Just a couple of hours ago, the mom across the street (who is SUPER nice and would NEVER intentionally be rude or hurtful) asked "now, D and L, they are brother and sister right?" (meaning, two of my children are bio related, the third is not from the same bio family)...yes, that is true but how long do i have to have these kids before people stop mentioning that?!? what a bummer for K, for people to point out "oh you arent their REAL brother"...even a teacher at school who is herself an adoptive mom asked that. What is ironic is that my boys are way more 'bonded' and have lived together longer than D and "his" sister who joined our family later. I just said "yes, they are" because i didnt want to make a big deal about it but i think people just do not think. Luckily there were no children in earshot.
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Talking About Adoption...Honestly
Edited on 11/7/12
- Transracial adoptionEdited on 4/4/13
- Adoption And Foster Parenting ResourcesEdited on 1/29/12
Need new strategies on how to shut down the adoption conversation with other adults - Page 2post #22 of 464/9/12 at 2:26pmpost #23 of 464/11/12 at 4:23pm
Quote:Originally Posted by Smithie
The other day before the community seder (in front of all the kids):
"Where's the other one?"
(counts heads) They're all here.
"I thought you had four kids."
"I've seen you with four."
"I've had foster kids, but right now, I just have three."
"Oh, I thought they were all yours."
My thoughts at the time:
1. Gee, thanks for bringing up a potentially painful subject at a crowded public event.
2. Did you think I trying to keep my interracial adoption a secret, or did you think I had an affair after the birth of my first white-blond child and before the births of the subsequent white blondies?
3. I hope my kids aren't listening to you right now.
5. Wow, I bet this is much worse when the fostered/adopted child is within earshot.
I totally don't mind REAL conversations about fostering/adopting, from people I can tell are genuinely interested; then I wax evangelical like QueenJane; esp. if I think they might one day warm up to doing it. Isn't every community desperate for families. However, I agree that most of the time the questions are rather selfish, and the conversation revolves back to that person (Oh, I could never do that!")
One time while taking a hoard of 13 year old girls (I think 4 or 5) out as a youth minister, a clerk asked if they were 'all mine.' Now, I was only 25 at the time (and I look REALLY young. I could pass for a high school student myself at the time). They were clearly at least 12. There were 4-5 all around the same age, one was Latina, one African American and a couple white girls. I think I gave a baffled response, but afterward in my head I was thinking 'DEAR LORD, YOU MUST THINK I REALLY GET AROUND!'
It baffles me that people don't get that these sort of questions are very personal and not appropriate for small-talk. After years of infertility treatment, I answer the question "are you going to have another' with a straight up snarky response.
Oh, never answered the question. Doesn't really work with adoption, but when people ask about our kids - we get a lot of questions now because FS and Bio-S are only a few weeks apart in age, I often just say 'we have some friends living with us' and leave it to them to figure out what that means. We refer to kids placed with us as 'friends' with my son and any kids who come in, so that is the answer I want the kids to hear.
Edited by jes h - 4/11/12 at 8:13pmpost #24 of 464/12/12 at 3:33pm
I got sucked into conversations early on whenever I was out with my youngest. (We are the adoptive placement through foster care) She has an unusual haircolor and every.one.in.the.world. has to comment on it. Then the grilling starts: Where did she get that hair? Does your dh have that color hair? Who in your family has that color? etc etc. At first, I would be startled and blurt out that her mom has that color and one of her sisters, too. That would lead to more questions. The impulse to answer every question is strong for me! lol
I try to be vague now, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Like others have said, I want to be open about adoption, but not constantly and not right in front of my 2 year old, thanks.post #25 of 464/14/12 at 3:49pm
We just moved back to my hometown, and were at our local homeschool park day recently... one of the other moms is studying to be a marriage and family therapist, has a mixed family of bio and foster and kinship care, etc.... we were both really enjoying our coversation with someone who GETS how complicated all of this is, rather than the standard replies of "oh, how WONDERFUL of you to adopt these poor children!" or "weren't you worried about ruining your real family?" (she has had this, after bringing troubled teens into her family) and we were both just yammering away -- she asked me if our two youngest (adopted from Uganda) are genetically related, which is a much better question than "are they brother and sister?" which drives us all crazy, of course... ANYWAY, it suddenly occurred to me that both of my kids now have the language skills to understand what we're talking about, and I need to be more decisive about what I share with people we are becoming acquainted with -- strangers are easier to deal with, it's ok to be rude, or vague, but having just moved, I feel compelled to be honest with these new friends... I also find it important to share the misconceptions that abound about international adoption, and I can't really leave it at "oh that's AMAZING!" I want my kids to know there is nothing taboo about being adopted (and for now, they are both proud of their Ugandan heritage) but I don't want them to feel constantly "othered" all the time either...
