Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dear Sugar: When You're Tired of Being an Adoption Spokesperson

Dear Sugar:

For some of you, adoption is new and exciting.  You might want to talk about adoption to anyone and everyone who asks.  You are proud of your family.   I get it. I've been there.  

But for those who have been on the journey for awhile, sometimes we get to a point where we're tired of being Ms. Adoption Spokesperson.   For one, our family is just that:  our family.  Not our "adoptive" family.  For another, we're just going about our business, busy as every other mom, when someone yet again wants to know THE story.  Finally, the attention (and interrogations) may be upsetting or annoying to our children.   

What is an experienced mom to do when they reach that point of adoption-education burnout?   

1:  Ask your child, the adoptee, what he/she wants.

When a stranger approaches you, AGAIN, with a question or comment or hair-stroking (no, just no), what would your child like to see happen?  Because he or she is at the center of the stranger's questions or comments, so I believe he or she should have the power to decide what happens next. Would the child prefer to speak for himself/herself or prefer you answer?  What type of "answer" should be given, if any?   

2:  Hand the person a card.

If you're a blogger or have worked with an adoption agency you're happy with (and is, of course, ethical), hand over a business card. Say, "It sounds like you're interested in adoption.  You can get more info here."  Then smile and walk away or change the subject.   Usually I can tell if someone is truly interested in adoption (they usually state up-front their adoption connection) vs. just being nosy. Either way, their intent and motivation is irrelevant to what your child wants and needs (point #1). 

3:  Reflect.

Why are you currently annoyed or tired of the questions and comments?  Is there some unresolved feelings?  Are other things going on in your life, and an "interruption" by a stranger is encounter that sets you over the emotional edge?   Whatever it is, find a healthy way to journey through so that your struggles don't negatively impact your child.  

4:  Take a (personal) break.

It's OK not to be ALL about adoption ALL of the time.  If you've been consumed a little too much with your own adoption education, it's OK to take a break or a step back.  Some areas you may be too committed:  online adoption groups, reading about adoption (books, blogs, articles), or attending a support group.   Negative feelings and experiences in these areas can bleed into your personal life, which isn't always helpful or healthy.  

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