Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Things NOT to say to adoptive parents...

I thought it might be helpful to talk about some things that have bene said to us in the last 5 months, since bringing Charlotte home, that we felt were not handled in the best way.  These are things NOT to say to adoptive parents.  And the reason I bring them up, is to educate everyone on what IS appropriate to say and to ask.

1) "Wow, she doesn't look like you!  Does she look like her daddy?" 
Now clearly Charlotte IS adopted and this question totally caught me off guard.  I think the Walmart checker that asked this knew that Charlotte was adopted but, this was her way of verifying that.  Please, we would rather you just come on out and ask "Is your daughter adopted?"  Talking about adoption is something we talk about all of the time in front of her.

2) "Oh, she is so cute.....I want one of those!" Please do not refer to my child as an object to "get" you could "get" her at the store. There is SO MUCH to the adoption process and lots of is not a simple thing.

3) "Where'd you get 'er? An older man walked up to us in a restaurant and this was the first thing out of his mouth.  Now I understand wanting to know where she is adopted from but, this is NOT the way to ask it. I wanted to tell him the stork brought her, but I refrained. :) He went on to say "My cousin got one from Vietnam."  UGH!  I understand his intentions were probably nice so, I took it the way it was intended but, his wording was not the best.

4) "Wow, I would never take on anything like what you have in store with her teeth & cleft." REALLY?  That's ok...but to us, her dental work & cleft issues have been really minor and most of the time, we forget all about them.  She is not definded by them...she is just a precious child to love!

5) "She is just so blessed to be in America & have you as a family.." Yes she is...but, lets not forget this came with a price as well.  She left everyone and every thing she knew.  She left China not understanding English at all and that makes for a hard transition for any child. And, trust me, WE ARE THE BLESSED ONES....we get to love her. So try to understand that we believe we are both equally to have her and her to have us.

I really don't think most of these people were meaning to be rude, they were probably just curious.  I don't want to discourage anyone from approaching adoptive families.  I simply want to educate on the best way to do that.  The nicest way I have been asked about Charlotte was when I was in a local restaurant.  An older lady approached me and said "Tell me about your beautiful daughter."  This opened the door in a positive way to tell her what I felt appropriate and then she could ask any questions. 

I love talking to people about Charlotte and about how we have been blessed through adoption so, I do not mind questions at all.  And if you know someone that is thinking about adoption, or has questions, please tell them to contact me.

How could we not be blessed, seeing this sweet smile every day?!?!


Kim said...

I think you're right. People's intentions are good, just need to be educated.

Last weekend, our server at a pizza restaurant approached me and asked, "Did you get him?"

Hmmm...."Nope, clearly he came right out of my uterus"...not my response but I thought about it!!

After I explained we adopted him from China we heard the, "yeah, my friend got one of those". Ok.

Then, viewing my other 3 children at the table (who were all adopted domestically in the US) she states and points, "So these are your bio kids?"....hmmmm.

I proudly stated, "No, all of children came to us through adoption".

Then my stepdad jumps in and says, "Yeah, this guy (pointing to my 10 year old son and his best buddy) is from Transylvania!" LOL! My son thought it was hilarious.

I could spend a lifetime educating...and I try. I wasn't offended. I think it's all in how we, as adoptive parents, handle the situation...especially in front of our children.

Thanks for posting! Charlotte is a DOLL!!!!


Leggio said...

I was just about to post something on this. LOL The questions have been crazy and they do catch you off guard, and I haven't quite figured out what to say. :) Oh and we get the why go international when there are plenty of children here in the U.S. AHHHHHHHH The nerve of people sometimes. Hope you are doing well.

Kim said...

I love the question; does your daughter speak Chinese? She's two, she speaks toddler and still after 9 months home (we live in a very small community) people ask if she speaks any English? No we decided not to speak to her so she hasn't picked up much English!lol People are funny.

beachiesews said...

Thank you for writing this post. Sometimes we say things, they come out wrong and it just goes downhill from there. "Tell me about your daughter" is such a wonderful way to express curiosity and share your delight! As the possible grandmother of adopted children I will remember this wonderful advice! Best wishes to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Kim's comment reminded me of one of our recent commenters. Our baby was 11 months old at adoption and this guy asks," So when she starts talking will it be Chinese or English?" I said , "You are joking right?" But he wasn't! OOh boy!

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