Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the ADOPTIVE Mom

We already have a great special guest post about being an adoptive mama and the jackhole things people say from the Mommyland archives.  But we really think that we needed to talk some more about the Domestic Enemies of the Adoptive Mom.  So we were very happy when our friend Mattie Plum sent this to us.


Please don’t get me wrong.  I love being a mama, really I do.  However, there are a few enemies out there that I’d like to shed some light on.  Because that's the part I don't love...

Enemy #1- The Inappropriate Stranger 

Now, I know that I have to take the bad with the good. I often get comments on how cute my kids are. But come on, there are just days when the ridiculous comments outnumber the sweet ones.  I’ve heard that most people are well-intentioned, curious or have no mal-intent, but really?! 

I can’t tell you how many times that an ‘innocent’ person has approached me while my kids are in tow and say things like ‘where are these from?’ or ‘is your husband Filipino?’.  Ummm….  ‘these’?!!??!!  Seriously woman, you had better be talking about these coats that I’m looking at so I don’t have to drop kick you in the face.  I really don’t want to get blood on my new shirt. (Totally J.K. I’m a pretty nice person & usually answer with a large heaping of ‘Uhh.. huh… what?’)  And BTW, my husband is not Chinese, Filipino or any other Asian option; he’s just a plain old white guy. 

Another kicker is ‘are they your real children or are they adopted?’  Hmmmm….so many places to start… so little time.  First of all ‘they’ are standing right next to me.  And they can hear you.  And they are real, not mannequins.  Unless someone else is feeding them, clothing them and loving them to bits, than yes I am the real mom.

This same theory applies to the ‘kids of your own’ portion of ‘do you have kids of your own?’ question.  Just to round out the list I thought I’d include other not so sensitive questions that should be avoided in polite company. ‘How much did she cost?’ ‘Does she know she’s adopted?’ ‘Do you know her real mom’. The real point is that asking personal questions in public is NOT APPROPRIATE!  After years of infertility and waiting to be a mother I am protective of family time and of my sanity at the store. 

Enemy #2- Paperwork
Taxes, pshawww. Bill paying, not even close… Nothing can compare to the often-redundant amount of paperwork that an adoptive mama completes. I’m going to add fingerprints into this category while I’m at it. I mean really… if the U.S. government fingerprints you and says that you are not a criminal, do I really need to be fingerprinted again for the state and local governments too? Did I mention that as an adoptive mama I have to do this almost yearly? Just in case I’ve changed my fingerprints in all of my spare time! Not likely.

If you are afraid of identity theft, adoption paperwork would make you positively manic. Sometimes I feel like that commercial where the man stands next to a truck with the Social Security number written on it… but without that protection plan. I’ve literally filled out hundreds of pieces of paperwork that all start with the directions that should really just read “1. Fill in your social security number here; and 2. Send lots of money”.

But wait; you can’t just write a check. Silly girl - that would be WAY too simple. Because if knowing where you live, having your fingerprints on file and every other piece of personal info is not enough to establish a baseline of trust that my check is good, than what else is? What sort of money will they accept? Well - the answer is a money order. You know, the kind that you have to stand in line behind the umpteen people paying each of their bills by money order at the grocery store? Yup, that kind. Uggh.

Enemy #3: The Weight Limit... or is it The Wait Limit?

We’ve adopted internationally twice.  You know how in the U.S, we complain about having to pay to check our baggage on an airplane? In my childrens’ birth country the weight limit is 44 pounds per piece of luggage.  But wait, it gets better.  You are limited to one piece of luggage per person.  ‘Just paying for an extra bag’ is not an option- not even if you are willing to pay with a trusty money order. We apparently are not flying Southwest airlines. So basically you have to pack a few weeks worth of stuff for you, a beautiful child that you’ve never met and for every possible worst-case scenario.  All in 44 pounds.  Just the copies of our *&*^%#@ paperwork occupies 3 pounds alone.  Sheesh. So much for shoes, kid. They were over the weight limit. We brought you really thick socks.

