Friday, January 31, 2014

Things not to say to adoptive parents.

I have been wanting to write this post for a while. Many others already have, but I wanted to put in my two cents. These are things I have actually heard from people, even from my family. Some things come from friends who have also adopted, yes we adoptive parents talk about the crazy things people ask us.

I want to also say, though I was "offended/hurt" by what was said, I understand where it's coming from. People who are not around adoption don't always get it, and other people just have trouble expressing their concerns. I experienced it with both my brothers and my dad. They want to say that they are concerned for us and our child, but because they love me so much, it comes out wrong. I get that. I just wish they would have listened to it in their head before actually saying. I really thought I was going to be more emotionally sensitive during the pre-adoption time, and I amazed myself! Instead of blowing up at friends and family members, I handled it fairly gracefully.

Hopefully I am not hurting anyone in return for posting this, that is not my intention. I just want to help more people understand that when congratulating a family on a new addition or asking legitimate questions we should all pause and think before we blurt it out.

1. Your child isn't going to speak English, how are you going to raise him/her?

  •     A: Well, your biological kid didn't start off speaking English either, and you seem to have done just fine. I will admit though, now that I'm home and actually raising a child who speaks very little English, it is harder than I anticipated; but we manage. We are very lucky and have an extremely intelligent son who understands a lot of what we say, even if he can't always speak it back. 
2. (In reference to adopting a child with special needs, before we knew the extent of his needs -- not that it would have mattered to either Eric or I.) Why would you want a child like that? He/She is going to need 24 hour care. 
  • A: I am pretty sure all two-year-olds need 24 hour care. Most kids up into the pre-teen age need to be watched for most of the time they are awake. WE DECIDED at the BEGINNING of our process that we would be adopting a child with special needs, and really most kids have some sort of need, it's just that some need more. Technically, I was a special needs child because I had physical limitations due to my arthritis. I also had bladder control issues because of the medicine I was on. As adoptive parents, we got to make a choice to let someone very special into our lives, but just like biological parents, once we know what we are dealing with, we take that information and run with it, and get the BEST CARE we can find/afford. Why would I want "a kid like that?" Because God chose him for us!
3. In a congratulations card do not write: Congrats on your new "Son" or "Daughter"/Congrats "mom" and "dad" or anything like that. 
  • He is not my "son". He exists and he is my REAL SON. I have "adopted" sons and daughters at work, because that is my pretend family. If you want to refer to them as my "sons" and "daughters" that is fine and correct because most of them are older than I am. Stefan is part of my REAL family, so please drop the quotes. 
  • Along with this, asking me about his "real" mom is also wrong. I am his "real" mom. Stefan is lucky he had a biological mom who was strong enough to realize she couldn't care for him, and a foster mom who took EXTREMELY good care of him until I could get to him. He is lucky enough to have two other moms who did what they could to help give him the best possible life. I just hope I can live up to that. Lord knows I'm trying. Not all orphans have the good start that Stefan had, but I imagine all other adoptive moms would agree that we are real.
4. While you are over there, you should bring a few extra kids home and sell them so you can pay for this one.
  • Do I even have to point out everything that is wrong with that statement? And yes, someone actually told me me this. 
  • FIRST OF ALL, I am not buying and selling children. That's called child trafficking, and though I think that some agencies/governments (not Serbia, that's why I picked them. I love Serbia and respect them fully for their view on adoption)  charge outrageous amounts for their "services provided", that does not mean I am buying my child, nor would I EVER EVER EVER think of selling any child. If I bring home more than one child, I am keeping however many I bring home. END OF STORY. 
5. How much are you paying for your child?
  • I think I covered this in #4, but I am not paying for my child. I am paying for services provided:
    • background check, home study, visa application, travel, birth certificates, passport, translation fees etc.
6. He or she better not speak their native language around me! 
  • Well, no one can be fluent in a new language in 3 weeks, ok maybe a genius could I guess I don't know. Little kids speak their own language all the time. They babble and you don't care then, so can't you just give my kid some time to adjust and pretend he's just babbling like most other 2 year olds?
    • Happy to report the person who said this, really loves Stefan and doesn't mind that I have to translate sometimes.
There are many more and I plan to add them, but I'm publishing this now because it's been waiting for me to finish it for 2 weeks now!