adoptive parenting · awkward · transracial adoption


Lately I have noticed an increase in adoptive parents talking about drama. Whether it’s remarks made by family, friends or strangers, many adoptive parents I know have found themselves in situations lately where they aren’t quite sure how to respond.

The default response seems to be… anger is perhaps too strong a word, but… well, anger. People are angry that other people are asking questions about their family.

And I’m a little annoyed, in return, because there are so many positive things to focus on in life, so why choose to focus on the things that make us angry?

I don’t know if it’s because we had to take oodles of pre-adoption classes or what, but I kind of expected that. I expected people to say dumb, annoying or outright offensive things. But I also expected it was out of ignorance. It’s not like adoption eduction or positive adoption language or even manners are taught these days. Why do people expect people to be informed when their primary exposure to adoption is GLEE?

Would I be annoyed if someone asked me, “Where did you get him?”

A little. But is it worth making a federal case over? Especially with a stranger at the grocery store? Am I the poster child for adoption education in my town?

Um. Nope. It’s my job to respond in kindness to show my son how to treat other people. It’s my job to say, “Well, he was born at Big Hospital downtown!” It’s my job to thank them for noticing how adorable Little Man is.

It is NOT my job to say, “Hey! Did I ask you where you got your kid? Did I ask what position you were in when you conceived him? Did I ask you how much your medical bills were?”

Um. Nope. Again. That would be rude. And I was raised better than that.

But again… it seems that a lot of adoptive parents want to just blend into their surroundings. Well, when I chose to adopt a Black child, blending into my surroundings went out the window. And I was fully aware of that when I made the choice. So if you are considering transracial adoption, remember that you will be highly visible everywhere you go.

Now to be honest, I don’t get a lot of stares or questions. I mean, sure, good friends will ask me questions. Just this week a good friend asked me how we talk to Little Man about the day he was born. That is a fabulous question, and one I could answer without revealing details that are sacred and private. People don’t approach me in the grocery store (except to comment on how adorable he is!) and ask me things. But I would just say (like I have in the past), “I’m sorry, but that is private and we don’t share that.” I haven’t had anyone push beyond that. Maybe I’m just lucky?

Being an adoptive parent is tough. But being any parent is tough, right? We just get a different set of issues. Is it worth getting angry and carrying around that bitterness and questioning what is wrong with humanity?

Um. Nope. And if I know you “in real life” and you think this is all about you, well… you’re probably wrong. Unless you are still upset by a stranger’s question six weeks ago ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Then, yes, I’m maybe talking to you!

4 thoughts on “Drama

  1. Look at you blogging again! I know I can't 100% relate to what you are going through, but Parker having 2 moms (Alicia did legally adopt her) brings on similar issues and questions – innocent as they may be right now.(I'm sure the issues will become more complex as she gets older and goes to school.)

    We were out the other day and P was wearing a “I love my Mummy” shirt for Halloween. Someone asked her if her Mummy or Daddy bought it. My 3 year old looked the man square in the face and said, “My Mom. I don't have a Daddy!” I secretly loved it! ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. I LOVE this post. I try very hard to have thick skin, because I want my daughter to have thick skin. That doesn't mean that I don't often have an increased heart rate when someone makes a comment that doesn't paint adoption in the most positive light, but mostly I give people the benefit of the doubt.

    I know that since my family isn't a conspicuous adoptive family, my perpective is probably a little different, but it is good to hear that you feel kinda the same way.

    I often get the, “I didn't know she wasn't yours” comment when people find out R was adopted, which I always respons, “well, she IS mine, but youre right, it isn't very noticible that we aren't biologically related.” Once, I had someone grab my hand, look me in the eye and applogise for saying the “Not yours” thing. I will tell THAT experience has stuck with me much longer. For me, when people just GET IT, it is much more of a big deal than when people don't. I guess I don't understand why we, as adoptive parents, expect others just to understand all the little things about adoption. People just don't. I didn't before I started on this journey… how can I expect others to?

    On the other hand, I quite frequently read the comments on the entertaiment websites announcing an adoption, and then I DO question what is wrong with humaninty (while laughing at the crazies out there), but I imagine I would if read the comments on ANY entertainment website that I would question the same thing.


  3. My husband and I are at the end of our homestudy and although we are adopting domestically we are open to children of any race. I look forward to answering the question, “where did you get him/her” with this…We got him in the exact same way you had your children, God gave him to us.” Not hurt feelings, no anger just recognising that our children are blessings from God, and nothing we could make on our own, even if they have come out of our bodies.


  4. I love this post. I can't say I've had anyone be rude yet, but if I do I hope I don't respond with anger. I did get very angry once when one relative suggested we don't need to tell Baby Boy he's adopted. My family struggles most with the openness. But other than that, I don't feel like anyone has been out of line.


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