Tuesday, September 22, 2009


There are many question we get as adoptive parents. Some we have been prepared for by our agency and some have come as a surprise. I wasn't sure which ones would get to me and which ones I would feel fine with until they were asked.

Usually I love to share- in hopes that maybe another family would consider adopting. After all it is such a miracle and such a joy and such an incredible journey- I wish everyone would do it!! Most of the question don't bother me at all BUT here are two that did...

Is she really really smart?
Excuse me! Wow, what a stereotype that one is... Whether she/they are or aren't really really smart what does it matter? Am I going to love them any less, will they be less successful in their future if they are smart or not. What's wrong with average, above average, slightly below average... I think I just told this person that she did live in an orphanage for 8 yrs. Smart or not, inexperienced is the word of the day. Potential could be used- that word describes the exciting adventure that we are currently on! 

How odd it must be - just because someone is from a certain ethnic group or country they would then have some quality/characteristic immediately assumed about them. Some assumptions are not as complimentary as the one our daughter just had- it is very unfortunate and as parents we need to dispel the  attitude. It is our job to protect our children and to help those that are mislead. What should I have said? 

As a caucasian person in America we don't have to deal with it much (except when we leave America).

The other question that I found inappropriate was... 
"Does she have issues?" They went on to tell of another adoptive family whose children are struggling.  With this question my heart hurt. It hurt for the adoptive  child, the preconceived ideas that others have, the inaccuracies of the information that they felt so freely to share and for the families that may shy away from adopting because of what they "hear" from others. I guess the word "issues" is red flag word for me. It has a negative connotation. Maybe coping mechanisms works better or personal strategies for coping or I'm up for other ideas if you have any!

If only I was quick witted and a fast thinker I would have been able to re guide this individual but I found myself giving a benign vague answer and then ending the conversation. 

I share because I am amazed at these two girls, how well they are doing, how much they have already accomplished and with what they are working on. They are such precious gifts from God!

I think I will think twice before sharing our story with others. I may also prepare ahead for those two questions that just didn't feel right.


a Tonggu Momma said...

I am so sorry, Jean. *insert huge sigh* The ignorance we have to deal with can sometimes overwhelm. Hang in there!

Janet said...

Can be frustrating, and make you not want to share with anyone. The one I can't stand is "are they sisters"? Mine aren't old enough to understand that, and I don't want to say NO. So I'll say, yes, and there are 2 more brothers in China, or yes, and (pointing out my teens)there is the big sister/big brother.....people always come back with "no, I mean REALLY sisters", they don't get that I'm trying to avoid saying NO in front of the girls.

Janet and Kevin said...

Good post as we have all been there with inappropriate and downright hurtful questions about our precious children. When I tell people we are adopting a young son again from China, so many ask if they are brothers! Well, yes, through the miracle of adoption they are brothers and they are our older son's brothers as well! But that's not what people mean!!

One lady last summer at a 4th of July picnic kept pointing out Philip's lip as the reason he was abandoned as if he couldn't understand what she was saying. I quickly diverted his attention and just picked him up and walked away! I hurt for him long after the painful encounter whether he understood or not.

Bless you for posting about this subject.

In Christ,
Janet, Kevin, Ted, Philip, and waiting for Eli

Adeye said...

Excellent post!

Oh people just say the strangest things. I too have run out of words to say back. I just don't say anything. It's so not worth it. We are very open about our daughters having Hep B. Phew, does that open up a can of worms. I have come to realize that people are so ignorant. They love to ask silly questions and then voice their crazy opinions--even when they know nothing about the issue. Amazing.

I understand the hurt, friend. Boy do I understand.

Thank you for a great post!

Dardi said...

I have really enjoyed your blog (we, too, have 5 birth children & are in the process of adopting our little girl from foster care that we've had since birth). I had to comment on this post b/c the ignorance is plentiful! The stigma around children that have been "in the system" is so sad. While there have been many ridiculous comments along the way, the most absurd was, "She doesn't LOOK like a foster child". Oh, mercy.

On a happy note, I am glad to have stumbled onto your blog b/c reading about others that have older children but continue to bring children home is so awesome! Ours range in age from 10-20 (with our little gal being 2!), but we LOVE it!! We are prayerfully considering what God has for us next as we are hoping to finalize this adoption by the end of the year. ~ Dardi

Laura L. said...

Yes, these questions seem to come out of nowhere sometimes.
I've had the "She must be so smart" question a few times.
The second question, "Do they have issues?" is so offensive. Thankfully no one has never asked me that one. How rude.
I hope I'd have the presence of mind to tell them that I don't wish to discuss it!

Lizzyf1 said...

when asked "does she have issues" you can tell the person asking that they aren't as bad as theirs! Who doesn't have issues? I have ALOT myself but won't get into that here.

People don't understand and can be rude. Maybe just keep reinforcing that your child understands all taht is being asked or said and you find it innapropriate to be asking such questions.

love your posts too by the way!!

Nancy said...

I really don't think people mean to be rude or insensitive. I think they are just curious.

Chasity said...

I don't think we can ever truly prepare ourselves for the things people will say. I remember my husband and I would practice questions before we brought Jie home, we tend to get a stare every now and then, but thankfully no stupid questions (yet). I know people are curious, but they truly don't think before they speak. It is our job to protect our children, and your certainely are doing that. God Bless!