Through this process we have been confronted with a lot of questions. We know most people mean well, but their comments and questions can sting. A few of the most memorable things people have said to us include:
-Why would you ever want to adopt?
-How much do they cost?
-Why did their parents “give them up” for adoption?
-Aren’t you happy with the 3 you already have?
-You know they won’t be able to understand you right?
-It’s too expensive! You won’t be able to do anything fun for years!
If you know me well, you know how hard it is for me to respond to these questions with patience and grace. Sometimes I want to tell people how rude and ignorant they are being, and tell them to mind their own business, but I don’t. Why? Because this is my opportunity to educate people on how to be more sensitive about the things they say regarding adoption. We have learned so much during this process, and we want to take this opportunity to educate our friends and family so they might be able to better support others going through this process in the future.
I recently read a book called In on it: What adoptive parents would like you to know about adoption by Elisabeth O’Toole. I think this book is a fantastic read for anyone that is adopting or has family or friends that are adopting. It is a very quick read and has such great tips. I have highlighted some of my favorite points from the book below.
- As a family member or friend, your support and reassurance during the process helps!
- Trust our judgment and know that we did our research and KNOW we are doing what is right for our family.
- Adoption starts with loss. Through this process we have lost our privacy as we let our agency into all parts of our lives, and we have lost all control over the process and timeline. Our child has lost their birth mother, and will be loosing their birth country and culture. And we have to acknowledge the loss the birth parents will experience their whole lives.
- Showing your interest by asking questions and trying to understand the process means so much.
- It is important to treat adoptive parents like the expectant parents they are.
- Understand that once the child comes home it is very important for the immediate family to form their bond with the child. This might mean no visits or going out for a while.
- Treat new adoptive parents just as you would any new parent.
- DO NOT ask adoption questions in front of the child.
- Respect the child’s privacy and don’t take the parents creating boundaries personally.
- Don’t refer to children who are adopted as “their adopted daughter” or “she’s adopted”, simply say “their daughter/son” because that is what they are.
- Knowing a child has come from a different country does not mean you know what they will be like as a child or an adult. “Stereotypes limit our ability to know each other. You don’t want to know a stereotype; you want to know a person.”
As a friend or family member you might be presented with questions about adoption also. Try to take a positive stance and maintain the families privacy. You can also help your children to understand adoption and know how to respond appropriately. If you are reading this, then you are probably “in on it” too. You are probably a part of someone’s adoption circle, and that is so important!
I love the final quote in her book that is from a grandfather, “Every child gladdens your heart. What happens after a child comes into the family is as important as how they arrived into it.”
Thank you for taking time to read this! If you are interested in borrowing In on it by Elisabeth O’Toole, I would be happy to let you borrow it. We have learned so much during this process (there is still so much more to learn) and we hope you are all taking something away from these posts too. Thank you for your support during this process to Bring Home Baby Stoyk!