What About Their Real Mom?

Questions commonly asked to our family about adoption:

  • What about their real mom? // Where is their real mom?
  • What about their dad? // Do they have the same dad?
  • Are they siblings?
  • Where did they come from?
  • Why did you adopt?
  • Don’t you want to have your “own”? // Can you not have babies?
  • Do they know they are adopted?
  • Isn’t adoption expensive?  // How much did your kids cost?
  • Aren’t you afraid their birth mom will want them back?  // How do you know you can keep them?

In the past, we’ve been very open, yet wise and discerning, about what we shared about the kids including their health and family history and the issues that can arise from their adoption.  I want to protect my children and their birth family.  We are always very open about their adoption and the adoption process – but not their backgrounds.  That’s their information, for them to decide who knows what and when.  So if you have questions about my kids, you can ask them to me – not the kids, and not in front of them… But just because you ask doesn’t mean you will get the answer you want.  You’ve got to realize I probably won’t tell you the answer…. Cause that’s just how we roll.

A lot of the time, it is the wrong people asking the questions more than the questions themselves.  I am more likely to talk about our family as a whole with close friends, and not random strangers.  This doesn’t happen as much since my children are the same race as each other and as Jon and I.  It’s more likely to happen with people who sort of know us, or we are just getting to know, it depends what is asked, how and in what way.  In the nicest possible way, I may let you know that it is none your business.  I often ask why they would like to know about our adoption.  They may be interested in adopting, they may have been adopted, they could just be plain old interested in adoption…

I always try and give people the benefit of the doubt and I always choose to be an advocate for adoption.  But I am very sensitive and discerning with the nosy questions that people ask just cause they are ignorant.  We find that more people are likely to ask my sister and my parents those ignorant questions than directly to us.  Which has made things easier because we are removed and they can be blunt on our behalf (my mom and sister are so good at that) and we don’t have to bother with our more direct emotions getting involved with our quick and simple answers.

I tend to be more lenient when people of another culture ask me about adoption.  I think that I am fairly culturally sensitive, and many cultures don’t have the same language, openness and understanding on adoption as we do in Toronto.  In those cases, I tend to answer the question in a way that gives them the information of the questions they didn’t ask – if that makes any sense at all.

We are also aware that our children are the same race as us.  We are all caucasian.  We know that removes the extra layer of even more inappropriate questions that people are asked if they adopt children of another race.  There is more to come on this topic in another post.

But, as many of you have requested…. Some creative, some straight forward – many of them clearly stating that it’s not really your place to ask.

These are some of our most common answers to the most common questions:

What about their real mom? // Where is their real mom?
What I normally answer:  I am their real mom.
What I want to say:  Who do you think toilet trained them?  I feed them, I take care of them, I clean up their barf,  I’m there everyday, I’m pretty sure that’s what makes me their real mom.  Biology is the last thing that makes me a mom, pushing out a baby does not make someone a mother.
Instead, try asking:  Do you have any communication with the birth family?  Do you have an open adoption?

What about their dad?
What I normally answer:  Jon is my husband, he is their real dad.  He runs errands with them.  He goes on adventures with them.  He bathes them.  He reads them their bed time story.  He’s their dad.
What I want to say:  What do you think a real dad does?  Jon runs errands with them.  He goes on adventures with them.  He bathes them.  He reads them their bed time story.  He’s their dad.
Instead, try asking:  Do you have any communication with the birth family?  Do you have an open adoption?

Are they siblings? // Do they have the same dad?
What I normally answer:  Yes.  Makai’o and Amaris are brother and sister.  Jon is their dad.
What I want to say:  OBVIOUSLY!  Do your children have different fathers?

Where did they come from?
What I normally answer:  They are Canadian.  They were adopted publicly through the Children’s Aid Society.
What I want to say:  Planet Earth.  Did you think they were aliens?
Instead, try asking:  May I ask what kind of adoption you had?

Why did you adopt?
What I normally answer: We always planned to grow our family by adoption.
What I want to say:  Why didn’t you adopt?  Did you even consider adoption?  Did you know there 30,000 kids available for adoption just in the welfare system in Canada – And that doesn’t even include the private sector?
Instead, try asking:  May I ask you a bit more about your adoption story?

Don’t you want to have your “own”? // Can you not have babies?
What I normally answer:  They are my own.  This is how we chose to have a family.
What I want to say:  How was your baby conceived?  Wait a second, that’s where babies come from?!
Instead, try asking:  May I ask you a bit more about your adoption story?

Do they know they are adopted?
What I normally answer:  A child should never remember the day they were told they were adopted, it should always be a continual discussion.
What I want to say:  Well, they do NOW, thanks.
Instead, try asking:  May I ask you how you talk to your children about adoption?

Isn’t adoption expensive?  // How much did your kids cost?
What I normally answer:  When adopting publicly through Children’s Aid Society there is no cost for adopting families.  Yes it can be, there are fees when adopting privately through an agency for local or intercountry adoption.
What I want to say: Not really, but we had a coupon.  Sorry, they aren’t for sale.
Instead, try asking:  May I ask you a bit more about the adoption process?

Aren’t you afraid their birth mom will want them back?  // How do you know you can keep them?
What I normally answer:   Their birth mother loves them very much.  Ontario doesn’t allow adoptions of children who aren’t legally available for adoption.
Instead, try asking:  I am curious, how do adoptions in Ontario work?  May I ask you a bit more about your adoption story?

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “What About Their Real Mom?

  1. I was once helping a new midwife do an assessment at the hospital – I had never met her client before – I was trying to explain that preterm babies aren’t always a big deal (long term) and so I said “my husband and I are waiting to adopt, and we wouldn’t think twice about a baby over 30 weeks gestation.”

    This woman, who knew nothing about me, who didn’t know if I had 10 kids at home or not, who didn’t know anything about my reproductive abilities at all, says:

    “I am so sorry that you have to adopt. That must be really sad for you.”

    Ugh. People are idiots.

  2. Pingback: Adoption Response | The Williams Family Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s