Monday, November 11, 2013

National Adoption Awareness Month Part 1

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so you all get to hear some more adoption thoughts from me.  Feel aware, or something.  In 2 parts.

I'm in several closed Facebook adoption-centered groups, some full of adoptive families, one for those waiting to adopt, and one for adoptive breastfeeding moms.  The discussions that get started in these groups are always interesting to me.  They feel like a safe space where people (for the most part) use positive adoption language and understand that unique situations that arise in the world of adoption.

Inevitably a new person will join the group and say something taboo and quickly be corrected.  For the most part, those doing the correcting and those being corrected are gracious, because again, there's this feeling of us all being in the same boat together.

One thing that comes up from time to time is how others feel about being asked while out in public about adoption.  For some, it never comes up unless others know the child was adopted.  For families like mine though, there's no real hiding the fact, particularly when we're all together.  When I'm out with just Abraham, it's sometimes assumed I'm partnered with a Black man.  When I'm out with all three children the assumptions range from me having multiple baby daddies, to me doing childcare, or that our family was built through adoption.

I really, truly don't mind educating others about adoption while I'm out and about.  Some families are thoroughly annoyed by the questions and assumptions, and while I might be annoyed with the methodology with which they are asked, I'm not bothered by helping others come to a better understanding of adoptive families.

Here are my favorite ways people bring things up with me:

~ "You have a beautiful family."  This is a good one because if I don't feel like detailing my son's history in the grocery store, I can simply respond with, "thank you."  It also opens the door to talking about my family if it's the right time and place, such as a quiet day at the park.

~ "Your son is adorable."  This is a favorite too.  The best part about it is that the speaker starts with the assumption that the adult caring for the child is that child's parent.  Perfect.  The average baby sitter is not annoyed by being assumed to be a child's parent.  The average adoptive parent would much, much rather be assumed to be the parent than the babysitter.

~ "We've been thinking about adopting/adoption, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"  I get this one every now and again and I really enjoy it.  Getting to talk to other parents about how we built our family is fun for me.  It's so, so much better than getting asked things such as how much our son cost (gag, services cost money, people do not) or about our fertility (holy private information for strangers).

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