I had my strangest experience yet at the library the other day -- my eldest was working on a book report for school, so I was helping her with that, while also trying to help my 10 year old find 'Tarzan' and periodically helping my 5 year old with the kids computer game he was playing. Rosie (almost 3) was playing on the rug with a cute baby. I saw the baby's mama trying to figure it all out, and when my 10 year old son went over to watch rosie while I signed us up for library cards, I saw this mama asking him if he was her brother, did we adopt her, etc.... I didn't want to talk about it (being a little busy -- my dad kept calling me too, he's very excited that we moved "home" and I hear from him almost daily ;-)) so I was trying to ignore this lady, while keeping half an ear open at the same time... I went to the front desk and came back a minute later to her kneeled down with rosie (10 year old brother gone now) whispering something to her. huh? I planted myself in front of them and gave her a weird smile and she said "I was just telling her that I'd love to hear her story, but that she doesn't yet have the words to tell me, and that's ok" -- ok crazy, whatever! Rosie looked uncomfortable but fine (shy smile) and I kindly answered a few questions about adoption -- what makes it hard for me to know where to draw the line is that I think most women "have always wanted to adopt" so they feel justified in being nosy. This woman's parents were missionaries and they lived in New Guinea for many years, etc, so I felt like she was just genuinely interested so I chatted with her a bit about it, but I didn't like how she was talking secretly to my daughter, and I can't really imagine another circumstance where she might think that's ok??? or she's just odd, lol... Come to think of it, she mentioned that her oldest child "has Indian blood" (so she understands how annoying it can be to be questioned all the time ;-)) so I could easily have lobbied some pretty rude questions about her early sexual experiences, but who DOES that? why is adoption such an open door for the 3rd degree? I don't usually mind if people ask me things, even really ignorant questions, but this was just really weird and really insensitive and kind of creepy and made me feel like she saw Rosie as an exotic pet or something. I have a hard time calling people out on inappropriate behavior when it's just sort of invasive but not negative or obviously rude....
post #26 of 464/14/12 at 9:02pmThread StarterQuote:Originally Posted by tiffani
I went to the front desk and came back a minute later to her kneeled down with rosie (10 year old brother gone now) whispering something to her. huh? I planted myself in front of them and gave her a weird smile and she said "I was just telling her that I'd love to hear her story, but that she doesn't yet have the words to tell me, and that's ok" -- ok crazy, whatever!
Weird and creepy!
The people who claim "I've always wanted to adopt" get under my skin. I think it's because I know 99% of them are just saying it, basically lying, and are never going to pursue it at all. They just like the idea of it, or they like feeling good about themselves for thinking they're the kind of person who would adopt - even though they wouldn't really. I want to respond, "Don't tell me, tell your husband. He needs to know this if it's true." A lot of times though I'll actually just tell people the honest truth: it's a difficult painful journey that I wouldn't recommend for most people.post #27 of 464/14/12 at 10:42pmpost #28 of 464/15/12 at 5:30am
I completely agree, but I worry a lot about shutting out that 1%. Just becasue I was that 1% once...
