Tuesday, November 12, 2019

5 Facts From My Kids' Adoption Stories I Don't Share With With Strangers--And Why

How many times have we been doing something completely normal--like shopping, waiting in a bathroom line, playing at the park--and a nosy stranger has asked us an inappropriate, intrusive, and very personal adoption question?

Dozens--no, hundreds--of times. 

Many years ago, I'd overshare. And I completely regret doing so. But live and learn, right? Know better, do better.

Here are five facts from my kids' adoption stories that I'm not dishing to strangers:

1: How much their adoptions cost.

Let me be clear. All four of our adoptions were ethical. I have no regrets about the amount of money we spent to adopt our children.

The problem is that often, strangers and acquaintances will ask--brace yourself--how much our children cost.

I do explain that we paid for an adoption process and not a child. Though my opinion is when an adoption is out-of-the-norm in terms of costs, there's the definite likelihood that it's a child-selling situation.

I do share what an adoption journey is and what a range in which that adoption journey may cost.

2: Their medical history.

This should be a given, but parents should not share their child's medical history (adopted or not) with strangers and acquaintances. However, there's the assumption that a child who was adopted was drug or alcohol exposed and has something "wrong" with them as a result.

This is offensive because--one, not every adoptee was exposed to substances and two, even if they were, it's no one's business!  And certainly, this is sacred information that belongs to and should be shared with your child and medical professionals, not a random person at the mall.

I'm all for telling our kids, straight up, their background and their diagnoses. I don't conceal the realities from my children. As a person who has a chronic illness and is a breast cancer survivor, I believe there is power in owning our diagnoses--embracing those and using them as springboards.

3: Why they were placed for adoption.

This is a big one, right? The reasons our children's first/birth/bio parents chose not to parent them (or had their rights involuntarily terminated) are not up for public consumption. 

As the parent, you might feel the reason is no-biggie--but the problem is that the adoption is not about us!

4: Their birth names.

My kids are very proud of their names. As I've shared in THE HOPEFUL MOM'S GUIDE TO ADOPTION, our kids were co-named by us and their birth families. Their birth names and their names do not 100% match in some cases--and I believe, like medical history and the reasons they were placed for adoption, their birth names belong to my children. These names can be shared or not at my children's discretion--not to satisfy the curiosity of a nosy stranger.

5: Their "realness."

You knew I was going to bring this one up, right? Because my #1 pet peeve is when someone asks me if my kids are "real" siblings or asks me questions about their "real" (birth) parents.

I've written about this extensively--but it boils down to this. Birth and adoptive--we're all real. The DNA is real and cannot be discounted. Nature AND nurture matter. Likewise, our family--though none of us share DNA--is absolutely real. 

Realness isn't dependent upon the beliefs of the asker, right?

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