a decision to go for it on 4th down?  Yet another rehash of the “Should Solich have been fired” debate?

Nope.  This one is about fashion.

Specifically, the shirt color a Nebraska football fan should wear to Saturday’s game against UCLA.

For the majority of Nebraska fans, the default answer is “red”*.  The fans in Memorial Stadium has long been known as the “Sea of Red”.  When the fans are in red, it creates a dramatic effect for opposing players.

*Yes, technically it is “scarlet”, but don’t be THAT guy.  Nobody calls it the Sea of Scarlet.

But the students have been leading a charge to have fans wear black to the UCLA game.  The Huskers, for the first time, will be wearing alternative black jerseys and helmets with black trimmings.  In their mind, an blacked out stadium would create a very intimidating atmosphere.

I can’t say for sure where the black out movement started, other than to say it was with the students.  My guess is the Iron N student group played a part.  During the Southern Miss game, a student was shown on the HuskerVision screens holding a sign that read “Next week, wear black”.  The cameraman lingered on the sign, giving the crowd ample opportunity to see it.

From there, it picked up momentum on message boards and social media.  All week, there have been Facebook posts and tweets asking fans – both regular and famous to participate.

Even Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez got involved:

As the buzz has picked up, members of the Nebraska media have taken notice – and provided a disclaimer:

Maybe I’m just cynical (and I’m not trying to put words in Callahan’s mouth), but when I saw that I heard “no, you don’t have to wear black if you don’t want to”.  Score one for those who believe Nebraska doesn’t need gimmicks like black outs, rally towels, and the like.

So now the battle lines have been drawn.

The people in red are the “grey-hairs”, the traditionalists, the people averse to change.  They dislike the alternative jerseys solely on principle.  If somebody tells you to sit down on Saturday, you can bet they are wearing red.  To hear the other side, fans wearing red on Saturday are hypocrites for not supporting the team, when the team has asked for their support.

Those wearing black?  Young bucks who think they know everything, but actually know very little.  Sheep who follow the herd instead of sticking to their beliefs.  They don’t know, don’t appreciate, or don’t care about maintaining Nebraska’s traditions.  They are part time fans who spend the game staring at their phone.  They bought the black replica jersey because it’s cool, and think Nebraska should wear black more often.  To hear the red wearers – why should they listen to the students, who are so passionate about the team that they struggle to fill up their section for several games in the last few years?

Here’s my prediction:  at 11 am on Saturday, the southeast corner of the stadium (i.e. the student sections) will be almost completely black.  There will be pockets of black t-shirts and jerseys throughout the stadium, but there will be higher concentrations in the newer seating area (the high altitude levels of east and the top rows of north).

As for the rest of the stadium, the majority will be in red.  The strongest concentration will be in the west as well as the lower rows of north and east.

*   *   *

What will I be wearing when I take my seat on Saturday?

I don’t know yet.  I’m torn, and have gone back and forth all week.

On one hand, I always try to do my part to create the Sea of Red.  I own Husker gear in black, grey, and white, but only the red stuff makes its way into the Stadium on Saturdays.  Admittedly, I’m not wild about the black alternative uniforms, but me wearing red would be more about respecting the tradition than any sort of personal protest.

I might be more apt to wear black if the University had authorized it, promoted it, or even acknowledged it.  Without the athletic department’s backing, the whole thing seems like some “wouldn’t it be cool…” idea that will ultimately fizzle out.  I’m not a big fan of gimmicks and stunts.  I think those sorts of things are beneath a program of Nebraska’s stature and reputation.

On the other hand, I can see where the blackout folks are coming from.  I get that turning Memorial Stadium black should be a way to get mentioned on ESPN or Fox Sports, which never hurts when recruiting high school kids.  And let’s face it:  in college sports, it always comes back to recruiting.

Plus, with it being an 11 am kickoff, the jolt from seeing the stadium in black could add a boost of energy to the crowd.  Due to a short window at the tailgate/bar, morning games tend to be much more subdued, so any little spark could help the crowd provide some home field advantage.

Even now, I still don’t know what color I’m going to wear.  I’m leaning towards black, but I very well may throw on my favorite red shirt.  At the end of the day, the color of shirt I wear doesn’t matter.  It won’t define who I am as a person or as a Nebraska fan.  Come kickoff, I will be supporting the team fully, cheering loudly, and trying to help the team win – and I would do the same thing in red, black, or pink with lime green polka dots.

Thought of the Day – 11/26/2012

On my way into work this morning, I walked by two….um….rather interesting guys:

Guy #1 was wearing a pair of skinny jeans that looked like they had been painted on.  While he was not fat by any means, he was also not what anybody would describe as skinny.

Guy #2 was walking a tiny little foo-foo dog*.  I’m not really sure what the guy was wearing, as I could not get past the little pink flower in the dog’s hair.  It looked like one of the flower barrettes I used when my daughter was still in diapers.

*I debated way too long on the appropriate adjective to describe the dog.  I considered “ankle biter”, “Stickless Swiffer Duster”, and my wife’s preferred “kick in the face” dog, before settling on foo-foo.  I’m not sure what breed it was, but rest assured, it was definitely NOT a pit bull, lab, or even a beagle.

The sight of these two fellows – both looking less than manly* – prompted a question:  If I had to be one of the two guys, walking around in public, which one would I be?

*I’ll be the first to admit that I am far from a macho manly man – and my wife would probably be a close second.  Name a “manly” pursuit, such as hunting, working on cars, handyman projects, or the like and the odds are good that I’d rather play with my kids, watch something on Food Network, or go shopping.  I’ll proudly own that.  But for me, the line is drawn at skinny jeans or flowers in the dog’s hair.

So what would I pick?

I’d rather take Fifi for a walk with a hot pink flower in her hair.  There is a decent chance that I could deflect the blame/shame onto somebody else for being stuck walking Princess Von Fluffington.  But if you’re wearing skinny jeans, there are very few “Get Out Of Jail Free” cards that you could legitimately play.


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