In doing home studies and post placements over the years for adoptive families, there is one topic that comes up frequently. It does not matter if you adopted internationally or domestically or even did a private adoption, more than likely you will hear the question “Is your child adopted?” You might hear it from a friend, a parent or teacher at your child’s school, or maybe even from a complete stranger in the grocery store. The best thing that you can do for you and your child is to be prepared for when this happens. Here are a few tips on how to handle this situation if and when it occurs.
First you need to have a response prepared so that you don’t say something you might not want to. For example, a simple “yes” will work but then you might be asking for more questions. You could say “she is my daughter and it does not matter how she became that way” or “he is adopted and we are so glad he is our son.” You can have responses prepared for if your child is in ear shot or not.
In reading this I bet you are thinking that it really is not anyone’s business if your child is adopted or not. It may not be that the person asking the question is nosey but just that they are curious or maybe even thinking about adoption themselves. Some people do not think about how what they say especially in front of your child will have any repercussions. I should mention here that if you have talked with your child about adoption and shared their story with them then when and if this situation happens your child will be prepared as well. Making sure you answer this question with a calm tone and not a “that is not your business” response sets a good example for your child and does not make a scene.
Another tip is to be sure and use positive adoption language. It is important that the person that asks the question realize that in your response that adoption is not seen negatively but as a wonderful process. Remember that your child might be listening. An adoptive family once told me that when they were approached with this question, their son answered before they could and he said “I grew in my birthmother’s tummy and she loved me but now I live with my mom and dad and they love me and take care of me.” This is a great example of a family that has talked with their child about adoption and they have been open with him about how he became a part of their family.
Know that the questions may not stop here. You might get asked all sorts of questions so having responses prepared in advance will help you and not catch you off guard. Have you had this happen and if so what did you say? We would love to have you share your comments and suggestions on responses for other adoptive families and please contact us if you have any questions.