Quote:Originally Posted by marsupial-mom
The people who claim "I've always wanted to adopt" get under my skin. I think it's because I know 99% of them are just saying it, basically lying, and are never going to pursue it at all. They just like the idea of it, or they like feeling good about themselves for thinking they're the kind of person who would adopt - even though they wouldn't really. I want to respond, "Don't tell me, tell your husband. He needs to know this if it's true." A lot of times though I'll actually just tell people the honest truth: it's a difficult painful journey that I wouldn't recommend for most people.post #29 of 465/25/12 at 8:01pm
My editor has 2 adoptive kids and 2 bio kids and says that when people ask her the "which ones are your bio kids and which ones are adopted?" question she says, "I forget and you should too,"post #30 of 465/26/12 at 6:44pm
I have four children, three bio (all adults now) and a little girl, adopted from China, now 9. When I brought her home I expected a lot of the talk you are all describing, but mostly I don't get it. Kind of surprised me.
However, one thing happened that I actually kind of enjoyed, since dd was not there to hear it. My oldest is married, and her mother in law has a bunch of friends that she likes to invite to everything because she "considers them like family." My son in law and his siblings don't care much for these friends. The mother in law was talking to my oldest and she said something like, "You should understand how I feel about these friends. They are just like family to me, in the same way that your little sister is almost like a real sister to you."
My daughter called me, practically foaming at the mouth. Apparently she told her mother in law that her little sister was not LIKE a sister, she actually WAS a real sister, in every way, and not just an honorary imaginary pretend sister. My daughter is an attorney and you don't want to be on the receiving end when she gets her back up.. I wish I had been there to hear it.post #31 of 466/8/12 at 8:53amThread Starter
OK, here's one that drives me nuts: "I worry that I wouldn't love an adopted child as much as my own."
Ugh! I hate that! I want to tell them that if they worry about that then please just keep it to themselves because by expressing that fear to me, an adoptive mom, you're basically saying that my love for my child is inferior to your love for your child and that's a really rude thing to say.post #32 of 466/9/12 at 5:24pm
That one doesn't bother me, unless it's said without thinking. To me, it seems like an honest statement--people really do think/fear that. I know I did. Whenever I've had someone say that, and usually it feels more like a guilty admission rather than a casual flip of conversation, I usually say "I think a lot of people worry about that at first." Because they do.
I've never thought to take it as a judgment....I don't think the person saying it is saying anything about me or how I feel about my kids. It feels, to me at least, like a statement that is very much rooted in the other person's thoughts on adoption and their own fears of not doing well as an adoptive parent.
post #33 of 466/12/12 at 8:08am
I have gotten to the point where I mostly just hate people now :(
I have two adopted children, one obviously so, one kind of obvious and one disabled daughter. Between those two factors I feel like our lives are like a three ring circus every time we leave the house.
The other day I had my 6.5 year old with me at a friends house. My daughter is good friends with my friends daughter, and she was having a potluck thing. Some random other guest I didn't know asked if she was my 'real' daughter or if she was adopted. I said she is my real daughter and she was adopted. She asked if I had other kids, and if they were real or adopted. WTF lady? I said our kids joined our family both by birth and by adoption and they are all real and all really mine. She didn't seem to get that she was being rude.
And then of course there is always the random grocery store type experience of "are they yours? or are they adopted?" I have said they are mine and they are adopted at least a dozen times.
With my middle daughter, I always get "where did she get all that black hair? Where did she get her brown skin?" and with the baby I always get "Oh look at all that blonde hair! Oh she is so fair! Where did she get her big blue eyes?" I wonder why anyone cares. I mean really! They each are who they are. Does it matter where their features came from? And the looks I get when they are all together :)post #34 of 466/12/12 at 12:08pm
Sesa, do you ever get people assuming that your oldest daughter is adopted because she has special needs? I've run into that a few times with our oldest when we're all out together. Dd1 is Korean-American, so obviously adopted in our family, but then they see ds1 with special needs and make the leap that he's adopted too. Our dd2 and ds2 are assumed to be our biological children. I wonder why they assume ds1 is adopted? Because our other biological children aren't special needs? Because they would assume we wouldn't adopt just once? I've always wanted to ask, but so far the opportunity hasn't presented itself.
