A while ago I was thinking of adopting child. When I told a friend she asked, "But don't you want any of your own?" I was floored. Years later, a co-worker always referred to her friend's kid as "Lisa's adopted baby." That would be like saying, "Lisa's egg donor baby" or "Lisa's IVF baby" or "Lisa's got-drunk-and-forgot-to-use-a-condom baby." Grrrr.
I just don't get it. Even the press feels the need to distinguish between a couple's biological and adopted children: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ave "three biological kids and three adopted kids." Why don't they just have six kids? I never did adopt (although I haven't ruled it out), but all of this drives me completely nuts. I can't imagine how such remarks affect someone who has adopted a child.
As a Baby Mama I'm around other Baby Mamas who conceived their children in all kinds of ways and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. So I asked one of my friends here at CafeMom who has adopted, Katie (the very proud Baby Mama of 13-month-old JayLyn), if she could help us out. Here, she gives us the five don'ts when speaking to a Baby Mama who is considering adoption or who has already adopted.
1. Don't Tell Her Horror Stories
If someone is starting out in the adoption process, don't tell her about all the failed adoptions you've heard about, read about, or even been through yourself. "Congratulate her!" says Katie.
2. Don't Refer to the "Real" Mother
Katie was at the social security office filing a name change for her daughter after the adoption had been finalized. The clerk asked, "Does her real mother have anything to do with her?" She quickly responded, "Yup, I'm with her every day!"
3. Don't Ask if The Baby is "Hers"
"The other day while shopping with my daughter, I was asked by four people, four people, while just in one store, if JayLyn was mine," says Katie. "Yup. She's mine all right. All Mine! Why do people think it is their business to say that to a stranger?"
4. Don't Say, "Where is the Baby From?"
"Our daughter is Native American, Asian, and Hispanic," Katie says. "We are Caucasian. While out, people look at her and say, 'China?' She is from Iowa! Born Here! Adopted here! Just because she is not Caucasian that doesn't mean she was an international adoption. The United States is a culturally diverse country. In many domestic adoptions, the child has a different ethnic background than the parents."
5. Don't be Afraid to ask Genuine Questions
Katie says, "I can only speak for myself, but I love to talk about our adoption if the person asks in a nice way. I just hate the rude sideways looks and blunt questions. All someone has to do is show an interest in our story and I love to share. I always figure they could be thinking about adoption and then I know they are really asking because they are scared about their own journey."
Written by Suzanne for CafeMom.