For our last part of this series we took the time to answer the following question — What are some adoption etiquette rules and how do you handle awkward situations with people who are unaware? Last year Mrs. Cowgirl shared a great post about what not to say to an adoptive parent. We decided that the rest of us could chime in with how we feel and some of our experiences, starting with my answer below.
The most frequent questions or comments that I get are about his “real parents.” The term real parent does sting a little bit because as an adoptive mom, I feel very much like his real mom. But I also understand that not everyone has gone through adoption training and read all the books I read, and if a person is not an adoptive parent, they wouldn’t necessarily know how I feel when they call someone else his “real mom.” My reaction might also depend on who is asking, what their tone is like, and if my son is present. Often I will respond with “his birth mother just wanted a life she wasn’t able to provide for him.” Most of the time it hardly even phases me anymore. But I have to be honest. I tend to be more sensitive about it after we have our court ordered visits, but I try not to give snarky comments back. I just try to remember that most people are are genuinely interested and kind hearted and I try to answer questions to the best of my ability.
I get a lot of “Where is he from?” It took me a while to catch on that people assume we adopted from Africa. I’m not upset about it, because I do think it’s a somewhat natural assumption, but it always surprises me. I love to answer, “He’s from here, where are you from?”