I just wanted to include a question/response to a comment that I was posted about a recent little post of mine: What about their Real Mom? Maybe I was a little heavy on my silly answers about awkward or inappropriate questions I get about my children’s adoption. But I thought I’d go a little deeper into my explanation, to answer Emily, but also to be a little bit softer on what I mean and how I answer the people around me.
Emily wrote in response to my What About their Real Mom? post:
“Totally agree Andy, though I have to say, I think there is a lot on the web about this and most of it is really harsh towards the question askers.
I consider myself pretty adoption-literate and have still asked many of the questions that you and Kristin both say are taboo. I think what strikes me in a lot of these posts is the negativity and harshness towards the person interested.
I think a lot of people are more open to adoption and interested today than ever before, and that is AMAZING. But there are still many many questions and adoptive families are the role models and examples people have to turn to. Sometimes their (*our*, I’m including myself here too) questions may come off as a bit nosy or ignorant, but I’m sure they’re from a good place and deserve grace.
It must be frustrating to have to field questions that you consider inappropriate so frequently, but I did find some of your provided answers (and similar answers on other adoption blogs I’ve read) slightly harsh. The world is rightly and increasingly learning more about interracial adoption and open adoption and foster care adoption and every other type of adoption (praise God!), but we’re not all experts ”
And here’s my response (which I have lengthened from my original response):
“Thanks for you input Em. I’ve been thinking how I can respond to this… Cause I agree and disagree all at the same time. First of all, as a follower of Christ and as an advocate for adoption I always try and to graciously understand where the person is coming from and why they are asking the question. I always find that out first to see how I can appropriately and kindly answer the question. Most people are just curious. 25% of the time I can answer the question truthfully. And the remaining 75% I (very kindly say) that “the answer involves information that we keep private as a family, and that information belongs to our children”. Most people are satisfied with that, and many apologize for being intrusive. I would say that of those 75% about 90% or more of those people understand that…. I am usually ready to answer with my “what I usually say” answers, but being as human and flawed as I am, I still get angry sometimes with that lingering 10% of people’s insensitivity and ignorance to understand why I won’t answer their question. I would say most of the time, people ask those questions to Jon, my sister or my parents, and don’t ask them to me. It when we get those questions that I get frustrated.
As we have recently moved to a new city, making new friends, going to a new church, etc. more of these questions have come up in the last few months as we are new to the people around us. That’s why I am writing a lot about adoption these days. Also, because we are having more behavioural issues with the little man, that I am I being open and honest about that stem from a lack of attachment he was able to develop at an early age in his foster home. I don’t want to have to hide about the struggles that we are having. I’m throwing it out there, cause someone may have a tip that can help us!
Also, my children are the same ethnicity as I am, we don’t have the obviousness of adoption as many families who adopt interracially. But from the age of about 14 I always pictured myself parenting children of another race, and though that’s not how it all turned out, I am have a lot of friends in my adoption circle where this is their story. And I feel as though it is important to me, because I am an adoptive parents, and those are my “peops”.
So you all know, I never actually say my “what I think” or what you may read as harsh – I was going more for more witty and a little bit of ridiculous… So hopefully I didn’t offend, but more educate, that others need to be slightly more considerate when they are asking questions about other family’s adoption – and let the family lead the way on what information they will and won’t share. And if you are asking a question to an adoptive family, let the person know why you are asking. If someone is interested in adoption, then I am happy to make a coffee date to share our experiences and our overall story, but I am still firm in what I won’t share about my kids. I am very protective of my children and their story.”
Em, hopefully that gives a little bit more of an explanation of why I said what I did!
Thanks for your comment and input!