View Full Version : I wish I had read this prior to my decision to adopt

01-01-2004, 11:43 AM

If that link does not take you to the topic of 'discussing your adoptive children' then scroll till you see that topic. I actually posted a question similiar to this on our forum here about a month ago and for some reason it did not post and I was to tired to poor my heart and soul into again and re type it...

(sorry typing one handed with sleepy T in hands so bare with me)...
But it took talking to a Raleigh mom who adopted two from ukraine for me to realize that I have made some major boo boos in sharing that I want to adopt. I was wondering what you all felt.

Keep in mind my decision to adopt was from seeing a 5 year old on the internet suposedly up for adoption in Ukraine (i since found out that is illegal in Ukraine and not procedure). But I had diarrea of the mouth and shared my intentions with everyone, that was not to bad but I shared "HIS STORY"..parents death etc....

I now wish that I had not, since he is not available it is not such an issue...but I wish neighbors did not know. I don't think in my case I will share much. To the BBB community I will or atleast feel comfortable with since we are all true cheerleaders for eachother and it is our kids, or future kids that brought us together. But I don't want the first description of my children in someones mind being "the ukraine kids"...or if they are caught smoking in the boys room nosey peoples reasons for it being that they are "troubled due to adoption"...

I just wish I knew more when I started than I do now...I recommend this thread above to those who might not have thought about this...
AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

01-01-2004, 02:43 PM
Neve- I have thought about this as well. I agree that the story is theirs, however, a lot of people adopt inter-racially, and then it becomes obvious (and people will ask). My husband is American born Chinese and our son will be Chinese. I have a friend who adopted a Chinese girl and the question she gets most often is "Is the father Chinese?" I plan to just answer truthfully - Yes - and continue on without further explanation. Some people won't have that option.

Additionally, my son had some medical issues when he was born. I have been very sketchy with most people about his condition - including people who would know everything about it if he was born to us - because I don't want to hear, "Why adopt a kid with xyz problem" (the problem was already rectified otherwise I would have to explain and deal with the question).

While I've jumped around quite a bit, I guess my main point should be, some people have no choice to but to share. When your child is young, you choose what to share to the people who are close to you (just like you would for a child born to you). But I definitely think about what I want to share.

I would also encourage some interaction for adopted children with other adopted children. Not that you want their whole world to be adoption, but that it helps to see that it's "normal" if their not the only one they know adopted.

Good luck in journey!

01-01-2004, 06:12 PM
I go back and forth...because to discuss it is to educate others, and many folks might fear adoption and then to see how wonderfully a family is doing it could create them to explore it...

I jsut fear any normal bumps in the road that a family might face might be in someways assumed to be caused by the adoption and the institution of the children...

Since we are bi racial as well (Steve is Filipino and I am Caucasian of Irish decent (fair)) it might be obvious on site to others, especially since Tristan is bio...

I have thought if any one questions me having three kids if they end up being close in age I might just leave it at "god has many ways of making a family"...but if someone seems intersted in adopting and wants to discuss it I can give them my phone number so as to not discuss the children in such a context all day long...

I hope others respond too, it is a good thing to think about and have atleast a little plan I would assume.
AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

Kimberly H
01-01-2004, 10:09 PM
Neve, this topic comes up often on our China adopt boards and answers are all over the board. Some tell all, some tell absolutely nothing, and some tell somewhere in the middle.

Until the topic came up, I never thought about it. I get into the nitty gritty with my bio C-sections because I had great experiences and I know it's a no-no subject with so many people. I just assumed I'd do the same with the adoption.

Now that we have Mia's information, I've only shared bits and pieces and we'll keep her finding information (where she was found and dates) private until she's old enough to determine what she wants to share. My boss, who's very into our adoption, is already very hurt because I wouldn't share every detail of Mia's updated information with her - it included the finding info.

