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  • Writer's pictureEomma Amy

Dear Diary.... If one more person says....

These posts have ended up being a lot deeper than I had originally anticipated, but I'm just going with it. Buckle up!


Today I want to talk about common questions and comments either we have received or have known others to receive. People are interested when they see us. And that's GOOD! But (there's always a but isn't there?). People sometimes blurt things out that make me purse my lips out and tilt my head like a confused puppy. I get it. Appa and I are look very different than our son. And people want to know all sorts of things. So, I'll try to detail out my thoughts on this.

First, our child has a story all his own. Because he is adopted does not equate to him losing any amount of privacy. You wouldn't walk up to a new mother who birthed a child and ask details about her episiotomy, so it's not really appropriate to walk up to a family and ask details about their child's history. And if you do, please know you might be met with an answer like "We don't share that kind of information."

I think the best way to spell this out is to share questions/comments and different ways to state them.

Instead of: Are you his "real" mom?

Say: Your son is so cute!

Let's say you make this statement to someone who just happens to be babysitting a child and they aren't actually the parent. I'm going to say 9 out of 10 times they will sort of chuckle, tell you the child is their friends/nephew/neighbor/whatever. No harm done. When you ask an adoptive parent if he/she is a child's "real" parent, you might be met with a curt response. We are very much O's real parents. We breathe, cry, walk around, laugh, eat, and shop like any REAL person.

Instead of: Is your son from China? My friend's nephew's best friend's cousin adopted a kid from China like 20 years ago.

Say: Your son is so cute!

Please don't assume that an Asian child is from China, first of all. (Personal plug there). Our son is from Korea. But I digress. Please don't assume that a child who does not look like their parent is adopted either. My husband has had people ask if his wife is Asian. He just politely responds with no and see where the conversation goes. I think people who know of an adoption story want to share it, or some of it, to someone who can relate or appreciate it. Like us. And I love that! But just simply saying how cute my kid is can probably get you to the same end result without it being weird.

Instead of: Why didn't you adopt from here?

Say: You son is so cute!

Our adoption journey was just that. A journey. We didn't just wake up one day and say "Hey let's go adopt a kid from Korea. That sounds like fun! Easy peasy!" It doesn't work that way. And when people ask why we didn't adopt from here, I want to ask them the very same question. Lots of assumptions with that question.

Instead of: How much did he cost? or How much did the adoption cost? (yes, that's been asked)

Say: Your son is so cute!

Are you seeing a trend here? If you lead with a comment you would give any other parent, you are positively opening a conversation to, perhaps, get the answers you want to get to ultimately. Most likely, if you approach someone who appears to be a birth parent you don't start the conversation with more intrusive questions. You come in light and make your way through the conversation. It's the same with us!

Chances are, if I am in the checkout line at the grocery store with a wiggly 4 year old, you aren't going to get much information out of me. But in some situations, I'm happy to share about our adoption, with some parameters of course.

Information I won't share with strangers:

-Information on O's birth parents. Those are his parents and they are part of his story to choose to tell or not.

-Adoption costs. If you really want to know, find an agency and ask what the fees are. Asking how much an adoption costs is like asking someone how much money they make in a year at their job. It's off-putting.

This may seem harsh and not considerate of people's intentions. In a world full of people demanding political correctness, the last thing I want to do is deter an opportunity to share about adoption. But I have to look out for my son. I get it, people want to know information. And that's fine. I want to share! Truly, I do. But your good intentions do not trump my son's privacy or needs.

I think all adoptive parents would agree that the best way to approach them about their adoption is to say this: Your child is so cute! I'd love to hear the adoption story you share!

If you leave it more open ended then everyone will feel more comfortable. The parents won't feel the need to "explain" themselves and you don't open yourself up to ask something too personal.

I hope this is helpful! Even if this makes just one person think differently about questions or comments they make about adoption, I'll consider that a win.

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