Isn’t it funny how careful some relatives and friends are when speaking with you about adoption, but how ridiculously blunt and sometimes rude strangers can be? Generally, it’s not with the intent of being rotten, but rather, out of ignorance that rude questions and comments come to us. With that in mind, some of us have an easier time of responding than others. I recently came across Sharia’s blog, The Chaos and the Clutter, wherein she addresses some of the rude questions people ask. I love Sharia’s honesty and especially her humor.
It serves us well to be prepared for ignorant stares, comments and questions, rather than being blindsided by them. This is especially important when those words tumble out of ignorant mouths when our children are within earshot. Yes, we want to educate others. And yes, we are passionate about adoption and want to defend what is right. But first and foremost, we have a responsibility to our children. They don’t need to be privy to ignorant viewpoints, yet they may be exposed. So when that happens, if we have answers in our back pockets that will not only squelch the ignorance, but also build our children’s esteem and confidence in our love for them, we will be successful, indeed!
Consider talking with other adoptive parents who have already fielded a plethora of questions and comments. What do people actually ask? How have they responded that they felt was effective? What do they wish they’d have said? It’s hard to anticipate comments and questions that we would never, ourselves, blurt out. So asking others is a great start. Maybe keep a list of those things people say to you once you’ve brought your child home. If one person says it, others may as well. Consider how you answered and how you wish you had answered. This will help you be better prepared next time, even if it is a different set of words.
In the end, keeping in mind that your child is the one who will be most affected by your reaction will help keep you grounded and calm. Most likely, even if speaking in defense of the child, you will come off poised and direct, reaffirming your love for your child and your gratitude that you belong together!