Adoptive parents do not want to be pitied or admired. We want to be seen for what we are; families. Regular old, run of the mill, crazy, complicated, loving, fighting, caring, embarrassing, proud, families. We want our children to feel good about who they are and how they came to their families. This is a challenge when our culture sends out so many subtle and not so subtle messages about adoption.
Below are some comments I have heard that have given me pause:
-A (non-adopted) woman complaining about her family: "I just want to tell people I was adopted!"
-Two woman talking about another woman's pregnancy: "I'm so happy for her! She recently started the adoption process. Thank God she can have her own."
-To me: "My brothers would tease me by telling me I was adopted."
-To me while with Mikias: "I almost had to adopt. Thank God I got pregnant!"
-A mother about her biological multi-racial children; "People always ask me where they are from! They are NOT adopted. They are mine!"
-To me while out with the boys: "You have your own children too, right?"
-To a friend (an adopted person with biological children); "Wow, your kids are so great. That must be a comfort with you being adopted."
-To Mikias: "Your parents bought you."
-To me as growing up: (asked more times that I can count) "Don't you wonder about your real parents?"
-To me about my boys: "Are they real brothers?"
-Again about my boys: "Wow, they sure could pass for brothers."
-To an adopted teenager at a youth group, said by a peer: "You are so annoying, no wonder your parents didn't want you!"
-One white preteen girl to another (who happens to have an Ethiopian brother) : "I would never date a black guy. If you fell in love and got married, everyone would think your kids were adopted."
-To a friend whose mother was adopted: "I don't know why you are so sad about your grandmother's death. She wasn't your real grandmother anyway." (this said by her now ex-husband)
-To an adoptive mom, spoken by a woman who believed that you go to an orphanage and choose your child after looking the 'available children' over: "It must be like picking a dog out at the pound!"
Usually at this point in a blog, I share my thoughts. I hope that these comments (some outlandish and some just born of ignorance) speak better than I can.