1. So, which ones are your real parents?
Ah, yes. Because I completely forgot that I had to choose which set of parents I wanted to be “real” and which I wanted to be fake. My bad.
2. Why didn’t your birth parents want you?
Unsure really. Less of an expense, I think.
3. Why don’t you look like your parents?
I am aware that I may not resemble my parents, but thank you for pointing it out, sweetie.
4. What was your real name?
Again, with this “real” word. While it may be genuine curiosity asking, some adoptees like to keep some aspects of their lives private. If you must know, preface the question by determining any boundaries with the person so you know if it will be appropriate to ask.
5. What do you call your parents now?
…Mom and Dad?
6. You’re adopted? Oh, I’m sorry.
I don’t need your sympathy. There is nothing wrong with being adopted, nor do I feel any remorse for myself because I am. You can be sorry, but I won’t be.
All humor and sarcasm aside, there is a certain caution that people should take when discussing adoption with an adoptee. Although there are more television programs and news stories on now that celebrate adoption and even romanticize it, that is not a reality for everyone. There are some adoptees that are not as comfortable as others disclosing information that they feel should remain private. The most important thing to remember if you really want to know any detail about an adoptee’s story is to discuss boundaries.
Most of the time, an adoptee will be more than happy to answer any questions a person may have, if they are genuinely curious. However, one should always ask if the adoptee is comfortable discussing that part of his/her life and if there are any specific details he/she may want to leave out. If that is the case, one should not badger to learn more information. While adoption is an incredible blessing for all involved, it is not always seen that way. There may be parts of an individual’s story that, when put together, do not form the most complete novel. So, just be considerate of the writing process.
With that poorly placed metaphor out of the way, here is some advice for the adoptees that have to handle the questions mentioned above. If there is something you do not wish to discuss, voice that concern. Even if someone begs, you are entitled to every ounce of personal privacy that everyone else is. You do not have to disclose anything you do not want to. If something makes you uncomfortable, say it. If the person asking cannot understand that, they aren’t worthy of knowing your story. Trust. One other thing. If there is something you do not feel is appropriate to be asked, be polite about it. Two wrongs do not make a right, so just politely decline any information you wish to remain private. Most importantly, do not assume someone is asking to be intrusive. There are so many people that aren’t aware of how involved adoption actually is, both in the actual process itself and the emotion behind it. You will most likely be able to tell someone’s true intentions. If anything, trust your gut. You got this.
Oh, and for those who are really curious…just be nice about it. It’s easy; I promise.