We all have horror stories about inappropriate things people have said to us in our lives. However, when your life is outside the “norm” in any way, it seems to be your collection of ridiculous commentary grows exponentially. Families that blend racial background together are often a target of such remarks. But instead of focusing on all the faux pas you can make in addressing members of an interracial family, let’s talk about appropriate things you CAN say.
“Wow! You have a beautiful family.”
Everyone loves to hear this. We all love our families and I think families built by adoption are especially treasured. And so it tickles us to hear that someone thinks our family is beautiful.
“How blessed you all are to be together.”
Building your family can be a long, difficult journey. Having someone recognize what you have struggled for, fought for, and built is always well received.
“We are hoping to adopt, can I ask you a few questions about your family?”
Don’t ask for details about a child’s history, especially in front of the child. Ask yourself, why do I want to know this information? If the answer is simply curiosity, then too bad – you’ll just have to wonder. Don’t ask invasive questions unless it is actually pertinent to your interactions with the family or child. My adoptive mom friend Beth said, “I understand that most people don’t mean to be offensive with their comments/questions and are genuinely curious. Please know that your questions are not the first time I have been asked them and sometimes I tire of having to quench the unsubstantiated interest of random strangers over and over again. I will put my child’s feelings far before I worry about offending yours.”
See the running theme here? A family is a family no matter differences. And all families just want to be seen simply as a family. Not a family with a label. Lin-Manuel Miranda said, “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.” When discussing family with others, the best approach is always one served with love.