Transracial Adoption Part Two - Choosing How To Respond To 20 Questions
This was us - 6 kids, aged 6 years old and younger! And yes, we hiked the mountains in Virginia together!
In Part 1 of this post I talked about how we are a walking billboard for transracial adoption. Then comes the questions from people. You have several choices in how you respond to people’s questions: you can educate, ignore, stand up for what is right, and respond with laughter. As an adoption consultant with Christian Adoption Consultants I work tirelessly to support and encourage my families in every realm of their adoption journey. One way is having open and honest conversations about transracial adoption. There are never any easy answers, but I do my best to share thoughts to help my families process and be informed about transracial adoption.
You can choose to educate people about adoption with your responses to strangers. Being an educator by profession I love answering questions for families. How do you get started in the adoption process? How can you afford adoption? What are the steps in adoption? I love pointing people to the right resources because most people don’t even know where to start the adoption process because it can be so overwhelming. This is where Christian Adoption Consultants can be such a huge help!
You can choose to ignore people’s stares and questions. Like I mentioned in my last post, I chose to think positively about why people would stop and stare at us. In this way some people would say I was choosing to hide and in some ways that may be true, but if I stopped every time someone stopped, stared, or whispered I am not sure I could get things done either. I have had people at the cash register more than once say something very insensitive or rude and have walked away with my teeth clenched or with angry glances.
Sometimes you have to stand up for what is right. How can I do that in a way that is honoring and yet gets the point across? We had an employee at a restaurant we were at with the kids who was asking some normal questions about adoption. Our youngest two children at the time were hugging, giggling, and shared a sweet kiss on the cheek. The employee just didn’t understand, that even though our children are not biologically related, they could be like any other brothers and sisters. I really struggled in the moment and then I blurted out that our children love each other just like any other family does. Biology has nothing to do with being able to show love, after all when you get married you don’t share biology with your spouse.
Sometimes you handle life with humor because in the moment you have to laugh or cry. We have a friend who was told that her daughter wasn’t her “real” daughter. She responded that she was indeed her “plastic” daughter. When people ask us, “Do you have any of your OWN children?”, our response in humor is, “Just the nine!”
I think the most important part of this is to talk it through with your children. Ask them if they noticed the comment. What did they think and feel about what was said to your family? Would they have responded differently? Do they think how you responded was good? We have open conversations with our kids because they are going to need practice in responding to negativity, whether it is about skin color or things that people say and do throughout life.
Check out Part 3 of this post about transracial adoption - "When It Breaks Your Heart".
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