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Responding to Comments:  Tact or Smack?
Posted: 22 January 2010 11:00 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  32

In my recent blog, Who’s the Lucky One?
I discuss some comments which often rub me the wrong way but do not seem to phase my friends who have a traditional biological family.  These comments are not solely directed to adoptive parents and yet they seem to have a particular sting to them as someone who might be protective of an adoptive relationship.  What sorts of comments do you hear that you find are a bit more sensitive because of your family building method?  How do you handle those situations? Do you use humor?  Are you openly offended?  Do you have a pat response that you go to in time of need?

Posted: 23 January 2010 12:21 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  22

We get the “You saved her!” a lot…which?  We get this even from family sometimes, who know we see her birthfamily and love them!  We didn’t save anyone!  I pretty much put it off as soon as someone says it and say how, actually, I’m sure she’d have been fine, it’d have worked out one way or another and her bio family is great too.  She wasn’t SAVED from them.  Or living in the city.

I also get “I forget she’s even adopted!” or “I forget which one is adopted!” from people sometimes.  I know they’re trying to point out how natural our family seems, but we don’t need it and I don’t want it.  I don’t forget who’s adopted.  I don’t need to. She is adopted.  My son is IVF.  So what?  And “forgetting” she’s adopted is mildly offensive….how could you care so little about the rest of her family that you could forget?  And if you care that little for her family, how much do you care about HER? (In a similar vein is the “who’s that again?” comments from close relatives when we speak of a bio family member by name.  I mean come on people, kid is 2 1/2, get it together.)

With the general public I’m pretty open and matter-of-fact, which is also how I am with the IVF/IF questions that come because of our son.  The two go so closely together for us because of the age difference.  I want my kids to just own their situations, and I think that honesty is the best policy.  Not that we spill the beans about every little detail, of course that stands to be a bit much for everyone…but that we say it like it is to anyone who asks.

If you don’t want to know the truth, you shouldn’t ask or start a conversation about it, is my motto! smile

Posted: 24 January 2010 01:18 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  31

I generally go for the open and matter-of -act route too (within reason). My infant son is African American and my husband and I are Caucasian, so when we are all out together it is fairly obvious that we became a family through adoption. Though we do, strangely enough, still get the “did you adopt him” question. It’s as if some people don’t really trust their deductive reasoning and need confirmation. We always politely answer “yes” of course, but part of me kinda wants to say “no” just to make them wonder the alternative reasons behind a white couple with a very young brown baby ( possibly I birthed a baby conceived with a different man and a short time later cut him out of my life so I could be with a new man?....hmmm well its not at all awkward to approach strangers in the grocery store and ask them about that). I think it is especially funny when my husband, son, my son’s other mother and I are all out together. We all dote on him equally and share in the holding/feeding/entertaining, so I am sure various wait-staff have been somewhat confused (though none have ever asked for clarification). 

We have gotten the “you saved him”, which we correct in a manner similar to JessPond. Both my husband and I have gotten “what do you know about his dad/mom” to which we say “well, I know my self fairly well” or “Well he has two mom’s, and his birth-mom is wonderful”.  We want everyone to understand that we are mom and dad, perhaps different than his original parents but no less significant. We also want to be clear that we are not going to dish about our son’s other parents.  Most of the comments that have slightly thrown me have actually come from friends rather than strangers, though I sincerely think it is simply because adoption and adoption relationships are foreign to them and they want to know because they care about us. So I’m honest, use respectful language, and correct assumptions or wording that requires correction.

The comment that actually threw me the most (thus far) was when one of my close colleagues remarked “Wow, you look so good for just having had a baby”. This colleague is a friend, who I trusted with my infertility and my adoption trials and tribulations, and I think he just sort of thought it was a funny thing to say. After-all, everything was good now that I was holding my son. And of course, everyone knew I didn’t really give birth to him. But to me, the comment sort of trivialized the hard work it took for me to accept my infertility and to traverse the adoption process. I think I just kind of stood there, in the main office of our work-place, with a blank look on my face. I might of managed a slow, weak smile (like the kind my son gives to people he’s not sure he really trusts).

Posted: 01 February 2010 06:47 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  40

People often say how lucky our daughter is and I always say, “I’m the lucky one!” I am. And I am with you, I do not want my daughter to feel indebted to me—for making her eat peas maybe, but not for adopting her.

The other day I did indulge in a moment of thinking about what might have been. I wrote about it in “Chances of Fate” ( The thought of my bright, happy daughter in a place or life circumstances that wouldn’t allow her to experience and express the way she does (exuberantly 24/7!). Not easy.

When I read your post, I blushed a little, hoping it doesn’t sound like I think I’m a savior. I am so not. In some ways it might have been a bit of a mutual rescue, but, like you, I think my daughter did more of the saving.