Since Robert and I are both Caucasian, it's going to be OBVIOUS that Mia is most likely not our birthchild and Chinese adoption is still rare in our area so we're going to attract a lot of attention and questions. How we'll handle them will depend a lot on how, when and where they're asked, as well as the suspected motivation of the asker. I hope to educate as much as possible, but if someone walks up to me and asks how much she costs or says "Chinese people kill all their little girls" they're going to get the response they deserve. If someone waits for a moment when I'm not absorbed in something and respectfully comments on how cute she is, then says they're thinking about adopting from (insert country here), then I'll be happy to share information.

Neve, thanks for bringing up this topic!

01-02-2004, 11:51 AM
I have absolutely no experience/anything of substance to add, except that I think that reading Kimberly and your stories has opened my eyes (and heart) to the struggles and joys of adopting. So, I am glad that all of you do share.

Just recently, I have seen a very similiar thread in the Secondary Infertility boards that I have been lurking in (when/if do you tell about donor eggs/sperm/IVF, and sharing the struggle with others).

Don't you think that it is a little sad that you even have to think about it? People can be so caddy!

01-02-2004, 12:47 PM
Just like any journey in life, we all who travel the adoption road make some mistakes now and then (or things that we consider mistakes). Different people feel different ways about what they share. In the end how you treat adoption probably will have the greatest impact on how your children view it. I think for most families who gain children through adoption the main focus is we adopted you, isn't that wonderful, no biggie. What I mean is that the fact that a child enters the family through adoption is treated both as special and run of the mill. No matter what you say and do there are going to be others that view your children one way or another because most of us do make first impressions. People who want to label others or who want to find a reason for a certain behavior will do so no matter what information they have. So if they can't label your children as troubled due to adoption (if that's what they want to do) then they will find some other trait.

When we treat adoption like it's some kind of secret (not suggesting at all that is your plan just making a comment in general), is when problems start. I think most of us want our children to be proud of where they were born and where they are now and not to feel like adoption is something that carries any shame.

All that being said, some people are just going to be nosey and once you get yourself comfortable with some "pat answers" to those types of questions, you are usually better off. The truth is I think most people don't ask because they are rude but really because they don't know. For example someone who asks someone adopting an infant what language the child will speak, really might not have any clue about how language development takes place and might assume that if the child hears Russian for the first 4 months of his or her life they will speak Russian (obviously with an older child that isn't such an odd question). Things like do you get to name your child, seem odd in some ways but aren't really. Personally I'll allow someone one or two seemingly stupid questions before I get upset at them. I know of someone who just reactions like people haven't asked her the question. So if someone says what do you know about her birth parents her response is, yes my daughter really does have lovely eyes, followed by some other remark to change the topic. She has found that most people don't bother asking again.

You'll find your way of doing things and it might not be other peoples way of doing things. The big one I'm getting now is how big my son is at 6 months to which I respond, well actually he's average right at the 50th percentile. I think that people assume since he is Asian that he should be smaller somehow or that they don't feed children in Korea. I figure if that's the only comment that's made, I'm home free :)

01-03-2004, 11:28 AM
" I know of someone who just reactions like people haven't asked her the question. So if someone says what do you know about her birth parents her response is, yes my daughter really does have lovely eyes, followed by some other remark to change the topic."

That seems rude, isn't it? I mean, the question being asked is rather invasive, but I don't think that someone would mean it to be rude, just curious. It seems like adoption is getting to be more and more common and a lot of the population is just learning about it and clamoring for info.

I suppose it all depends on the parents' mentality. I know a family who did open adoption and were very open about everything and even prosthelizing (sp?). I would probably benefit from remembering that not all parents are like that.

I guess this just struck a cord with me b/c my pet-peeve is being ignored, however being told off isn't right up there with my favorite things either. ;-)

01-04-2004, 05:54 PM
I think she's at the point that if she feels the question is rude then she makes a response that she feels is pleasant in nature but does say to the person, you know that's a really rude question. That's her method. I don't think it would work for everyone. Actually I think she said that many times people look at her as if she is slightly crazy since she isn't answering their question.

