Monday, June 6, 2011

Reader Thoughts Wanted: Fascination

People are fascinated with our family. In the past day alone, I’ve been asked fairly invasive adoption questions such as the age of our children’s birth parents, why we chose open adoption, why our children were placed for adoption, etc.

I’m good at answering these questions in a way, I hope, that educates and informs, but is always respectful of my children and their birth parents’ privacy.

I’m not sure if it’s adoption alone that is fascinating to the every day person. Maybe it’s that we are a transracial family. Maybe it’s the open adoptions we have.

My day is just like every other mom’s day. I get up, take care of my kids, work, do errands, do chores. Go. Go. Go. Maybe catch a minute to post on Facebook or flip through a magazine. Do some more chores. Think about maybe having a hobby one day. I don’t think during these moments, “Gee! I guess I should make dinner for my black, adopted children.” ;) There is nothing magical about our everyday lives.

I wonder when or if the spotlight will ever shift to someone or something else.

If you sign up to adopt, you sign up for the spotlight, especially if your adoption is obvious, such as the case of our family.

However, I just wonder why it’s ok to ask so many adoption questions that are deeply personal when other questions, equally as invasive questions, would generally not be asked. I feel sometimes that being asked, “Why didn’t Miss E’s parents keep her?” is the equivalent of me asking someone how much they weigh.

A friend of mine recently had a baby, and we were discussing the personal and (think about it) incredibly odd questions a pregnant woman faces. Are you dilated? (Um, is the circumference of someone’s cervix really necessary for you to know?) How much weight have you gained? (Do you EVER ask a woman that? Come on!) Or, judgemental questions about breastfeeding, bottle feeding, co-sleeping, drugs or no drugs during the birth, etc. It seems like how kids come about is somehow a free-for-all topic. Shrug.

I know that whenever people ask about adoption, I have a responsibility first and foremost to my girls. But I also feel that we chose this life, and therefore, we chose to open ourselves up to questions, however they are phrased. How we respond is critical, because our girls are listening and learning.

Readers, what adoption-related question most bothers you? How do you respond? What are your thoughts on the public's fascination with your family?


  1. The questions I hate the most are "Don't you have enough kids already?" (We have four bio children)... and "Are you SURE you're ready for that?" Um, yeah.. we ARE!!

  2. I'm not a fan of the "birth mom" questions...especially the "she should have her tubes tied". I find them terribly rude. I smile and say, "yes, but if her tubes were tied, I wouldn't have my precious 3."

  3. For me it's the intimate questions that get asked (like you alluded to) and also the flippant comments we sometimes get regarding our children's firstmothers. I think people are mostly just curious because let's face it, trasracial families are still an odditiy in most places... I don't know what it is about adoption that makes folks think it's a free for all as far as topics and questions are concerned, but answering them or shutting them down if necessary definitely gets easier with practice.

  4. For me, I don't like when people ask if my boys are brothers. Now, biologically they are not, but they are brothers. So I just say yes and move on.

    We had always been told that we could not have biological children but God had other plans. I really struggle with comments with us now having a biological daughter. People say things like "if you adopt, then you will get pregnant" or "I know so many people who adopted and then got pregnant." We did not adopt in order to have bio kids. It doesn't work that way and we are blessed to have the family we have. It especially bothers me when they say those things in front of the boys.


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