Fourteen years ago, when we started the adoption journey, we quickly learned the difference between appropriate and inappropriate questions to ask adoptive parents, and how to respond to a misunderstanding world.
I remember the first time someone used improper terminology in front of me. I was standing in our church lobby, holding my newborn daughter in my arms, and a well-intentioned elderly gentlemen asked if we were going to have any children of our own some day. I smiled and politely replied, “We’re not sure what the future holds but we may have children biologically. We’ll just have to see.”
This is a guest post by our good friend Michele Schneidler, founder of The Refresh Conference
in Redmond, Washington. Check out her blog
here, or like the Refresh Facebook Page
It’s a question adoptive parents are asked quite often. Most of the time we can ignore it, dismiss it, or even answer with a measure of grace. But we have to speak up, enlighten, and protect our children when they hear the questions.
“Is She Adopted?”
It’s a simple question that comes from curious minds of folks who mean no harm. I get it. The problem is, I am asked this question several times a week lately. Sometimes several times a day. In front of my daughter. If it was just you who asked, I wouldn’t be so concerned. But it isn’t. So I thought I’d offer up a little perspective from a concerned adoptive mom of 3.
There’s no question you will cross paths with rude, degrading, and just plain disrespectful people on the adoption or foster care journey. It will happen in the grocery store check-out line, the soccer fields, even the classroom. People can be mean. But the last people you’d expect this from are your own family members! However, it happens. Here’s how to respond when it does.
Off-handed remarks. Well-meaning, but clueless, words. Rude statements. Disrespectful glares. Hateful interactions.
If you’re an adoptive or foster parent you know exactly what I’m talking about. Unfortunately you’ve been there a time or two. You’ve stood by helpless in the grocery store line while the clerk asks intrusive questions about your daughter’s past. You’ve seethed inside after a doctor’s appointment where your pediatrician went on and on about the medical history of your son’s “real” mom and dad.