Personally I don't think it's a method I would use but honestly I think until you are in the situation you never know how you will respond.

An open adoption is open between the birth parents and the parents who are adopting. It doesn't mean that every stranger on the street has a right to know everything about your child's history because that history belongs to the child (which I think goes back to Neve's first comments).

For many of us we walk a fine line between what we comfortable sharing, what we feel we should share and what goes too far. The theory with most current adoption "experts" for lack of a better term is that it's the child's story to know and tell first. So if someone asked what you know about a child's birth parents by most standards that considered a rude question. There are of course "pat" answers that people use such as we know what we need to know or turning it back on the person such as why do you ask?

Of course for many what really determines what they say is who asks. Complete strangers, people they know casually or close friends. A response to a close friend might be a little more understanding then a complete stranger asking you a questions as you stand on line in a grocery store.

01-05-2004, 04:00 PM
Neve, I couldn't find that topic in your link, but will respond based on what I gather the issue to be. I am adopted. Not from another country, which is what you are discussing here, but just a plain, old, domestic adoption. My parents never made it a secret that my brother and I were adopted, but neither did they make it an issue or a topic of conversation. We were just their children. Of course, we didn't look any different from our parents as you would find with an interracial adoption, and in fact we looked an awful lot like our parents. Nonetheless, the subject of adoption does come up and we never really minded it. They never prefaced anything by saying we were adopted, but sometimes the topic is appropriate. I find I handle it the same way now that I am an adult. I don't really keep it very private, nor do I discuss it as if it were an important part of my daily life. It's important, sure, but it doesn't affect me daily, nor is it important to everyone. There are times and places where I feel like I want to add something to a conversation and noting that I'm adopted adds something beneficial or interesting to the conversation. That's when I mention it.

That said, I also know from my own personal curiosity that I have occasionally politely framed a question to adoptive parents about the origin or birthplace or heritage of their children. My question is usually only due to curiosity and would feel *terrible* if it turned out I was insulting someone and they were angry with me. I could not be more supportive of adoption, nor could I be less concerned with a child's race and whether it seems to match that of his/her parents. I simply have a curiosity about the child and the circumstances of the adoption. Some of this may come from having been adopted myself, and some of it is probably just run-of-the-mill nosieness and curiosity. I would in no way be questioning the god-given right of that family to create their family by whatever means they chose!

I guess what I am saying is, adoption is not something to be hidden, nor is it to be shouted from the rooftops. It, like so many decisions families make, is very personal and something to be shared when appropriate. I don't think there's anything wrong with sharing your desire to enlarge your family through adoption. I would hope to heck that people would be happy for you and wish you well. It is also your right to keep certain details and information private, as you would your finances, personal history, medical issues, etc, and you should not feel guiltly about keeping those things private. Go with your gut on this. And FWIW, I think it's wonderful that you are open to so many options for enlarging your happy family. Any child, by birth or by adoption will be entering a wonderful and loving family!

01-06-2004, 11:41 PM

I wouldn't worry about the labels that your neighbors will put on your children. People are ignorant everywhere and will bring up stupid intrusive questions. In fact, I'm sure that when you are out with Tristan and your other children, people will assume that Tristan is the adoptive child because you are so fair and Tristan is darker. I know, because my cousin has people coming up to her and asking if her mom is really her mom or if she was adopted. My cousin is darker and takes after her father. On the flip side, you know how fair I am. At my mom's former job at a Genetics and IVF clinic, my mom had Chinese co-workers, who were doctors, who told her that her genes are weak because I am so fair and I don't look Chinese. To this day my mom comments on her weak genes!

Your kids will be so lucky to be in your family. I know that you will teach them to have morals, good self esteem, and good values that outside opinions will not matter!

Proud Mommy to Martie 4/6/03