Author Topic: Adoption etiquette  (Read 11285 times)

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Wonderflonium

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2011, 08:09:36 AM »
I have had so many people say to me "Oh, I could never adopt" and that hurts, especially after having heard people say to me, knowing I was adopted, "Adopted children are the refuse of the world: even their own mothers can't love them"

WHAT?!?!?! Someone actually said that to you?! That's HORRIBLE!!!

And maybe it's just my experience, but I've always thought putting a kid up for adoption is usually an act of love. It's a parent's way of saying, "I can't give you the life I deserve and I want you to be happy and cared for."
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Mopsy428

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2011, 03:52:14 PM »
Quote
Ehell would probably disapprove of the time that I responded to a man who said proudly "I can trace my family back to the 15th century. Not a lot of people can say that" "Yes. I don't know who my parents are".
I don't think he meant anything by it. Regardless of whether one is adopted or not, many people can't trace their family history back that far.

I can trace my family history back to the 1400s, too. If/when I adopt, my children will be able to trace their family history back to the 1400s because they are *my* children and belong to *my* family.

Angel B.

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2011, 04:30:23 PM »
Thanks for putting this up! I don't have an adopted sibling/given a child up for adoption, but I know people can say some pretty insensitive things!

My aunt adopted the most darling little girl from Korea(my most darling little cousin!) and you would not believe the number of people who said "It's great that you adopted a girl from Asia! She looks just like you and your family!" My aunt is Japanese American. My cousins(her brothers) get that quite a bit too. "Your sister looks just like you! It's hard to believe she's not really your sister".

...uh yes she is their sister.
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lollylegs

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2011, 08:35:37 PM »
I have had so many people say to me "Oh, I could never adopt" and that hurts, especially after having heard people say to me, knowing I was adopted, "Adopted children are the refuse of the world: even their own mothers can't love them"

WHAT?!?!?! Someone actually said that to you?! That's HORRIBLE!!!

And maybe it's just my experience, but I've always thought putting a kid up for adoption is usually an act of love. It's a parent's way of saying, "I can't give you the life I deserve and I want you to be happy and cared for."

Yeah, this thread is making me sad now  :(

ETA: Also, think of how much the adoptive parents love their child. I was actually a little jealous of my friend in school because she knew without a doubt that her parents wanted her.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 08:37:26 PM by lollylegs »

kareng57

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2011, 09:34:54 PM »
Quote
Ehell would probably disapprove of the time that I responded to a man who said proudly "I can trace my family back to the 15th century. Not a lot of people can say that" "Yes. I don't know who my parents are".
I don't think he meant anything by it. Regardless of whether one is adopted or not, many people can't trace their family history back that far.

I can trace my family history back to the 1400s, too. If/when I adopt, my children will be able to trace their family history back to the 1400s because they are *my* children and belong to *my* family.


That is the way that I would see it, too.  After all, many genealogy records are not exactly Blood records.  A couple of hundred years ago, many adoptions were casual or secret.  For example, an orphaned newborn would be brought to another nursing mother to nurture, and after a while everyone would forget that the baby had not been born to that mother.  And to this day, there are probably plenty of middleaged+ people whose biological father is someone other than the man they call Dad, although they may not know it...

Notwithstanding that that what some people have said to Mariannedashwood, that is horrible.  However, I do not think that someone asserting that they could never adopt is necessarily despicable.  Some people just cannot imagine raising a child who was not born to them.  I think that attitude is unfortunate of course.

mariannedashwood

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2011, 10:36:04 AM »
Wonderflonium, yes, it was a co-worker/friend who said it to our lunch group one day, right in front of me. She was a piece of work, yes.

Mopsy, Kareng57, you may well be right. I can be oversensitive wrt the subject matter, it's entirely true. Perhaps I should have mentioned - this was not someone I really knew, it was casual conversation with someone I had just met a few hours beforehand. I got kind of an elitist vibe from it, kind of a "pure blood line to nobility" kind of subtext. If the remark had been built around "and I've inherited x type of values" or "learned y kinds of lessons" sort of thing, but it was purely about bloodline. And that makes me twitchy. I wanted to bring it home to him that when he said "Not a lot of people can say that" that he really was inappropriately bragging to folk that might not have anything at all in that regard. We wouldn't brag about a six figure salary to someone. One reason is that you never know if your interlocutor is on foodstamps. Why then would we make a point of bringing up an exceptional genealogy in casual company? I fully admit my reaction was not that of exquisite correctness, or very high-minded. I wanted to bring him back down to earth as to how that sort of self affirmation could be received by someone that didn't have access to those kinds of records. The state that I was born in does not even recognise any kind of legal right for me to know even medical records or heritage. Perhaps indeed he wasn't "behaving badly" but I would still say that it can be a sensitive subject matter for adopted people and a bit of a gaffe to make a big deal out of it.

