Adoption is something I have always been comfortable with. I have known I was adopted for as long as I can remember. As a young girl, I remember feeling special as I told others that I was adopted when it came up, which honestly wasn’t often. But when it did, responses from peers and friends ranged from disbelief to amazement. It seemed that the response I received from friends was largely amazement and acceptance. Growing up, this was exactly what I needed: acceptance. I never felt different for being adopted and didn’t expect to be treated differently either. My two siblings are adopted as well and have had similar experiences with their friends when they told them they were adopted.
For me, being adopted isn’t a secret. If it comes up I don’t have a problem sharing the fact that I am an adoptee; I will answer questions and share experiences. I feel comfortable sharing my story and answering questions that I know the answers to. I have friends who are anxious to ask questions and get to know a little more about adoption and for me, I am anxious to bring understanding and clear up any misconceptions I can about adoption.
There are adoptees that don’t feel the same way I do. I understand that not every adoptee has the same experience or feelings regarding adoption. Some don’t like to share that knowledge with others. Others don’t even like the fact that they are adopted in the first place. Friends don’t always know how to react when their adoptee friend is frustrated or upset about adoption. This leads to misunderstandings regarding adoption, fear of offending, and oftentimes results in being treated differently.
If you have a friend who is an adoptee and chooses to share that knowledge with you, here are a few tips to think about:
- Treat us the same as everyone else.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions–you won’t know until you ask.
- Remember that asking questions out of curiosity and true interest doesn’t usually generate offense.
- Be respectful of thoughts and feelings–not each adoptee shares the same ideas and feelings on adoption. Just be aware.
- Just be our friend.
- Support us.
- Spend time with us.
- Listen to us.
- Adventure with us.
Adoptees, what would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!