They’re adopted

Our kids were five and two when they were adopted, and it’s common knowledge that our family was formed by adoption. At a recent family gathering, I was eating dinner with an aunt, cousins, my kids, and a new acquaintance. I had just finished talking with this new acquaintance about the kids, their ages, and grades, when our aunt asked how long they had been with us. Our new acquaintance looked very confused, so I explained, “they’re adopted.” I immediately wished I hadn’t answered in a way that labeled my kids. Perhaps I should have labeled myself by saying, “we’re adoptive parents.” Or maybe I should have said, “we adopted them.” What would you have done?

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10 thoughts on “They’re adopted

  1. I always disliked those questions.We have four kids,two naturally and two adopted.The worst was always when someone asked,Which ones are your real kids.I wish people would not even ask.I never hear anyone ask when were your biological kids conceived so why do they ask when did you get your adopted kids.I really have no good answer to your question because it is an irritation to me.Yikes!Forgive the soapbox please.Blessings.

  2. Sara McGibbon DuBois says:

    Maybe it would be good for you to have a sort of a stock answer to give, planned for when these questions come up. If it were me, I would be so proud of whichever kids were adopted and whichever were born to me, I would just say that no matter how they got themselves into your lives, it is in a win-win for everyone in the family. It could be great time to educate those of us who do ask questions, who do want to know, because we care about you and your kids. Unfortunately we all label others, perhaps only to help ourselves out. The idea is not so much what label, anyway, but how we as parents react to those labels. I, by the way, had to give up my daughter to adoption long ago. The main thing, though, is that whatever labels that new acquaintances have for your kids, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, only what you and your own family think has any importance to you and them. Kids are special no matter how they get here and who they are raised by. Never lose sight of that fact!!!

  3. they’re adopted works for me…

    …shows you are comfortable with it – don’t try to over analyze it.

    If you ignored the confused expression which was perfectly valid after what your aunt said, then being “adopted” becomes something not talked about in polite company – and the only things not talked about are “shameful” things.

    Just be yourself – you’re doing fine.

  4. SusanInWords says:

    I agree with TAO. Am always trying to find a comfortable way to be honest without over-revealing. Met a similar situation recently when an acquaintance was trying to figure out why my son has curly hair (like me) and dark skin (unlike me). I let it go for a minute, but when she kept on I said, “We adopted our kids, so there’s no genetic connection between his looks and mine.”

    I asked my son (age 6) later if he understood what we’d been talking about and was my answer ok with him. He was very interested and said my answers were ok. It was the first time I realized my kids are old enough now that I want to start talking to them about how they would like me to describe our family in public situations.

    Thanks for bringing this up!

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