But, the wait limit is definitely more subjective and infinitely more awful.  It feels like an eternity when you have a picture of a beautiful child half way around the world and you're waiting for them… And they're waiting for you... And every day is a day you should be together and you can't wait to be there and see them and....you guessed it!  Your fingerprints to be approved before you can proceed. By this point, I'm ready to just send them my actual fingers.

Fortunately, at the end of it all, you wind up with the most precious thing in the world - a family.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. ok...so part of this is hysterical, and I can't help laughing! The other part is ...WOW. Thanks for informing us about proper etiquette on what to say and NOT say to an adoptive mom! I honestly would not have thought. THOUGHT being the key word there. lol I was adopted by grandparents, and now I look back and finally understand why my MOM was so touchy on the subject and didn't 'speak of it' to many people. Lightbulb!!!

  2. I have friends whose oldest child is biological, and who then adopted two kiddos from China. A short time after they brought their first adopted child back, their oldest, who is completely 100% Italian, like his parents, said, "Isn't it funny, Mom, that me and Caroline are the only two Chinese people in our family?" He just assumed he was the same as she was. His mom didn't tell him different.

  3. Some people really need to be made to listen to the things they say sometimes so they can realize how rude they are being!

    My stepmom legally adopted my brothers and I when she married my Dad (my mom had passed away). People would see us and say, "your kids look just like you" and she would just smile and say - thanks!

  4. Yes, I used to be a jackhole. BUT, I was a jackhole with the best of intentions and completely ignorant of my jackhole status. A few years ago I came to the realization (about a lot of things, not just my friends' children who happen to be adopted) that while I may have genuine, caring, non-judgmental interest in whatever situation that friend is/was going through, if that person wanted me to know I WOULD KNOW. Friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers are not side shows. Nor are their families. And family is what you make it!

  5. Thanks for this rant. I am guilty of a number of comments... I'm an inappropriate stranger!! I'M SORRY!!!! *sob* It will not happen again. I didn't know how much of a douche I was. I swear to be un-douchey (at least in this area) from this moment on. Thanks again.

  6. Great post. It reminds me of all of the things I have forgotten while going through the process of adopting my daughter from China. I have a complete black spot from 2001-2002 (a full 24 months) as a result of check writing, fingerprinting, hand wringing, and just downright crying my eyes out from frustration.

    I've only been able to go through this process once. It is agonizing. Kind of like 2 years of labor. Someone did ask me once how much she cost. My reply was, "A hell of a lot."

    The worst comment for me (and I heard it at least one hundred times), was how lucky she was. I would always reply that her dad and I were the lucky ones.

  7. As an adoptive mom to the most beautiful boy born in all the history of South Korea, this is perfect. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "When did you get him?" GET? Really? I always answer with, "he came HOME to us June 24, 2002". And if I'm feeling particularly pissy that day, I'll answer with "The Wal-Marts, end-cap near the toilet paper, on sale for $6.88". When asked "how much did you pay for him", I reply with, "we didn't pay FOR him, we paid for his airline ticket, foster care, food and medical care from the day he was born until he came HOME." He is my son whether or not I gave birth to him. I am his MOMMY forever, and ever and ever!!!

  8. I love this post.
    I would never have thought of even half that stuff, except for the "real kid" question. You should carry a "fake", plastic baby in your purse that you can beat those people with.

  9. As a fellow adoptive mom, I've heard it all too! (Including, just a few lovely weeks ago, being told that I wasn't a "real" parent because we adopted our son when he was 5 yrs old and if you don't go through the baby phases, it doesn't really count. Nice, huh?) I can relate to everyone you said - except I had one question. (Truly curious question, not ignorant moron question) Why do you have to get your fingerprints taken almost yearly? When we adopted internationally, we had to do the seventy three sets for every level of govt imaginable, but once the adoption was final, I've not had to do them again (and that was almost 5 yrs ago). Have I/my agency seriously dropped the ball on something?

