5 Things You Don’t Say to Adoptive Families
As we started our beautiful journey with adoption, I knew from friends that there might be some awkward questions and comments from people. Looking back, I'd love to give you a few tips that might help in your conversations.
So many of the comments and questions came from a sincere desire to learn more, but left me feeling a little awkward or uncomfortable.
Do I love to talk about adoption? Yes! Absolutely. You really can ask me anything, but if it's ok with you - I'd like to give you a few ideas on how to ask those questions that you'd like to ask without leaving me with my mouth hanging open catching flies.
1. Oh, he looks like he is related to you!
Um, he is related to me. We have the same last name because of a few court dates and a very generous birth mother.
How about this instead: "His curls are just like his brother's!" Please realized that he is three. He can understand what you are saying. When you say something, think about how you would say it if my biological children were in earshot.
2. So, where is his birth family? Is he from around here?
With our situation, it is quite possible that I am standing next to his birth family because we have an open adoption.
How about this instead: "I'd love to hear about his background, if that is something you share." This gives me the chance to assess the situation, who is listening, and decide if I can share right then or maybe later over coffee.
3. He is so lucky.
No. We are the lucky ones. End of story. My brave little one went through major upheaval at two years old so that he could be with us. We are blessed to have him in our family.
How about this instead: "Your family is beautiful and blessed."
4. I'm so glad you adopted from America. There are a lot of kids that are here that need homes.
Wow. Yes. There are a lot of kids everywhere that need homes. Any adoption, from any country, should be celebrated! There are many, many children that need loving homes.
5. What happened to his real family?
We are his real family.
See number two.
There were a few things that helped us and made us feel so very loved.
One group of friends threw us a baby shower. No, he wasn't a baby, but it had been a very long time since a toddler was in our home. The gifted us with books and toys that were so perfect for him.
Another group of friends rotated bringing us dinner. No, we were not bringing a baby home from the hospital, but a new little two year old was in our home. We were all adjusting to new routines and new faces and each other. This gift was so kind and really made us feel celebrated as our family grew and the chaos settled.
Are you an adoptee or adoptive family? Please feel free to chime in if I've missed anything!