I recently read a brilliant post by the lovely Catie over at www.diaryofanimperfectmum.com entitled 10 Things Not To Ask An Autism Parent which had me nodding along from beginning to end. It got me thinking about the types of things I’m either asked as an adoptive parent or throw away comments made by people one they realise the children are adopted. Nearly all of these are from strangers or acquaintances – thankfully my friends wouldn’t consider saying them! They range from the inquisitive to the downright odd!
So here is my list of 10 things to avoid saying to an adoptive parent:
- So, what were their real parents like? Ummm, I have to tell you that I am their real parent! I’m not the fake one, or the imaginary one, or the pretend one – I’m their real mum! Once we adopted them, they legally became our children – for real!
- Gosh, they don’t look adopted! What?? What do adopted children look like? Yes they are clean and looked after and well dressed and can use a knife and fork (well on good days!) They are children, which is what they look like!
- Aren’t they lucky to have been adopted by you? I understand what you are getting at here but, no not really. I wouldn’t say that they were lucky at all with the start they have had. Yes it has become significantly better for them, but I definitely wouldn’t call it lucky. I wish that they had had a good start in life and hadn’t had to have gone through all the trauma and emotional upset that no child should have to deal with.
- Don’t they look like you! That’s very nice of you to say and to try to find similarities, but we really are OK with the fact that we don’t really look alike.
- What do you know about their background? Umm, pretty much everything. But please don’t ask me to go into detail – it isn’t my story to tell, it it theirs, and they will decide if and when they want to tell anyone about it in the future.
- What do they call you? Umm, Mum?? Yep, they call me Mum and Mr N, Dad, because, well that’s who we are!
- Why did you choose your children? Well, we didn’t choose them. It really doesn’t work like that! In fact, we were chosen as their parents over other adoptive parents, rather than us choosing the children. The emphasis is on finding the right parents for the child!
- Will you keep trying for your own child? I really do know that you mean, will I continue to try for a birth child, but please recognise that my children are my own children – all of them – regardless of how they came to be in the family.
- When will you tell them they are adopted? Well, they already know. They’ve known from the day they came to us – it’s really not a secret!
I know that everyone is, naturally, curious about adopted children, the process and how we are getting on, and that is lovely. But please do think about the way your questions are phrased before you ask them – all you really need to know is, we are a loving, caring family with 2 gorgeous children who are ours through and through, and we adore them!