Are You a REAL Family?

24 Oct

In our last post we started a discussion on the questions adoptive parents get from friends, family and strangers.  I think The Honest Momblog sums it up best:  “”You know how everyone always says “there’s no such thing as a stupid question?” That is so not true.””

She’s right – it’s not true at all.

The Honest Momblog has written up an excellent post on “Stupid Adoption Questions” and she has a great three-tiered approach which she explains here:  “First is my reasoned, by-the-book answer; next is the snarky answer I think of later, when I’m brooding at home; and lastly is the answer that comes from the giant chip I sometimes find on my shoulder.”   She felt that some of the ways to answer these questions that she found in books weren’t anything she could actually hear herself saying.

I think one of the questions that often gnaws at adoptive parents are the questions about your family being “real” – i.e. Are those your real children?  Are you the real mother/father/parents?  Who is their real mother/father/parent?  Here is here three-tiered answer to questions about the real mother:

I love this one. When I’m feeling generous, I say, “Do you mean his birth mother?” Other times I say, “What isn’t real about me?” And when I feel the weight of the heavy chip on my shoulder, I say, “I think wiping his poopy bottom sixteen times a day, getting up in the middle of the night to soothe him, and lugging him down here to the playground qualifies me as his real mother. Don’t you?” That usually sends the questioner packing and leaves me feeling more than a tad self-righteous.

Some days this question will seem humorous – and other days it will seem downright irritating and even rude.  Jeffry Dwight, who has two adopted sons, echoes these sentiments, “Before I got the boys, I’d heard that people asked stupid questions about adoption, but I didn’t really believe it. Wow, was I wrong.”  While Jeffry’s quips and snappy responses aren’t for everyone – adoptive parents can definitely relate to his humor even if it isn’t something they could see themselves saying.  Here are a few of his responses to these questions he has been asked – you can check out his website to read the entire list.

Q.  “Are those your real children?” A.  (Long pause) “Yes. I keep the imitations in the hall closet.”

Q.  (After establishing I’d adopted both) “Are they brothers?” A.  “No, they’re sisters who happen to be very very butch.”

Q.  (Another person) “Are they brothers?” A.  “If they weren’t before, they are now.”

Q.  “Where’s their real father?” A.  “My God! Have I gone invisible again? Sorry, I try not to let that happen in public.”

All humor aside – adoptive parents should never forget or let anyone make them feel that they are not real parents, with real children that make up a real family that is forever.  Do you need help getting your real family started?  Contact us to start or continue your adoption journey.