  10. We adopted our oldest in 09 (domestic adoption). Unfortunately he passed away from SIDS when he was 7 months old. We've heard all the above plus some.
    It seems that the a-word may as well be a curse word in this country for all the looks, pauses, and asinine comments you get.

  11. Kitty here, from the rant about Queen Mean! I LOVE THIS POST!!!! From one adoptive Mama to another, You Rock Girl!!! Mine was a domestic adoption, so I often get the comment... "Wow, he looks like he actually belongs to you!" Nice. Thanks for the great post! :)

  12. We adopted from special needs foster care, in other state from were we live. So I get lots of fun comments - from "Didn't (our state) have enough kids to choose from" to "Whats wrong with their birth mother?"
    Other favs:
    "Aren't you afraid they'll say it was you who molested them?" (Yes, sometimes we are. they are damaged, hurting people and might just lash out at us because we are safe. We live with it anyway)
    "Just love them more - it'll be alright" (Actually, I hope and pray it will, but it's not an issue of whether or not I love them, or loe them enough. They are damaged little humans - and as much as they desparately need love, it's not a miracle cure.)
    "But they're so sweet! They could never do what you've just told me they do." (You're right, I'm lying because I like to make my kids out to be monsters. Sheesh! You have then in classe a few hours a day, for a month or so, and think you've seen all they have to offer? Honey I don't sleep behind a deadbolt for the fun of it!)
    "I try to give every child a second chance. What's so wrong with that?" (My daughter is a conniving, maniulative child who has 18 million reasons why nothing is ever her fault. She is pleasant and cute to the point of beautiful, and can put ona good show. She needs limits and structure and RULES. Ignoring your own rules for her teaches her that again, she can control the situation and doesn't have to follow any rules anywhere. That's why we talked aboutthis before school started, remember?)
    "Do they have the same father?" Yes, I've only been married once as you know, and we adopted these kiddos together. If you mean birth parents, why does it matter to you?
    "Do they know who their mother is?" (Yes, they have met me once or twice. Oh, you mean birth mother. Why do you need to know?)

    But my all time, world champion favorite - (said to my kids) "You mut be so grateful they adopted you!" Grrrrrrrr - makes me want to smack some people. No, they aren't grateful - why on earth would they be? And no, I would never try to make them feel guily about not being grateful for something they never wanted in the first place. THEY wanted to stay with their birth mom; lots of other people decided they'd get to spend 8 years in 4 different foster homes before being taken 2 states away to move in with people they'd never met, AND that they'd be calling these strangers "mom" and "dad". Would you be grateful for that?

    Well, you understand then, huh? THEY aren't grateful for us. WE are grateful for them. And don't even think of calling them ANYTHING but my kids. They are mine. They are not "those poor foster kids who got adopted" (yep, overheard at church one day). I will get bigger, madder and far more dangerous than any mama bear if there is any threat to my kids well-being - physical, mental or emotional.


  13. Love it and Bravo! Fellow international adoptive mom here....I've heard all those questions too. It's amazing what people...strangers, will ask you in the grocery line. Just last night, my husband (plain ole white guy) was asked if his son (who is Asian) looked like his mom. He answered...I assume so. The old lady was shocked at the answer.

  14. Ahhh, thank you. I've adopted domestically twice, and heard all of these and more. People can be absolute jackholes. Now that my boys are older, I find it harder to be nice. Do you think they can't HEAR you?!?
    Tell me they are beautiful (or not, whatever) and Let. It. Be. You do not need to know any more.
    Ashli - you only do them again if you choose to go through the process again (or need to update homestudy, etc). Once it is final, you are done...