As for infertile couples saying they could never adopt: It's not so much the fact that they're not up to going that route, it's making a point of saying so to an adopted person. I have found it hurtful. In fact I think I'm going to do a spin-off thread about that, as I think it's worth a discussion of it's own, and something that has come up for me more than once, and surely will again. I'll appreciate hearing other views. Look for it under Children and Family, I should think.

Betelnut

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2011, 10:40:09 AM »
I am so grateful for this thread! A childhood friend was adopted and it was such a touchy topic that I'm a little awkward when it comes to adoption now.

If an (adult) friend tells you they're adopted, is it okay to ask if they've met their birth parents?
I wouldn't unless I was close enough to be privy to such information pretty 'naturally'.

(especially with the existence of things like 'kinship adoptions', who a birth parent is can be painful.  And I've actually seen the look of despair on a kid's face when she had to try to explain "yes, my birth mom is Aunt A")

Right, I didn't even think of that. Thanks.

Oh yes, don't say anything about "buying" a baby or the cost. 

Look, my daughter's adoption did cost quite a bit of money but I was not buying her--I was paying bureaucrats, lawyers, social workers and the adoption agency to help the adoption happen. 

EVERYONE pays to have/get a baby (unless you happen to one of those rare women on "I didn't know I was pregnant") but no one asks a biological parent, "How much did you pay for her?" even though the bio parent (or the insurance company) pays for pre-natal vitamins and supplies and for doctors, nurses, the hospital, doulas, and midwives to help with the birth of his/her child.

 :o Did someone actually say that to you?

On the same topic, if someone is complaining about the cost of adoption, don't say things like, "Well if you can't afford to adopt, are you sure you can afford to be a parent?"

No one has ever said that to me personally, but I know that it has been said to adoptive parents from reading on another forum.  Amazing, isn't it?!
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Angel B.

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2011, 12:18:00 PM »
I am so grateful for this thread! A childhood friend was adopted and it was such a touchy topic that I'm a little awkward when it comes to adoption now.

If an (adult) friend tells you they're adopted, is it okay to ask if they've met their birth parents?
I wouldn't unless I was close enough to be privy to such information pretty 'naturally'.

(especially with the existence of things like 'kinship adoptions', who a birth parent is can be painful.  And I've actually seen the look of despair on a kid's face when she had to try to explain "yes, my birth mom is Aunt A")

Right, I didn't even think of that. Thanks.

Oh yes, don't say anything about "buying" a baby or the cost. 

Look, my daughter's adoption did cost quite a bit of money but I was not buying her--I was paying bureaucrats, lawyers, social workers and the adoption agency to help the adoption happen. 

EVERYONE pays to have/get a baby (unless you happen to one of those rare women on "I didn't know I was pregnant") but no one asks a biological parent, "How much did you pay for her?" even though the bio parent (or the insurance company) pays for pre-natal vitamins and supplies and for doctors, nurses, the hospital, doulas, and midwives to help with the birth of his/her child.

 :o Did someone actually say that to you?

On the same topic, if someone is complaining about the cost of adoption, don't say things like, "Well if you can't afford to adopt, are you sure you can afford to be a parent?"

No one has ever said that to me personally, but I know that it has been said to adoptive parents from reading on another forum.  Amazing, isn't it?!

I have a bit of a funny story about that(but it is mean of people to say). My cousin was 8 or 9 when they adopted his sister, and when he found out about paying, he said "What do you mean we had to pay for her?"
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Lady Snowdon

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2011, 11:51:42 PM »
Back to the birthparent track, if you happen to ask if an adopted person knows their birthparents, and they say no, it's better to not press.  Lots of people seem to think that not only should an adopted person find their birthparents, they should become best friends with them because "they're your parents!".  They're not, but thanks for trying.  I have parents.  My parents are the ones who raised me, gave me a set of values, went to my events, encouraged me, etc etc.  If I don't want to be in touch with one or both birthparents, that's my decision, not yours to make for me.

Also, please keep in mind that not all adoption processes are the same.  Just because one person you know is very open about the whole thing, doesn't mean the next person you meet will be.  If someone shuts you down about it, please don't pry. 

lollylegs

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2011, 02:12:14 AM »
Back to the birthparent track, if you happen to ask if an adopted person knows their birthparents, and they say no, it's better to not press.  Lots of people seem to think that not only should an adopted person find their birthparents, they should become best friends with them because "they're your parents!".  They're not, but thanks for trying.  I have parents.  My parents are the ones who raised me, gave me a set of values, went to my events, encouraged me, etc etc.  If I don't want to be in touch with one or both birthparents, that's my decision, not yours to make for me.

Also, please keep in mind that not all adoption processes are the same.  Just because one person you know is very open about the whole thing, doesn't mean the next person you meet will be.  If someone shuts you down about it, please don't pry.

