Author Topic: Adoption etiquette  (Read 11315 times)

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Wonderflonium

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2011, 10:09:29 AM »
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!

Oh my goodness, that brought tears to my eyes! Poor kiddo; I can't imagine what it's like to struggle with that when you are still too little to really work out the details. I'm glad you pulled the car over to hug her; it sounds like not only did you get the right baby, but she got the right mama.
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Lady Snowdon

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2011, 04:21:01 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?

I would personally put it about on the level of not asking women when they plan to have kids.  You just leave it up to the other person to bring it up if they feel comfortable doing so.  Like, I might refer to my dad by his first name during conversation.  You could then certainly ask "Who is *Name*?" and I would probably say "Oh, sorry.  That's my dad.  He married my mom when I was about 10".  If I felt like we had a good relationship, I might then add "and he adopted me later that year".  By bringing it up, I would be opening myself to questions. 

lollylegs

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2011, 07:10:17 PM »
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.

Yep. I have two younger brothers and it really annoys me when friends of mine who should know better go to the effort to refer to the youngest as my half brother. Okay, he technically is, but he's no less my brother than my full brother.

jazzbeat

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2011, 10:11:03 AM »
My sister is married to a man of another race.  It's interesting that people often automatically think that her child is adopted.  Although the baby doesn't resemble my sister, she gave birth to him!

Portugal79

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2011, 06:52:22 AM »
I've sadly witnissed a terrible situation regarding adoption, my friend Stacey adopted her daughter when she was one, and her and her husband are terrific parents to this adorable sunny little girl called Cara. at a wedding of her cousin (who i know so i was invited too) i overheard Stacey's uncle lining up the nieces and nephews and turned to Cara and said "Let me take one with the REAL NEICES, well get one with you after". People in the vinicity wqho heard this were horrified, it was told to the bride and groom and the uncle left shortly after. Poor Cara didnlt understand what was going on and her parents dicided to claim uncle has, had too much sun then tell her the truth at her age.

I means how nasty can a person be to a little girl

flo

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2011, 07:43:48 AM »
I would love some kind words to say to people who say "Oh, they look just like you."  There are strangers that say that and you can just let it go.  It's the people you socialize with, who know about the adoption, who say it and then feel bad.  It has never, ever offended me when someone says it, but I can tell they feel embarrassed when they think about it.  What can you say to them to put them at ease? 

nrb80

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2011, 08:03:41 AM »
A lot of "looking just like" the parent is the unconcious adoption and imitation of mannerisms and posture, as well as expressions and behavior, that kids do of their parents.  I've noticed that my adopted friends can look exactly like their parent (my very good female adopted friend is *exactly* like her mom, much to her irritaion, despite a clear lack of genetic material).  Often people aren't perceptive enough to pick up why people look so similar. 

flo

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2011, 08:27:46 AM »
I get that.  My youngest (adopted) DD reminds me so much of her older sister who is my bio daughter.  It's really pretty amazing.  Still, you can see and feel that people get embarrassed when they mention how much DD or DS look like us and then remember they are adopted.  I want a phrase to reassure them that hearing that doesn't offend us, and put them at ease.

nrb80

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2011, 10:43:32 AM »
You could do what my friend's mom did, and tell people "I know, and it drives her crazy.... I can't wait until she has a daughter so she knows why I have so many gray hairs!"  Then again, the friend's mom is very nice, but very overly dramatic - though I will say we were pretty rotten during the teenage years :-) 

A more diplomatic way of saying something is "I know, it's okay, families can look alike regardless of genetics" - which is what a friend with an adopted child of another race says.  It's actually uncanny how similar mom and daughter are there though!

amanda_tlg

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2011, 11:06:06 AM »
A lot of "looking just like" the parent is the unconcious adoption and imitation of mannerisms and posture, as well as expressions and behavior, that kids do of their parents.  I've noticed that my adopted friends can look exactly like their parent (my very good female adopted friend is *exactly* like her mom, much to her irritaion, despite a clear lack of genetic material).  Often people aren't perceptive enough to pick up why people look so similar.

People tell us all the time how much DS11 looks and acts like me. (For BG, DS11 was my stepson and I adopted him when he was about 4) He does, truly. Even though he is Dh's bio son, he looks like my side of the family, and I agree with nrb80 that he has adopted a lot of my postures, speech patterns, and so on.

I answer those statements with various "know your audience" replies. Mostly if it is someone I'll likely never see again I never even mention our lack of genetic ties.


Seraphia

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2011, 11:18:01 AM »
You could do what my friend's mom did, and tell people "I know, and it drives her crazy.... I can't wait until she has a daughter so she knows why I have so many gray hairs!"  Then again, the friend's mom is very nice, but very overly dramatic - though I will say we were pretty rotten during the teenage years :-) 

A more diplomatic way of saying something is "I know, it's okay, families can look alike regardless of genetics" - which is what a friend with an adopted child of another race says.  It's actually uncanny how similar mom and daughter are there though!

Absolutely. I have friends who adopted four children of another race. All four of them are so like Mom and Dad, even though the skin and hair don't match. The littlest sings like her Daddy, and has her Momma's love of people. The biggest is serious and thoughtful, just like Dad, but laughs just like Mom. It's uncanny and wonderful and I love it. All six of them are absolutely a family, no matter what the DNA says.

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violinp

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #41 on: December 09, 2011, 11:29:25 AM »
Man, after reading all of this, my heart is breaking for the people who had to deal with rude and insensitive comments about what should be one of the happiest moments in family life.
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Setsu

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #42 on: December 13, 2011, 05:52:37 PM »
When I was 5 my stepdad legally adopted me, as my mom was pregnant with my baby brother and I was beginning to worry being the only Frank left in a family of Browns..
Fast forward to when I presented my adoption papers to the DMV clerk to get my first state ID at 16, and the clerk had the nerve to look at my mother and go "So, who's her REAL mom? Is she some druggie teen or something?"
My mom immediately replied rather coldly "I AM her real mother, thank you." and the clerk had the decency to continue the transaction in silence. I was mortified, though.

An ex once asked what it was like having "only a half-brother" and I was confused for a moment, because I tend to forget that he is my half-brother. My stepfather has raised me since I was a baby, and I've always been a part of his family, even before my name changed. My mother would even get confused and put his side of the family's medical problems on my medical history charts for doctors. Once she had to ask for another form as she'd had so many things written and then scribbled out as she remembered. When I pointed out to this ex that I didn't know, as A: I'd never had a "Real brother" by his definition, and B: my baby brother IS my real brother, by my definition.

White Lotus

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Re: Adoption etiquette
« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2012, 10:35:15 PM »
We have Le$bian friends with children.  They always get "which one of you is her/his REAL mother?" By this the questioners mean "biological mother," and this is horrible, rude, and shows a prurient interest in the sex lives of others.  I mean, what concern of the asker's could it possibly BE?  And what on earth possible difference could it make? 

One friend has come perilously close to saying, "So, you want to know which of us had sex with a man?" 

Complete silence, with "I beg your pardon?", and lifted brows if they persist, and apparently they do, is a more polite response, but the utter nerve of people who would ask such a question -- well, it really peeves me, too.

Their usual answer is "both of us," which lets the prurient interest and generally nasty nosiness become clear as the questioners continue to insert more and more rude, smelly feet into their mouths.