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Friday, December 7, 2007

Questions you should never ask to adoptive families...

This blog post was shared with my AWAA yahoo group. As I read it, I laughed, yet kept nodding my head, as many of these (rude/nosy/insensitive, etc) questions have been asked of us. This is not meant to offend, just to educate.

Taken from

Talking Adoption: A Primer for Non-Adoptive Families
As a local adoptive mother of three, I’d love to take this time to get on an adoption soapbox for just a minute or two. And you, the people of Lexington, need to listen. I know this is true because I see you in the mall. I talk to you in line at the grocery store. And I sometimes try to run and hide from you on the soccer sidelines. You need help, my fellow neighbors. Help learning how to talk to adoptive families about adoption. And I am here to be your guide.

For starters, let me get one thing out of the way right now. There’s a difference between asking questions about my family because you (or someone you love) are starting an adoption or are seriously considering it or simply because you are just nosy and curious. It takes me about three seconds to figure out, just by sniffing, which category you fall in. If you are in the former, by all means—ask away. But if you fall in the latter, I must shake my head and wonder why your parents failed to teach you any manners. Why you feel justified in asking me personal questions about my family when I wouldn’t dream of doing the same about yours. And why you are rude enough to do this in front of my children.

Here’s a list of questions you have asked me while you met me in some public place here in town:
Are they adopted?
What are they?
Where’d you get ‘em?
Where are they from?
Are they related?
Do they know they’re adopted?
Are the real?
How much were they?
Do you know anything about their real mom?
Why did she give them away?
And…some of my favorite unsolicited comments from you over the past few years:
Too bad you couldn’t have any of your own!
That’s so sad that their mother didn’t love them.
They must look like their Daddy!
I could never love someone who wasn’t my blood.

And…comments made directly to my children:
You are very lucky to be living here with these good people!

Although it’s humorous to read back through these now and roll my eyes with a sigh, when I am waiting in line in a store with my three little ones, who are busy bouncing, singing, jumping, and testing out the candy bars, it’s anything but.

If you are curious about adoption because you think you may be interested in it, then by all means, ask advice from those families you see at the mall. But if you’re simply trying to make “small talk,” then take a minute to breathe deeply and ponder whether your question is any of your business.

I’m happy to talk about adoption in general with anyone at any time. But I would never give out personal information about my child’s own adoption story to another person, least of all a stranger. If the question feels like it’s none of your business, then it probably isn’t.
If, after reading this and sitting in the naughty chair for two minutes, you still cannot control your nosy instincts and must proceed with the Twenty Questions while we are waiting in line to pay for our milk, then try to be a bit more choosy with your words.

Instead of: Real parents, Try Saying: First parents/Biological parents/birthparents
Instead of: He’s an adopted kid. Try Saying: He joined their family through adoption.
Instead of: Are they real sisters? Try Saying: Are they biologically related?
Instead of: Did they cost a lot? Try Saying: Is adoption expensive?

With the number of adoptive families in the US continuing to grow rapidly, the day will come when I can run an errand with my children and no one will seem to notice or care. I can see that golden sunrise in the near future.

But in the mean time, try to control yourselves when we meet on the streets. Use your good manners, watch what you say, and please. Stop. Touching. My. Children.

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