Mindless comments…

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As many of you probably know by now, the hardest thing that I’ve had to deal with during the adoption process so far has been comments made by people we have come across, whether it be friends, family or complete strangers.  I know that I will need to grow a thicker skin with a lot of things, because people are always going to feel the need to express their opinions on our family, but I honestly am not sure how some people find the audacity to say the things they do!  In fact, I may start retaliating with the same freedom of sharing my opinions on their decisions.

To give you an example of the comments we’ve faced so far (to be fair, not all of the comments are meant to be hurtful – I’ll start with the ones said with the best intentions and will leave the nasty ones for the end!):

1.  “Wait and see…once you’ve adopted, you’re going to fall pregnant.”
We cannot have a biological child at this stage without medical help.  There are medical issues preventing a pregnancy.  Adoption is in no way a medical treatment, therefore it cannot cure the inability to fall pregnant.  So, no…

2.  “You are such great people, he’s a very lucky boy.”
Wrong.  We are the lucky ones.  He is going to bring a completely new, amazing dimension to our lives which we would never otherwise experience.  He is going to bring us joy, pain, laughter, tears, excitement, frustration, and we are going to experience a level of unconditional love that we have never imagined possible, until now.  Yes.  We are the lucky ones!

3.  “Once he turns 18 he’s going to run off looking for his real parents.”
Firstly, don’t judge our parenting before it’s even begun!  We hope to raise him in a way that respects both our role and his birth parents role.  We intend to always be honest with him about his background and answer every question he has to the best of our ability.  Should he one day decide that he would like to find his birth parents for closure or relationship, then we will support him in every way possible and trust that we have raised him well enough to discern what to do with the information/people he finds.  Secondly…we are going to be his “real” parents.  There is nothing fake about us (last time I checked, anyway).  Real mom and dad…that’s it.  Thirdly, don’t assume that the one “adoption horror story” you heard about, applies to every adoption.  Each one has a unique set of circumstances with completely different personalities and parenting techniques forming the journey.  So, please, while we appreciate that you are probably just looking out for us, please appreciate that we are on our own unique journey, filled with it’s own challenges and we don’t need any more to be piled on top of that.

4.  “Why don’t you just have your own children?”
This question is mostly asked by complete strangers.  It seems that these days a simple “Because we can’t” isn’t enough to satisfy the people you have JUST met!  They start asking intrusive, inappropriate questions to which they feel entitled to the answers.  If you are not in my circle of friends who I trust, you are not going to get more than that out of me, so stop pushing.  Unless you would like me to ask the same level of intrusive questions of your own life?  Then we can talk.  Besides, he will be our own child.

5.  “You are lucky you can’t have kids.” – complete stranger
Ouch.  Unless you have journeyed on the path of infertility, don’t attempt to make comments about it.  It is an intensely emotional experience for any couple and tears at your heart more and more with every step.  There is nothing lucky about it.  Children are a gift.  Pregnancy is a privilege, unfortunately not afforded to everyone.  I would give everything I have to be able to experience it, but I am unable to at this stage.  Whatever your issues are with kids, that’s your business, but don’t you dare tell me I am lucky in this!

6.  “What if they give you a black one, can you send it back?”
I was speechless.  I cannot believe that such racism still exists in today’s world, never mind the insensitivity!  What does one say to a comment like that?  My very stern response was “We are actually hoping for a black child.  Race is simply not an issue in our lives.”

7.  “So you are getting a black child?  Ooh, he will clean your garden so nicely!”
When I spoke about audacity this was the comment that came to mind.  Another speechless moment for me (and those who know me well, know that’s a big deal)!  I honestly did not know how to respond to that.  I think that the look on my face put the person straight in their place, but still.  After chatting to a friend of mine about this comment, she suggested that if it ever comes up again I should respond with “by the time he’s old enough, you’ll be cleaning his garden!”  I have got to keep that one on standby!

I know that most people are simply ignorant to the process and “correct lingo” of adoption and I have a LOT of grace for those who I can see mean well.  For the sake of guiding you, have a look at the preferred terminology surrounding adoption – it will save a lot of heartache and uncomfortable conversations in the future.  For those who are simply ignorant, I’m afraid to say I will not bite my tongue.  Racism is unacceptable and if I need to be the person who teaches you that, I will happily accept the challenge.  For the rest of the comments, I am slowly learning to let things go, along with the hurt.  I hope that you will all bear with and keep loving me as I journey through this challenge.

Thank you to those of you who are constantly in our corner, fighting the mindless comments that come up far too often!  We love you all and we know that our little man is going to have the greatest, strongest support system surrounding him.

Correct/Accurate Adoption Terminology*

Incorrect Accurate
Real Parent/natural parent Birthparent
Real mom/real dad Birthmother/birthfather
Adoptive parent/adoptive mom/adoptive dad Parents/mom/dad
Adopted child/own child My child
Giving away/relinquishing/putting up for adoption/put up Making an adoption plan
Keeping the baby Deciding to parent
Foster child Child in foster care
Adoptable/eligible/available Waiting or child in need of a family
Child of their own (very offensive) Birth child
Foreign adoption International adoption
Is adopted WAS adopted
Adopted OUT Made an adoption plan
Real (blood) relative Birth relative
Raped Sexually assaulted or sexually abused
Beaten/hit Physically abused
Adopted OUT OF the foster care system Adopted through or from the foster care system
Normal child Typically developing child

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2 thoughts on “Mindless comments…

  1. Thank you for an awesome post, I’m sure every adoptive parent has experiences. We have recently adopted a beautiful chocolate baby girl and she had blessed our lives in ways we didn’t think possible. And I can relate completely to how insensitive people can be. Unfortunately a thick skin is require, ignorant people are around each corner. And once you son comes home you will get a lot of attention. The best advice we received was “people stare at babies because they are cute, remember that when people stare”.
    Good luck, although sometimes hard this journey is very rewarding and you will all be lucky to have each other.

    • Thank you Lisa. I have definitely read and heard some interesting stories from other adoptive parents! I think that is part of what keeps us sane, don’t you think? The fact that we know there are others out there with both humorous, as well as hurtful stories to tell. I am definitely working on my thick skin and the whole “water off a duck’s back” reaction, but I think it is still going to be a long journey for me.
      I absolutely LOVE that advice – I really need to remember that!!!
      Thanks for your comment – it is always encouraging hearing from other families 🙂

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