Tuesday, August 20, 2013

8 Things Never to say to Adoptive Families

There's an interesting, two-page article linked below.  We've been asked all of these questions many, many times over, and many more that are far more invasive (like the fellow Walmart shopper whose third or fourth question was whether my children's "real" parents died of AIDS...and yes, the children were standing right there).

One question that I never understand is the almost-obsessive need that people (including perfect strangers) have to ask whether Seth and Lizzie are siblings.  Matthew, in particular, is sensitive to how I answer that question.  So I usually answer something like "yes, they are all three siblings."  But that answer has never once been enough to satisfy people's curiosity - there's always the follow-up winner where the asker points at my two younger children and says "yes, but I mean those two?"  Sigh.  Really?

I get that we are a conspicuous family, but really, I don't feel a need to share our personal journey with a perfect stranger...and nor would I ask you about the means by which you produced your children or about why one of them looks different than the other, and so on and so on.  Just tell me I have beautiful children (because I do, so it's easy to say) and that I must have my hands full (because, again, I do!)!

Anyway, before I climb onto my soapbox, here's an article that says it all in a gentler way that I possibly could here!

Eight Things Never to say to Adoptive Families


  1. This really got me thinking. I've really been quite lucky about comments about and in front of my children. Living in a little village, teaching in a smaller and often less "accepting" village, and being known at least by sihght and profession ("oh, that's the single gal who teaches in...") if not by name, I was worried during the process how things would play out and whether I'd decide to move to a city fairly fast. I knew my own little circle would be fine, it was the broader community(ies) that were of concern. Well, I can honestly say I have been blessed by the responses and acceptance. The communities have been very welcoming and supportive to both boys as they arrived and comtinued to settle and grow. In fact, the only stinging comment - and boy did it sting - came from a child who was just 6 months younger than C (I believe he was about to turn 6 at the time). The comment was abviously repeating exactly what his parents had said in his presence, but it was sooo inappropriate. I was so shocked and hurt that all I could do was turn and leave the room and burst into tears. The comment was about a piece of C's story that he chooses to tell and that we focus on in a positive way despite acknowledging the hurt that it also involves. I just couldn't believe that I was hearing theese hurtfful words from a child's mouth given that it was about something that, despite obviously hearing a discussion, could not possibly begin to understand.
    Anyway, despite that long ramble, I/we really have been blessed by the comments we have not heard.

  2. That must have really hurt...hearing it from a child and knowing that it came from someone else that he heard speaking of it. Whew.

    It's pretty amazing how few comments you've received...I wish it were always like that. The biggest challenge I have isn't dealing with the actual questions and comments...it's knowing that my kids are always there and hearing what people are saying and asking...it can be so hurtful and raise so many questions that they shouldn't be having to deal with yet.

    Thanks for sharing Ellen...and I'm so glad at the level of support you and your boys have experienced...hats off to your village!