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 🙂 Then, yes, I’m maybe talking to you!