Edited by RedOakMomma - 6/13/12 at 1:14pmpost #35 of 466/12/12 at 2:17pmQuote:Originally Posted by RedOakMomma
Sesa, do you ever get people assuming that your oldest daughter is adopted because she has special needs? I've run into that a few times with our oldest when we're all out together. Dd1 is Korean-American, so obviously adopted in our family, but then they see Ian with special needs and make the leap that he's adopted too. Our dd2 and ds2 are assumed to be our biological children. I wonder why they assume ds1 is adopted? Because our other biological children aren't special needs? Because they would assume we wouldn't adopt just once? I've always wanted to ask, but so far the opportunity hasn't presented itself.
yes, all the time! Though, for the sake of not singling out some of the kids I don't particularly like to say which kids were adopted and which are bio. Older dd doesn't care, in fact, when people start asking she starts laughing :)
Middle dd is very obviously hispanic. On multiple occasions I have had people look at me with her, then proceed to speak to her in spanish and me in english! Ok, so now she is 6.5 but the first few times she was a toddler.post #36 of 466/18/12 at 7:16am
My DD is biological (and caucasian like my husband and myself) and my DS is adopted and biracial. We get a lot of people assuming that my DD is adopted too. I really don't mind talking about adoption with people, but at some point it does get old. I knew that going into a transracial adoption, we were going to automatically have to talk about it more, but I had no idea that people could be so rude. I have to remind myself that the mass majority of people are just curious and overall kind. Our DS is adorable (I'm biased, but he is) and we get so many more comments about how adorable he is than comments about adoption.
I did have a patient the other day say, "It's so great that you saved that baby." I did take the time to correct her and say that we were the ones who were truly blessed and if we hadn't been chosen to be his parents, there were many other waiting families who would have loved to be his parents. She just said, "Oh. I never thought of it that way."
post #37 of 466/18/12 at 10:19am
Though, for the sake of not singling out some of the kids I don't particularly like to say which kids were adopted and which are bio.
I have a whole new set of feelings around this, with our current foster placement who may become available for adoption. I have no idea why - his older age? the fact that he's not a transracial placement? - but suddenly it's NOBODY'S BUSINESS who is in this family is a biokid and who is not. Nobody is getting that information out of me. Obviously, most people we see on a daily basis will just know, because they knew us before we had this placement. But if we get to adopt and get to move? He can tell whoever he wants, but I'm never telling anybody. They can think I had two babies 6 months apart. Or I'll tell them that the bio kid is the adopted one. It's not that I want to keep his life story a secret, it's that I am offended by the distinction.post #38 of 466/18/12 at 10:43am
As I got older( after age 6) the questions were asked to ME. Who is the real child and who is the bio one. My brother and I are very close in age- 12 months and 13 days apart. People forgot which one was adopted and usually asked. I also remember the statement very clearly that many people said- how wonderful that my adoptive parents got to have their own child!!! ( their bio son my adoptive brother)
I was not prepared to emotionally handle these questions. I do not think it was ever discussed in my family how they felt about it , how I felt being asked etc. I was also told my virtual strangers how lucky I was. At the time I just remember feeling strange but would and could have a conversation about it. People are naturally curious and I recall many people asking me if I was comfortable talking about it and I most of the time always was. They wanted to know why I was given up and who my bio parents were and all sorts of stuff. People still ask me this. I never remember having a conversation with my adoptive parents about this... so I just said I did not know- that my bio mom was 22 and my bio dad was 26 and that my bio mom was tall. ( I am only 5'4)
I remember my first job I was asked these questions and had a lengthy conversation with my boss who had known my adoptive parents for years.
the thing is- the story I had to tell them- was my parents story. How they waited- how they longed to have a baby and tried for 8 years then they adopted me and then a miracle happened and they got pregnant and had my brother!!! this is the response I would give and what I had heard my parents saying.
Today I still have no problem discussing my adoption with people.
I am trying to formulate a response that makes sense and would be useful- I guess my main point is your child will be asked these questions to and will most likely parrot what they have heard you say. Prepare them and discuss their feelings about it. Let them choose what to share and what not to. do not make them ashamed. However- when you give an inch people take a mile.post #39 of 466/18/12 at 10:54ampost #40 of 466/18/12 at 6:55pm
- Need new strategies on how to shut down the adoption conversation with other adults
- Transracial adoption
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