Yeah, I guess what I'm trying to figure out is how careful should you be re: adoption. Like, I wouldn't ask a woman when she's having kids in case she's got fertility problems, so should the same sort of discretion be applied to adoption? Or is it ok to ask questions so long as you stop if it appears to be a touchy subject?

dawbs

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2011, 04:37:44 PM »
Back to the birthparent track, if you happen to ask if an adopted person knows their birthparents, and they say no, it's better to not press.  Lots of people seem to think that not only should an adopted person find their birthparents, they should become best friends with them because "they're your parents!".  They're not, but thanks for trying.  I have parents.  My parents are the ones who raised me, gave me a set of values, went to my events, encouraged me, etc etc.  If I don't want to be in touch with one or both birthparents, that's my decision, not yours to make for me.

Also, please keep in mind that not all adoption processes are the same.  Just because one person you know is very open about the whole thing, doesn't mean the next person you meet will be.  If someone shuts you down about it, please don't pry.

Yeah, I guess what I'm trying to figure out is how careful should you be re: adoption. Like, I wouldn't ask a woman when she's having kids in case she's got fertility problems, so should the same sort of discretion be applied to adoption? Or is it ok to ask questions so long as you stop if it appears to be a touchy subject?
This depends on the relationship.
If you're BFFs, you know someone well enough to know if you should/shouldn't ask.
If you're casual acquaintances, you shouldn't ask, IMO.

And like a lot of 'touchy' subjects, if you start building a relationship with someone, such information comes out without worrying about asking/not asking.

mariannedashwood

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2011, 08:16:35 AM »
lollylegs, I agree with Dogzard and Dawbs. Some adopted people are super open and will talk very easily about these things with casual acquaintances, but I think it's best to err on the side of caution and not bring this up as getting-to-know-you kinds of subjects. I think that even the really open types might find it refreshing that another person might find other aspects of them more interesting at first than the fact that they are adopted. Save the heavier stuff till you are on more  intimate footing.

amanda_tlg

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2011, 08:51:33 AM »
Can I make an addition?

Stepchildren that have been adopted are no longer 'stepchildren'

I legally adopted DS11 when he was 4, but we had custody long before that. He only has very very vague memories of his biological mother (she is not a part of his life, and hasn't been since we got custody). I get irritated-frustrated-upset to no end when people still constantly refer to him as my step son. Really people?? He is just as infuriating and rotten and sweet and loving and annoying and everything else to me as my two other boys. And these same people tell my parents how great they are to treat him just the same as their "real" grandkids. This super-infuraites my father, because even though grandparents should never have favorites, Ds11 is his favorite and they are incredibly close

Wonderflonium

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2011, 09:00:35 AM »
It fascinates me that people feel the need to make distinctions like this. That's just not how it works in my family, so it's interesting to hear other experiences. I was recently down south for a funeral. My mom's cousin divorced and remarried. His new wife (who I think is just fantastic covered in awesome sauce  ;D) had a son coming into the marriage. This was the first time my aunt and I had met this kid, but it didn't matter; he's family. He's just another cousin in this big, loving, affectionate family, and I treated him the same way I treated his first cousins and his sisters (1 is from mom's cousin's first marriage, the other is a baby from this marriage). Family is family.
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flo

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2011, 10:05:33 AM »
The adoption social worker told us to go home and burn any paperwork that had our DS's birth parent information on it once the adoption was legalized.  She said they were just bad news and we shouldn't have anything that would make finding them easy for him.  I was a little surprised that she was so adamant about it, but I trust her knowledge, training, and instincts!  People who hear that usually think it's awful.  From what I know about the people, it seems about right.

My youngest DD's adoption was very different.  Her birth mother is wonderful, amazing and she was undoubtedly placed with us an act of love.  I still get angry when I think of some old friends of my parents who felt placing our daughter with us was a totally selfish act of her birth mothers.  I don't get that at all.

On the other hand, DD's birth father was nasty and hateful.  I feel no obligation to foster kind and loving thoughts in my DD in case he has a change of heart and wants to meet her one day.  I don't foster anything.  I just never mention him and she is still young enough that it's never occurred to her that he exists.  At this point, she knows she grew in her birth mother's tummy, but she doesn't even realize that her birth mother was her birth mother.  She just doesn't get that yet, but I expect that light to click on soon!

DD is 5 and she has expressed some pretty deep thoughts and feelings on the subject already.   She was being exceptionally naughty one day, and she knew I was frustrated with her.  We were in the car and she was quiet for a few minutes, then she said, "You should have picked another baby."  I didn't get where she was going and asked what she meant.  She said, "You should have picked a better baby that wasn't naughty like me."  I pulled the car over mighty fast and got out to hug her and assure her that I know without any doubt that she was exactly the right baby.  I still get weepy thinking of it.  That is a mighty big emotion for a five year old to deal with!