  15. Thanks for the awesome post! My favorite idiot moment was the total stranger, middle-aged man who stopped to let my kids & I cross the street. Our daughter who was adopted domestically was about 4 & our son, adopted from Korea was a baby who I was holding on my hip at the moment. The guy offers to let us cross then leans out his window and says. "Where'd you get that boy?". I later wished I'd thought of the "blue light special" response, but I smiled politely and said, "he was born in Korea". But we weren't done yet! The guy then says, "So she's your own and then you couldn't have anymore?" Gosh, pal, that's not too personal! Another deep breath and a fake smile & I said, "My children are both my own. Have a lovely day" (wanted to kick his fender in). My daughter's comment as we walked away was, "Gee Mommy, that was a really stupid thing he said wasn't it?"
    We try to maintain a sense of humor but when you've gone thru the whole infertility gammet followed by the grueling adoption process then go to work and help a drug addict in labor give birth to her 5th kid...well, you get where I'm coming from. That IV's going to really hurt if she says "Oh you had yours the easy way!"
    Yup, walk in the park, piece of cake...you're a piece of work.
    But I'm grateful every day for my 2 amazing kids & keep thinking maybe someday we'll write a book about it all.
    I feel like a "real Mom" every day of the week!!!

  16. I have a dear friend who has one biological son (very white) and two adopted daughters (one from Guatemala and the other an African American). Last week she was walking home from the store wilth all three of her children when a little old lady stopped her and said, "They are all different. Are they all yours?" Not wanting to get into a lengthy conversation, my friend just replied, "Yes." The little old lady patted my friend kindly on the arm and said, "Good for you! You have tried many men," and then just walked away. My friend just stared after her in shock.

  17. Yes, having adopted through state foster care, I've heard all the similar douchey comments as well. Such as, while alone with my toddler son at the checkout counter, (in a sickeningly sweet baby voice) "You must look like your daddy because you don't look ANYTHING like your mama! giggle, giggle" Really??

    But the all-time worst comments we got were 1) not only how lucky this child was that we LET him live with us (as if we hadn't been waiting for a child for EONS), and 2) what truly amazing and remarkable people we were for TREATING him as if he were our own child. Are you kidding me? He IS our OWN child! And we are the most fortunate two people in the world that the universe chose to let us be his parents. PERIOD.

    Really, the ONLY appropriate thing for an outside person to say to you when learning of your adoption (pre or post) is simply, "how wonderful!"

  18. As a caucasian mother of an adopted bi-racial daughter, and a Latino husband my family gets LOTS of UNWANTED attention. I have been spit upon, called all sorts of racial slurs, and threatened when out alone with my child by sad excuses for human beings who decided to judge me. Mind you, my daughter is STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO ME! At 5 years old, she is wise beyond her years and says, "So sad that they are such a horrible person." She handles these situations with much more grace than I do. I've learned that I cannot re-educate such ignorant people and no longer try. Inspite of all this, I would not trade one second of being my child's mother. She is the sweetest, most loving, confident, smart, amazingly beautiful child ever!!! I love her so much it makes me silly!

  19. Well said. We have good friends who adopted a beautiful little girl from China. They also have two kids of their own - an older son and a surprise post-adoption baby. The first section of this post reminded me of a conversation that we had with our 5-year-old daughter about these friends not long ago. She overheard my husband and I saying something about adoption in regard to their family. (Keep in mind, they are very causasian.) And our daugher says, "One of their kids is adopted? Really??? Which one?" She truly had no idea. I wish everyone could look at one another through the eyes of a child.

  20. Can I also add to the "things you don't ever say in public" list?

    I was recently at a friend's brunch with my daughter with a mutual friend asked a stranger I had not met, "So, why didn't you ever have any children?"

    :: facepalm ::

    She never had any children because after years and years of trying, she and her husband shouldn't.

    Thanks for putting her in a sad mood for the rest of the brunch, douche.

  21. A friend recently completed an adoption after 16 months of court and paperwork.

    A person they know said "Congratulations, You will make great parents"

    They had already been parents for 16 months

  22. Having dealt with immigration (USCIS) for my UK husband, I can sort of feel your pain in that paperwork realm. Ouch!!

  23. Great post. I am not an adoptive parent. I am the mom of biracial children. Here's my favorite inappropriate stranger comment...."Your baby is soooo beautiful. Where did you get her, Siam or Ethiopia?" No actually,...The King and I had her.

