I am a 28yr old caucasian mom of two kids, a boy and a girl, ages 1 & 3 1/2. Oh, and they are black. And adopted. I should also mention I’m married to a caucasian man. It is my only marriage. I live in a white-dominated area of the country (please don’t give me a lecture about exposing my children to a more integrated location, etc, I’m no fool).
I want you to know that I’m a people person, I’m talkative, I’m fairly open, I’m an optimist, and I easily see the best in people. That’s how I know that the majority of the questions that come from strangers come from a good place in their hearts. I realize they are not mean people, they aren’t trying to be rude, and they are probably trying to encourage me through their comments. I often get the feeling that the incredible number of comments I get about my children are in some way people trying to validate my choice to adopt.
All of that being said, here’s why your questions make you sound like an idiot.
1. You wouldn’t ask these questions of people who you ASSUME have biological children. (They might be adopted! They might be babysitting! They might be foster parents! They might be aunts or uncles!) But you won’t ask questions, will you?
a. When you ask me if my children, who are 3.5 & 1, are twins. I want to just say “REALLY!? They are 1 foot in height difference, 15 lbs in weight difference, and OBVIOUSLY different ages. Just because they have the same skin color (that is different than mine) does not make them twins!” But instead I say “no, they aren’t” and I smile, and I hide my eye rollin’. I do this because my mother taught me to keep my mouth shut.
b. When you ask me “How black my husband is”, I want to ask you what response you think you are going to get here. My kids are 100% their race. They aren’t mixed. I know this isn’t necessarily a given, but it is certainly none of your business what race my husband is! And really? REALLY? You would ask that?
c. When you ask me, in front of my 3 year old, if my children are brother & sister, I want to smack yah. Does it matter if they are related biologically? DOES IT? They are clearly brother & sister NOW. And my daughter who is very smart, does not need to hear me say “No, they aren’t brother & sister.” Someday she’ll understand the difference between biological siblings and adopted siblings. But she’s too young! So stop it!
2. You probably wouldn’t want the same questions asked to you.
a. What if I asked the equivalent of these questions about your bio kids? “Ooh! Kids! Vaginal or cesarean?” “What race is your husband? Black? White? Hispanic?” “Are your kids all related? Do they have the same dad?”
b. If I did this, you’d probably punch me. Or at the very least be SUPER offended.
3. You need to learn when to quit.
a. Thank you for telling me you think my kids are cute. You don’t have to repeat it 100 times so that you appear to not notice they are a different race. You don’t have to repeat it 100 times to validate me. You don’t have to repeat it 100 times in hopes I will give you the juicy details of their adoptions.
b. If you must ask a few questions, keep it minimal. Ask how old they were when I adopted them or where they are from, then QUIT. Do not ask me how much my children COST (see point # 2!), and don’t ask the other things I’ve listed here. Don’t ask if the birthmom was a drug addict. Don’t ask if its an open or closed adoption. Just STOP while you are ahead and we will both leave the conversation happy!
4. All children that are black and adopted are not from another country. Enough said on this.
5. Don’t assume I can’t have biological kids.
a. And DO NOT ask me why I didn’t have “my own”. I have two of my own. They are the two children who are sitting in the shopping cart. The two children who you are portraying that you see as less legitimate than biological kids. The two children who are listening to this conversation.
I realize that when I chose (yes, it was a CHOICE!) to adopt transracially, I opened my life to more stares and more questions that those with children of their same skin color. And I LOVE adoption. I’m PROUD of my kids. I CELEBRATE our differences and the way our family was put together. I want to you to be interested in adoption. I want to have positive conversations that educate and promote about adoption. And this is why I will continue to answer your questions politely and in a way that honors & protects my kids. This is why I won’t smack yah, and I won’t roll my eyes. But I want you to know that sometimes these conversations hurt my feelings. And I want you to know that sometimes your questions can make you sound like an idiot.