Adoption is on a culture rise! This is an exciting thing to me as I am very passionate about caring for children without homes. But what do you know about adoption? Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie & the collection of ethnically diverse children? Another famous adopted child, Steve Jobs?
But since there are very excellently written books about all issues pertaining to adoption I will not attempt to recreate that information in a short post. My heart is to just discuss a few issues and sensitives that often people over-look in ignorant, yet well meaning questions or conversations. In other words–what not to say! (and yes that was a slight nod to my favorite show-What Not to Wear –TLC) What about those from Abusive homes? Overseas? Infants? There is much diversity in the area of adoption & I welcome you, my dear readers, to explore the area and idea of adoption!! Educate yourself and do not be ignorant!
“What? You’re Adopted!”
Those words have been spoken to me more times than I can remember. I just love the reaction I get from people when they find out that I am adopted. The looks, questions, even the vocal changes just make me giggle. O people are so ignorant in the area of adoption. So I decided to take a post and educate you, my dear readers, on a few things NOT to say. The statements may apply to the adoptee or the adopters, but just remember to be sensitive.
Humorous Things People (should not) Say:
- “Do you know your real parents?” I laugh every time and say yes in fact I do-my real parents are Dean and Brenda. Real, ha, such a silly word to use. I may start introducing Dean and Brenda as my “fake parents” I think they’d like that. The correct terminology to use would be birthparents. And just as a side note, regardless of what age the adoptee was when adopted, it’s not the question you should ask first. Many people (myself included) do not like discussing our birthparents or our relationship with them because usually it is a complex subject.
- “Is she your Real sister?” Please reference the above paragraph, and let me add one thing. Sibling groups are much more of a challenge to adopt in the United States, and usually it is an older age group, so chances are if someone tells you they were adopted at a week old and a sibling was adopted two years later, they’re not biologically related.
- “Don’t you want your own children?” O please o please o please do NOT ever say this to anyone looking to adopt. A very dear friend of mine made this comment to me and I just laughed in her face. (we joke about it now) I laughed for several reasons, one of which was I am Dean and Brenda’s own child. I may not look like my mom, I may not have the same genetic make-up as my parents, but I am their own child. Yes there are families (and I wouldn’t mind joining that group) that have several children biologically and then chose to adopt, but all of the children are their own.
- “Well you know if you adopt you’ll get pregnant right away” Statistically this does not hold up, and more importantly this does not edify or encourage those looking to adopt!
- “Lucky you—you didn’t have to go through labor for that baby” –Never Never Never! I cannot emphasize this one enough. There is just as much laboring involved in adoption as delivering a baby naturally. A wise woman in my life once put it “I labored 10 years for this baby” and the emotional, physical, and spiritual stress that those adopting are under may well outweigh the physical labor no matter how strenuous. (I may recant that in future years depending on where life takes me…)
- Don’t assume that all adoptees are from terrible backgrounds and situations, I personally came from a single college age woman who knew she couldn’t provide for me, so selflessly she gave me to someone who could (and has) provided a better life for me. Not all situations include abuse and foster care; but be sensitive to those with that background. Everyone has a story-ask politely and respect those who do not wish to share.
So these are just a few examples, but honestly most of us don’t mind questions and we will giggle at your ridiculousness if you say something silly. As someone who has grown up knowing and a church that prayed for me for years before I came to be I am very comfortable with the topic of adoption. I enjoy giving advice and informing people because the more information you have-the better equipped you are to minister! So ask away-leave a comment and I’ll be sure to answer (in as non-snarky a manner as possible!)