Let me be clear, I understand the curiosity and am more than willing to talk about our adoption experience. When were completing our dossier and waiting for a referral, I loved to browse adoption blogs for more information, or just simply to see what life was like after all the hoopla was over. Was it possible for us to lead a normal life again? Were families happy or unhappy? I found myself looking at other multi-racial families and wondering what their story was. I get it.
What I don't get is a person's lack of sensitivity around my children and the setting in which they choose to approach
Are they yours? (Usually a grocery store comment)
I am most likely too wrapped up in trying to keep Boy O from man-handling the hot wheels at the check out line and Baby O from grabbing anything (and I mean anything) in his grasp and promptly throwing it on the ground. Any parent can attest to how hard this is given how narrow the space is. And yes, of course they are mine. I don't think I would 'borrow' someone else's children just for the experience.
So, uh, is he, like, adopted? (Usually a question in where both Daddy O and are both present. Interestingly-they do not approach Daddy O, but me-that's a whole other interesting social issue in itself)
I don't want to have this conversation at my son's soccer game when I am trying to cheer him on and/or trying my best to mollify a baby who doesn't feel like being stationary. Again, I don't understand what a person gains from knowing this, it would seem to me that this might be somewhat obvious. It just isn't the time or place.
Are they brothers? Are they biological? (This is the most common question we get-it used to happen more often when I responded to the previous question with a simple yes)
I like Daddy O's response, but was never able to master the blank look of disbelief when he replied with Well, of course-their names are Boy O_____ and Baby O______! And then seemlessly without a further glance or thought, would keep on walking.
This question perplexes me, because most people see nothing wrong with it, but how comfortable would they feel if someone asked them the same question about their children that were in the grocery cart? I have a feeling it might not go over so well.
How much do you charge? (Okay, I just got this one last week at the library and had to share it-but wow-did it catch me off guard)
No, I am not a nanny, I am in fact their mother and my services would probably be too expensive anyway. This one seemed to come out of nowhere and took my breath away-I actually had to think about what she might be referring to. I recovered pretty quickly, but I think my initial response was a sputtered HUH? I will say for her part that she was properly horrified in realizing her error and at least I can rest easy in the fact that if I need a job, child care services might be a lucrative option. Wink.
In conversations with many adoptive parents, I have found that each person usually has a unique way of responding to questions and comments they feel comfortable with and I think I have found mine. I always, whether the person is well-meaning or not, reply by saying, This is my son or These are my son's. Sometimes this is not adequate for the inquisitor, who will then follow up with another comment (as if I didn't understand the first question) and I simply repeat it over and over until the questions stop. So far I have not had to repeat it more than three times. Eventually, even though they may not understand they have crossed a boundary with me or it is just not the right time or place, they understand that they aren't going to get another answer. It works for me.
Any stories you would be willing to share? What works for you?