Posted: 02 February 2010 05:43 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  8

I haven’t gotten to the other side because my partner and I have just begun the adoption journey but I since I’ve started on the journey I’ve heard a lot of very odd comments, about how noble it is to try to adopt a child. Well, the fact of the matter is that I can’t think of a greater honor or bigger blessing than to have a birthmom chose me and my partner to raise a child. Thanks for bringing up this issue.

The Egg Drop Post
Two Brides, One Adoption Story

Posted: 04 February 2010 10:03 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

I think it’s great that you say something back when you get this type of reaction.  I got this a lot when we adopted our second child.  A lot of people didn’t know our first daughter was adopted so it came as a surprise when we had been chosen (our baby was already 2 weeks old) and got to pick her up the next week.  I had numerous people say what a great person I was.  I always say I am actually the lucky one - lucky enough to get to raise and love these children.  That always seems to work.

I think it’s educating everyone on what adoption is and how our families are formed.  My biggest irritant is “where is her real mom”  it drives me crazy!  She’s right here!

Posted: 04 February 2010 10:26 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  32

Thank so much for all of your responses to this.  It’s really so helpful to hear that I’m not alone in feeling a bit put off by the way our family is received (even when it’s with the best of intentions).  For me, having both adopted and biological children adds a dimension to the issue that can make it even more difficult.  For instance, recently, our bm emailed and asked if “the new baby is adopted or really yours”....  ouch!  Coming from Anna’s bm, that had a whole other level of emotion attached and in a heartbeat I found myself upset beyond that which I had been when others had said that same sort of thing.  I responded by saying what I’ve said to anyone, “They are both really mine.”  I don’t know if that was the right thing to say or not, but I find myself feeling so defensive of our children even when there is probably a much better and more diplomatic way of going about it.

Posted: 10 March 2010 07:39 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  3


Posted: 10 March 2010 07:41 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  3

This is a great blog.  I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s post.  I often get “wow, you guys are really great people for doing this”.  I try not to be rude or sound selfish, but to be honest, we didn’t adopt to save a child’s life.  If so, we would have gone to an orphanage or became foster parents.  We adopted an infant from an agency that we paid a lot of money to so we could have a family. If not us, there were plenty of people standing in line for this child. Saying it out loud doesn’t make me feel like a great person at all.  But I sure don’t want to look like some hero when really I just wanted to be a mommy.  I just hate hearing that because it makes me feel quite the opposite of what they see.

Posted: 11 March 2010 06:36 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  9

I’ve received a lot of comments now that my second daughter from ET is home.  “They’re cute!  How much did they cost?”  “Is that one yours or are they both adopted?”  “That’s a weird place to get one from, don’t ya think?”  “Did you HAVE to adopt or WANT to adopt?  I always really admire people who WANT to adopt instead of having to.”  I’ve also received a lot of questions about the girls being from Haiti and if they are “real” sisters.  Most of the time I just try to be understanding, as most people do not ask questions with malice.  However, I don’t answer questions that would violate my girls’ privacy (or mine).  Sometimes I just completely ignore the questions.  Most of the time I don’t let them bother me too much, but sometimes it drives me nuts.  We get a lot of attention when we are out in public.  I’d just like to be able to a “normal” family sometimes!

Posted: 11 March 2010 08:46 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  31

Jeez, EthioMama, those are some pretty ugly questions! Sorry you have had to deal with them, though it sounds like you are doing a good job of it!

Posted: 14 March 2010 01:09 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  4

People here in the Pacific NW seem to be very open and accepting of adoption- I have never been asked offensive questions like some I’ve heard from others!  We get asked a lot if she’s adopted, where she is from, how long the process took, but usually people are just curious and not offensive.  I want people who are unfamiliar with adoption to hear about what a wonderful experience it can be, so I answer their questions.  I think most of the time, people are simply uneducated and/or ignorant about adoption, and the only way to open their eyes is to share the facts.  When my daughter is older, if she feels uncomfortable discussing it, we will let her decide who she wants to share with.
As far as “saving” an adopted child, we know that we are able to give our daughter a chance at a better life, which is why her birth mother chose to give her that chance.  Because of her ethnicity, she would have been treated as a lower class citizen in her native country.  However, we ultimately made the decision to adopt because we wanted to be parents, plain and simple!  She saved us as much as we saved her.  It does make me uncomfortable when people say “what a good thing you’ve done.”
I hope that wasn’t too rambling!

Posted: 06 June 2010 12:12 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  6

you are amazing- i agree that i would be a bit offended if someone had said that about me too.
my husband and i would truly be the lucky and blessed one’s when the time comes.  i love your energy and hope that when i fall into a situation like this that i will have the same strength as you smile


Posted: 28 October 2013 11:31 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  7

I think it’s great that you say something back when you get this type of reaction.  I always say I am actually the lucky one - lucky enough to get to raise and love these children.  That always seems to work.