  24. I have one bio son and one adopted daughter. I personally don't mind at all when people ask us questions about it. Kids at school are curious and I'm totally cool with answering their questions. (One time my daughter had me come in and talk about adoption for show and tell!)

    Lots of grownups are curious because they are maybe considering adoption and want to get our take on how it has been. We are really open about it and I don't mind talking about it at all. I love to tell other folks how great it has been - hopefully it will consider other people to consider adoption.

    HOWEVER, it DOES drive me nuts when people ask about my daughter's "real mother" or whatever. I know people just don't know the right terminology, but it does feel a little insensitive.

    I'm sitting here right now with my daughter who has the flu. My theory is that if I'm patting her back as she barfs and cleaning up gross barf-covered sheets, etc, then I'm definitely a REAL mother. Heh.

    Of course, that doesn't mean her birth mother is not a REAL mother too - but people should be a little more sensitive with their words. :) I think usually, though, people mean well and they just don't know the nicer terminology, so I consider it my opportunity to educate them. :)

  25. I feel very lucky to have our kids at a school (and live in a neighborhood) with a ton of "Family diversity" in addition to racial diversity. There are a ton of multi-racial families, adoptive families, families with single parents, families of kids living with grandparents, families with gay parents, etc. Our family doesn't stand out at all, and it's no big deal that our daughter is adopted trans-racially.

    I notice that sometimes when we travel, we stick out more. It makes me so grateful that we live where we do, with such a great community.

    I have to say, though, that my husband is from a small town in Scotland (which is about the whitest place in the world), and we've never had ANY negative comments or anything there when we've visited (which is very often, as we go frequently to visit family there).

  26. Okay, I just have to say my say here, being one of those who really DOES make innocent comments. One of the things I always joked about with my kids (who are not adopted) was when I got a compliment in the supermarket, I would say "Thank you! I found her in with the peaches- she was the sweetest! So I joked with other moms by asking, "Oh, you are so adorable! What shelf did you hop off of?" It didn't matter if the child was a different race than the mom or not- I was just commenting on how cute they were.
    And I never understood why some moms would actually get MAD at me! Now I do, thanks to Single Dad Laughing, and you guys posting about it. I don't make those comments anymore (though I do still say they are adorable!), but it never even occurred to me that the moms would take offense to it!
    However, if my kids were called 'these' I would be a mad mama too!

  27. I'm an adoptee, and even though I was adopted domestically (i.e., I have the same ethnic background/appearance of my parents), you would not believe the crazy and inappropriate questions both me and my parents (and my sister, also adopted) would get from people after they found out I was adopted. And kids at school growing up were downright MEAN about it sometimes. Snitches. ("You're an orphan"...."your parents didn't WANT you"....that kind of thing) But I've never been ashamed of it or super sensitive about it, and I'm never hesitant to talk about it. I appreciate posts like these for shedding some light on adoption and how difficult...and, in the end, awesome....it is.

    I swear to God, though, the next time someone asks me if I've found my "REAL" mom....I'm gonna have to square up.

  28. We adopted two kids that are 4 months apart in age and yes, they looked a lot alike as babies. I can't even tell you how many brains we've tortured when we tell people they are 4 months apart and leave them to guess how that happened. The best was a lady at Walmart. She asked if they were twins and I said no, they are 4 months apart. Her reply: "Ah honey, did you squirt one out and hold on to the other one to cook a little longer?"

    I think I hit the floor.

  29. Great post - as a single widowed adoptive mother I can identify with so much of it! My son is from Russia and I've pretty much bitten through my tongue on occasion resulting from strangers comments or questions. Some of my favs are: Did you just go into the orphanage and pick one out? And my personal favorite since he came home at 3 years old is, "Are you going to tell him he's an orphan? To which I reply, "well, I guess that's an option - he does remember living in Russia and the flight home but I COULD tell him he was 3 years over due and delivered at the hospital downtown"... Another gooder, "Did they wait to try and find a family with 2 parents first and then finally have to give him to you - is that why he's already 3?" combined with "I bet he wanted a daddy too - does he feel sad he doesn't have a daddy?" (Yeah... every night after I tuck him in, read his bedtime stories and tell him how much I love him... he feels very sad... perhaps if he held out in Siberia for a few more years Brad and Angelina might have scooped him up.) I really don't care for the most part - I don't think people are intentionally douche's but... I know I've got my work cut out for me as he gets older and has to manage the insensitive comments from children about his REAL parents not wanting him or him not having a dad... it's all just giving him the tools and words to feel secure and happy with our little family. Thanks for the laugh!

  30. TRACY - My husband is a UK immigrant and also one of our kids is adopted, and the immigration paperwork is NOTHING compared to the adoption stuff. This is not to say that immigration paperwork is uncomplicated. (Hardly!) But the adoption stuff is worse.


  31. My husband and I (both pretty white) adopted a biracial son who is absolutely beautiful. Since he was a baby strangers come up to us and say how beautiful he is - and then they look at me and ask if I'm the grandma! We may be "older" parents (me 47, hubby 49, son 3), but I don't really look that old, do I? I color the gray hair after all! I just smile and say, "No, I'm his mom. He's adopted and he's the biggest blessing in my life aside from my husband."

    Like others I don't mind saying how blessed I am to be his mama. It's his and our story - he knows it and knows I'm his mama and hubby is his dad. Looking forward to potentially "getting" another one. :-)

  32. I read on a website somewhere a GREAT response..

    Him: "Are those your real kids?"
    Her: "No, they're latex. But surprisingly life-like, don't you think?"

    --kate in MI

  33. Holy cow... we have been praying about adopting for some time now, adding one more to our 4 kids. As we are a blended family, my kids already are well-versed in "half"s and "step"s. I had no idea the ignorance and thoughtlessness out there concerning this.
    Thanks for the wake-up call- may I deal with it (when out time comes) with as much humor and dignity that you do!!

  34. Y'all! My OTHER favorite blogger just recently posted some fun stuff that led to a discussion on this very topic! And those same dum-bass questions must be universal, 'cause SO MANY of you have had to deal with them. Anyway--her readers chimed in with a TON of awesome snarky comments for those days when youve had it up to *here* with the 3rd degree from the people of Walmart. You can find the post here: www.damomma.com -it's titled FestIvus Bonus: Witty Dum Bass Retorts and it's 2 or 3 posts back. Best-Freaking-Comments Ever. (sorry I can't make a link work...I'm two-thumbing-it on my phone as it is...lol)

  35. I an a freckly redhead, my hubby is Nigerian... We have THE most beautiful daughter in the world ( not prejudiced at all ;)!).... Who looks nothing like me!!!

    We also get the most innate, stupid, thoughtless comments from strangers who assume she is adopted. We also HAD. a redheaded friend who is married to a gorgeous Maori man who asked me if I struggled to bond w her because we were so unalike and whether it bothered me that people wouldn't think she was mine? She was most put out when my comeback was 'no, but was that how you felt with you boys?'

  36. Here's a bizarre thing: I tried to email this post to an adoptive mama friend of mine, and someone has flagged this post as abusive or spammy on facebook. If you get a chance, try to share on FB if you're an FBer and help me explain why that flagging is an error!

  37. I'm an adoptive parent of 4 very different children; one blond/blue-eyed, one hispanic, one african american, one bi-racial. My all-time favorite question was from a woman at my doctor's office..."Different fathers?" and my reply? "Why, yes, different mothers, too."...the look on her face was priceless!! Bet she never asks THAT question again!!!

  38. As an adopted child all I can say is WORD! Little ears do hear everything.

  39. @Anonymous who said...
    "We adopted our oldest in 09 (domestic adoption). Unfortunately he passed away from SIDS when he was 7 months old."
    APRIL 5, 2011 9:43 AM

    I am so sorry for your loss! I'm sure you cherish every moment you've had with him in this life. And while I cannot begin to imagine what this has been like for you and your family, I do believe that you now have your very own Guardian Angel in Heaven whom you will meet again someday! My thought and prayers are with you! Hugs!!!

  40. I've adopted two special needs children through foster care. I don't really get many questions on the adoption thing unless I put it out there that they are adopted. It's not something I go around announcing. Not that I'm not proud... it's just not anyone's business.

    What I do hate is the people who see my daughter wearing her leg braces and ask...

    "What's wrong with her?" Uhhh... Nothing. What's wrong with YOU for asking? She's sitting right here and she can understand what you're saying!!! Oh and my next favorite... "Well if she has cerebral palsy why isn't she wearing a helmet?" Whuck? Really?! ARGH!

  41. Sigh. No shortage of idiots in the world. As a fellow adoptive mama, we've already heard a ton of ridiculous comments about our son, and we haven't even brought him home yet. I wish people like this wore those shock collars that you can buy for dogs, so you could give them a little zap when they ask something stupid. Lol. That thought makes me smile.

  42. I am adopted by a single mom and I LOVE this post. We've always handled things with our weird humor. Favorite question "Where is her father?" Mom's response "Oh, I don't know who her father is" (with a sugary grin) The looks are priceless!

  43. I absolutely HATE when people ask about her "real mom". I AM HER REAL MOM!!! Sorry to shout. No I did not give birth to her but like another commenter said I've cleaned up the barf and poo. I wiped tears, fed her, clothed her and love her to pieces. She is our child. I get no comments from strangers except for how beautiful she is. The ignorant comments come from friends and acquaintances. Hmph!

  44. I know this is an older post, but I just found it and I had to add my favorites:

    1. On our adoption questionnaire it asked how many people we dated in high school. I kid you not. My dad said just put "you slept with the football team before moving on to the Rugby team because the football team wasn't rough enough".

    2. When people ask me "Does she know she's adopted?" I want to say "Well, she does now since she does have ears, thanks for that! We weren't going to tell her but now we'll have to" (She looks a lot like me so we get few of these and that makes it worse because the people doing the asking are people close enough to us to KNOW she's adopted (and I typed that before I read the comment above mine so I'm glad to know it's not just my friends and family that only use 50% of their brains some days), oh and yes she "knows" as much as a 4 year old can "know".

    I don't mind answering well intentioned questions at all. People are curious and Lifetime Television Network has done a serious dis-service to US adoptions which is why some kids languish in foster homes for a LONG time. So if I can help someone understand that Lifetime is full of crap or took one bad example and expounded on it, then I truly don't mind at all. But some people's questions in front of my kids just annoy me to no end.

    The all time best is when they say "How do you think she will feel when she finds out she's not your real child and her brother is?". Ummm... since she does all the same things her brother does I am pretty sure they are equally real. If she was made of plastic I'd get a lot more sleep than I did when he was her age.

  45. My personal fav. is you took the "easy way out." WHAT? yea, cause the easy way is miscarrying going to doctors numerous times. have about everyone on the office see you, examines you, and taking all the pills and shots to try and do it the "hard" way. and after over 9 YEARS of that. the "easy" way just happened.

    with the finger printing the how much you make forms and the house inspections. to me that is the hard way. I didn't just go to the doctors a few times during nine MONTHS. go in to labor and come home with a child. Not saying that this is easy but your not under a magnify glass with everything you do or believe.

    we Prayed for him every day. and still do. He is our blessing and our world. and we would do it the "easy" way again. Because the Hard way is not an option for us.

    weather we tell him or not is our family business, and who from his bio side stays in touch is also our thing. I don't ask everyone who is separated do you share your kids, how often do you see the other parent.

    If your thinking of adopting I'll talk to you and help you where I can but please get my Number and set-up a time, not at the checkout line.

    we are our child's parent no matter what age we get them and that they are ours: his birth certificate says mine and my hubby's name on it.

  46. Exactly!!!!!!!! Actually, you could keep going on and on about all the other "stuff" that comes with the territory of adopting kiddos!!

