Following up from the last post, here is a thoughtful question from a reader/friend who is considering adoption as a way to expand her family:
There's a transracial family at our daycare and I'm quite sure the littlest boy is adopted. I'd love to strike up a conversation with his mom sometime (our older kids are friends), but I don't want to accidentally say anything offensive. How do you bring it up? What's inappropriate? What's warm and welcoming?
That is such a GREAT question. I never want to give people the impression that they can't ask any questions at all, just not stupid, invasive ones that have to do with money. ;)
Although I am super happy to talk numbers with people who are in the adoption process and have serious questions. But if it's my 2nd cousin once removed who is just being nosy I am not into it.
I always like it when people approach me with a "I hope you don't mind me asking, but I was wondering if your child was adopted? The reason I ask is because we are thinking about adoption and would love to chat with you about your experience." Even if you left out the "we are thinking about adoption" part it is still a nice way to approach someone. But it's always good to give a follow-up reason as to why you are asking. I once had someone approach me and say that she loves seeing transracial families because she comes from one herself. Making a personal connection to the reason for your inquiry is always a good idea. But that being said, I am never offended if people just come up and ask me if he's adopted then then just say "cool" ;) That has happened a couple of times!
I am happy to talk to sincere people who want to know more about adoption because I am proud of our adoptive family, proud of our transracial family and am frankly just a happy camper when I can talk about how we came to be a family!
We just had an interesting experience with the hair stylist at Cost Cutters yesterday. (I know, our first mistake was actually going into Cost Cutters but we're on a budget here, people.) So, Grant was getting his hair cut while Miles and I just hung out and watched. I could hear most of their conversation and her questions went something like this:
"Is he yours?"
"I mean, I just didn't know since ... well, you know. Is he adopted?"
"Where is he from?"
"How long have you had him?"
"Do you keep in touch with his birthparents?"
And on and on. Then she launched into how to take care of his hair, like we haven't been taking care of it for the last 2 years just fine thank-you-very-much. ;)
It wasn't exactly the line of questioning that is the problem, it is the way in which she asked such deeply personal questions (especially about his birthfamily) when we had just met her 2 minutes earlier. And it wasn't because she wanted to adopt (she made that very clear: "I don't even know anyone who has ever been adopted!") or that she had a legit reason to ask us such questions. She was just being nosy and as we have already established I'm just not into nosy people. Grant handled it really well. We have had many conversations, between the two of us, about just how much information we are okay with sharing to the general public. So we always know when to draw the line and where our boundaries are. That's really helpful in these situations--I feel like we are a united front.
Again, it's not that the questions are bad, necessarily. It's that I guess I would never in a million years ask some of these questions to someone I don't know. So I am baffled when people ask us. I DO get the curiosity, like is said in the last post, I really really do. But curiosity is not a license for appropriateness to fly out the window.
People also say odd things about adoption because they assume things they just shouldn't. Another reader/friend brings this up in the comments to my last post. She said she hears this one a lot: "You know what happens after you adopt, don't you? You get PREGNANT!" Believe me, I have gotten that one, too. My reaction is similar to yours, dear friend. Laughter. If I wanted to get pregnant (and I have been--twice) I certainly would not adopt a child to accomplish that task. There are many people in this world who can't fathom the fact that I feel absolutely no need to be biologically related to my children. I just don't. I am not biologically related to my husband and that neither diminishes my love for him nor the ties that bind us as a family. Same goes with my son.
To each their own, I say!
C'mon. This is FUNNY: