Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Stranger Conversation...from last week.

Virtual stranger (I'd met her once before):  "Your kids sure are cute.  I could take the two youngest home with me...any husband and I are interested in adopting, so I might want to take you for coffee sometime and pick your brain."

Me (perhaps mildly annoyed that she'd ignored Matthew's presence): "To be honest, I'm not sure I have time for coffee these days...I'm having a hard enough time building the friendships I have already.  But if you have some specific questions about the adoption process, I'd be happy to exchange emails or have a phone conversation...or we'll probably run into each other here again."

Virtual stranger:  "Well, for sure I'm interested to know how much they cost." (exact quote) 

Me: (my blood pressure was surely going up a bit, but I was willing to engage her real issue because she seemed genuinely interested in adopting)  Well, they didn't cost anything, but there were certainly some significant administrative costs associated with the two agencies we worked with, and the legal costs and travel costs. It's a pretty expensive process, depending on where you adopt from.

Virtual stranger (gesturing towards where the three kids were playing): "Are they siblings?"

Me: "Yup, they're all siblings."

Virtual stranger:  "Right, but I meant the two African kids?"

Me: "I actually thought you meant Seth and Lizzie, who're actually Canadian citizens now, but we're really just more comfortable saying to people that they're all siblings.  There are some sensitivities about this issue for our family." (note: I was trying to soften my comment by adding the last sentence, but wondered later if I needed to do that at all)

Virtual stranger:  "Yes, but maybe you can just tell me as a aside whether they're siblings or not. I don't have to say anything to the kids."

Me:  "Actually, the kids are already pretty clear on where things are at.  I'm just trying to avoid answering that question altogether because of a decision we've made as a family."

Virtual stranger:  "Oh.  But I don't understand.  I thought you were ok answering my adoption questions."

Me:  "Sorry, I should have been more clear about that.  I'm very happy to talk about adoption process, such as which agency we used, how long things took, some of the specific costs, what to expect when bringing the kids home, attachment issues, etc.  I can answer a ton of questions like that.  But outside of immediate family, we're actually not very comfortable taking the lead in answering questions about our kids.  We feel that this is their story to share and we want to follow their lead when they're able to answer questions for themselves."

After a couple of brief additional comments, the conversation was over.  I haven't seen her since.


  1. you rock.

  2. Way to stand up for your family. I lost it the other night- I was just so tired of always protecting and educating and fighting for my children wherever we go somewhere. I love them and will continue to stand up for them but it can really make one weary and angry to constantly have questions and assumptions. I'm so thankful to not be floating through this alone- I need you and the rest of my adoption support village!

  3. Hurrah! (Sounds like she has just a wee bit of research to do before she seriously entertains the thought of adoption!)

  4. You have had a ROUGH WEEK!

    And um, yeah, I REALLY hope that lady does some research before she decides to adopt. LIke, really.

  5. Wow- that conversation would have made my blood boil. Sounds like you handled it with a lot of patience- far more than I think I would have. :) How horrible to have people comment on 2 of your children while ignoring the third. Good for you for stressing that all of the kids are siblings. You hopefully helped that lady learn a bit of sensitivity (although if she was that pushy in the first place, somehow I doubt it!)