I was nervous to share about this side of adoption but I believe that I have learned so much as an adoptive mom over the past four years. I value both my good and bad experiences through the adoption journey and I really think they can be helpful for you. Forewarning: these are only my opinions and what I have learned along the way. Every family is different. This is just what has helped our family. One thing I know for sure is that adoption is such a neat and hard process. From the three month domestic adoption process that we experienced to now four years later we know that there is no secret formula to raising a child that has been adopted. Adoption is unpredictable and it’s messy but it can be a beautiful thing if we allow it to be. Only you can set the tone for your family and for the future of your adopted children.
Tip #1: Know that people will ask you really weird questions. This is so true and sometimes unfortunate. From the time Robbie and I started to share that we were adopting to the time we brought our son home we got all sorts of questions. We already knew that we were way in over our heads especially as we brought a newborn home while we had a six month old at the time too, but nothing prepared us for the questions and the opinions that were waiting for us. For example we would get asked, “How much was he?” “Where did he come from?” “Is that his brother? No, really is that his real brother?” “Where did you buy him?”.
We’ve even had worse, but I will spare you the messy details. It’s funny figuring out how to respond to people. One of the biggest things that Robbie and I learned to do when presented with questions was to simply show grace. It sounds silly, but you see it’s normal for people to wonder or even ask questions when it comes to adoption. It’s in their nature. We can’t be mad at people for wondering.
For our family personally, we never go into details about our son’s story with strangers. It’s his story to share and his choice. We have shared his story in a little more detail with close family and friends but when it comes to strangers we are very protective. There have been times when our son is around and we kindly explain that it’s Josiah’s story to tell and it’s not something we feel comfortable going into detail about. I love educating people with how the domestic adoption process works and what you may experience along the way but I try to always share the bare minimum.
When people ask funny questions about our son or his situation instead of it being a frustrating thing it can instead be a huge opportunity for me. An opportunity to teach people about adoption. I can even open their eyes to the process. Better yet, I can gracefully suggest to them how they can better language their questions in the future. People are intrigued by adoption and it’s not a bad thing at all. They have questions or they may be interested in doing it themselves but you see peoples’s responses can often come out inappropriately. It catches us off guard but I don’t believe this is intentional.
I think if we respond appropriately and help correct people in a graceful way we can actually help them and protect our children in the long run. So….. the next time you get an absurd question or reaction to your (maybe colorful maybe not) family- try to show grace. Instead of your overwhelming desire to respond back with anger share the bare minimum or don’t go into detail at all. It’s your choice. It’s your child’s choice.
Adoptive mom or dad, I hope you leave today encouraged and refreshed. Take a deep breath. It can be challenging and overwhelming at times to go through the process of raising a little human being. Any parent will tell you that, but you have an opportunity to love this child to the fullest and be a part of his or her story.
Make sure you check out Tip #2 HERE.