Adoption And Bullying

Every kid goes through an experience with bullying, but with adopted kids we often get to witness a special layer of unkindness. For my girl, fourth grade was the year she heard “Nobody wanted you!” and “That’s not your REAL mom” and “Whatever, you’re adopted.” Interestingly, fourth grade was also the year my husband found me Googling “black magic spells other people’s children Kansas City.” After forbidding me from going to a local Santero’s shop I ended up finding less, um, proactive ways of handling adoption bullies. Here are some tools I discovered:

W = WALK AWAY, or ignore what you hear.

I = IT’S PRIVATE, I do not have to share information with anyone, and I can say that appropriately, even to adults.

S = SHARE SOMETHING about my adoption story, but I can think carefully about what I want to let others know.

E = EDUCATE OTHERS about adoption in general. For example, I can talk about how adoption works today, successful adoptees, inaccurate information in the media, etc. I know a lot about it.

This really helps sort of “weed out” the responses our kids can use—it reminds them that they are in control over their information and that they have the choice to educate, shut it down, or walk away. I feel like this is amazing for even grown-ups to use (I’m looking at you, uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinner table conversations.)