  47. AWESOME!!!! My sis & I were adopted, & my other sis was BORNED UNTO THE FAMILY...we had an adoption when she could understand to make her like us!!! We also herded like bulls on a red cape on a Mrs. Moron (on my parents 28th Anniversary) into a corner when she made a comment of how we did not belong to the family..you know...the family that brought us up since birth & day in day out we were required to obey our teachers, obey the commandments & obey the traffic signs...I never questioned the fact that my sister's hair was different, eye color was different, body size was different...we did not question because we were brought together as a family, & like it or lump it at the end of the day, we could go into one sis's room & we would all listen to "You spin me right round baby right round, like a record baby, round round round round" over & over again, cuz we found each other & aint no way of splitting us up!!!!! Now 2 of us, have kids, 2 of us have careers outside of Mommydome, & all of us stay connected cuz none of us live close to one another. Days may come & go, but not a day goes by, & I do not think about the stresses & the infantile blurbs that stupid people make about the happy families that are really happy, & don't need to justify why they did what they did to make their families larger. I take pity on them, & do aim on tripping them up by being so gosh darn freaking happy!
    Aimee in South Korea

  48. Hi! I'm an adoptive mom myself and just wrote a similar post I thought you would enjoy.... similar experiences we face in public but complete with pictures of the kind of faces/stares of people who say dumb things (jack black being the person in the photos). http://www.theorens.com/2011/10/some-folks-just-dont-know-jack.html

  49. When my daughter was five she had to describe her family in school. We have an open adoption and her birth family is a huge part of her (and our) world. She chose pictures of her biological mother and father to put on the poster asked me to label them "This is Sierra. She is my birthmother" "This is Seth, he is my birthfather." I explained that some of her classmates might not know what a brithmother/father are, would she like to practice answering that question? Result:

    Q from me: What is a birthmother?
    A from daughter: "A birthmother is the lady that loves you and takes care of you until your real mommy comes to get you." (At this poit I'm tearing up...)
    Q from me: "What is a birthfather?
    A from daughter: "He helps!"

  50. My husband and I receive alot of questioning eyes when we are out in public with our son and not with each other. "Is your husband african american??" is the biggest question I get, I always respond with, "No, but we were surprised too."

    And i myself will drop kick the next person who asks, "where did he come from?" Um he came from my house! SHEESH!!

    I just found this post and now must find your blog, you are AWESOME!

  51. Ah, if only this were required reading for EVERYONE. My adopted son has bright blue eyes and I have brown. My favorite question is, "Oh, does his father have blue eyes?". I like to respond with "I'm not sure," and then walk away.

    Love your post and reading all the responses.

  52. I just wanted to add to this, it's NOT OK people to walk up to me in a store and say things like "She really doesn't look like either of you!" Yes, we adopted our grandchild, NO we do not need to explain the workings of the hows and Why's, and for crying out loud, please stop telling us how hard it is to raise a child at "our" age, we're barely out of our 40's! Thanks for your concern but if you keep it up, I'm going to whack you in the face with a roll of paper towels!

  53. A am adopted. Reading this has made me have more appriceation towards my parents and their ability to keep calm and NOT say what's on their mind to strangers. I can recall shopping with my mum one time and we ran into an old co-worker of hers. The last time they had seen eachother my mum had just found out that her and my dad wouldn't be able to get pregnant-ever. So there I was...she told the woman that they had been able to adopt a baby and she introduced me. Then the woman asked me if I ever "missed my real mother". I looked at her totally confused and my mom just walked away with me. I recall we discussed it later at home and it was all good in my world. But holy man......that must have been so hard for my mum to not loose her stuff!

  54. I particularly love when strangers realize my child is adopted (because it is blatantly obvious) and say "But she looks just like you!" and my response is "I look Guatemalan?"

    Once in Central Park a woman who was pushing her kid in the swing next to mine said "So what, is her father Mexican?" I said, "Gee I don't really know." She left dumbfounded.

    It is truly amazing the questions you get. No one has a clue about the process, the WAIT, the agony you endure with the volume of paperwork unless you've actually gone through the experience. It's absurd, it's expensive, it's invasive and it's totally worth it.




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