Where Did You Get Him?

October 20, 2014

 
 A big part of me wants to start off with a rant.  You know what I mean, other parents in unique families: Where did I "get" him?  Is my beautiful new son a sweater?  I didn't "get" him from anywhere!  He was born and placed with us by someone who loved him more than she loved herself.  Where did you "get" your kids?!  Are Sky and Fire related?  Would this little girl be calling me "Mama" and tattling on this little boy, who also just called me "Mama" if they weren't brother and sister? 
  But I know that won't do any good to get angry.  All that will do is offend the person asking the question.  It won't change the way they approach the next unique family they see.  I understand where the questions come from.  I have that same curiosity when I see other families that stand out.  Call me nosy but I want to know everyone else's story and to share mine.
  But- and that's a big BUT- just because you're curious doesn't mean you have the right to be rude.  Just because you're curious doesn't mean you need to satisfy that curiousity.  Just because you're curious doesn't mean you have a right to know our story. 

  Below are some of the most common questions that D and I get about our kids. There are several ways I could, and have, answered each question so I included those as well.

-Where did you get him? 
(We've gotten this one a lot about Water.  His features don't make him easy to place in a category and that piques people's curiousity.)
Angry answer to rude question: see above
Polite answer to rude question: My son was born in Seattle and we adopted him there.
A better way to ask: Where was your child born?

-What is he?
(I was shocked the first time some one asked this about Sky.  I know what they want to know but I couldn't believe that they couldn't find a better way to ask it.)
Angry answer to rude question: A child, my child! Why, is your kid a horse?
Polite answer to rude question: Are you asking about my child's ethnicity?  He's African American.
A better way to ask: What is your child's ethnicity?

-How much did he/she cost?
Angry answer to rude question: I didn't buy my kids at a store!  I didn't buy them at all.  We had to spend money to bring them into our family, just like you had to pay the hospital bill when you had your kids.
Polite answer to rude question: The agency and lawyers fees vary for every adoption but the kids were free.
A better way to ask: I've heard that adoption can be expensive.  Your kids are priceless but do you mind if I ask about the fees for their adoption?

-Are they related?
Angry answer to rude question: see above
Polite answer to rude question: yes, through David and I but not biologically.
A better way to ask: Are they biological siblings?

-Why were they given up?
Angry answer to rude question: That's none of your business!
Polite answer to rude question: That's a very personal question.  My children's stories are their own and we don't share them with everyone.
A better way to ask: There really isn't one.  Each person's story, adopted or not, is their own.  If you're genuinely interested in adoption or think you may share a similar experience with someone, initiate a real friendship. 


  Please think before you ask these kinds of questions!  I'm usually very happy to talk about adoption but only if I (and my family) are approached in a respectful way.  A variation of the Golden Rule is a good way to remember it: If you wouldn't want to answer the question yourself, don't ask it of others.

 
What is the best or worst question you or your family been on the recieving end of?  How did you answer? 



 

16 comments

  1. The best two I ever received actually happened in the course of 30 minutes by two different people. The first was "did you inherit him?" To which I just walked away. The second still makes me laugh. A person who knew me before I got married and also knew what my husband looked like asked me "who is that baby's momma?" to which I replied I was. He asked the question again with more emphasis on who and again I replied I was. Then he asked me if my husband knew. I said yes. Cracks me up!

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    1. How would you "inherit" a child? What a crazy question!
      I've gotten that same question about being somone's mama before but mostly people will ask me who (or what- a particularly rude way to phrase it) the daddy is. It would be a bit of a stretch for any of my kids to be biologically mine but when it's just me with them, that's what we get.
      And being honest is usually the best- and funniest- answer. I love seeing the confusion on peoples faces :)

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  2. Hello! It is a pleasure to finally read your blog. What a joy to learn about you and your beatufiul family! You may not remember me, but I was your server at That's Amore Italian Cafe, in Seattle. You came in with your new son, Water, and enjoyed a nice meal overlooking the city while your new baby slept peacefully. We talked about adoption and I mentioned my bilingual children's book series, Doley the Guatemalan Street Dog. This series was inspired by my "adoption" of a street dog named Doley. She was a great gift in my life and inspired this wonderful series of books. Maybe your family will enjoy the stories as well - you can learn more at www.doleybook.com. Most importantly, I just wanted to follow up since you told me about your blog, I am happy to see that your new little boy is looking so healthy and surrounded by love. What a wonderful life you are all living. All the best. Enjoy!

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    1. Hi Jill, I definitely remember you! I have your card here on my desk and your book is the list for my kids for Christmas, and for my nephews who are in a spanish/bilingual program. It was great to meet you and talk to you a little bit. Thanks a million for helping make my little adoption celebration that night so special.

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  3. My family is Puerto Rican and my sisters and I all came out in different colors, with different hair, and different colored eyes. My mom would always get asked "Oh my gosh, are they all yours?" Or they would assume my lighter sister was hers and my older sister and I were merely her playmates. It is funny in retrospect, but it would always anger my mom. Some people need some Imodium for their mouths. They can't help saying the dumb stuff that pops into their heads. =)

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    1. Isn't it crazy what people will say?! I think that would have made me pretty mad, just like your mom, especially since you were all her biological children. I always want to sass off to people that ask "Are they all yours?" and tell them, "no, all these crazy children hanging on me and calling me mom are complete strangers!"

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  4. I admit I am horrified people are so rude. Congratulations on your family -- you look so happy!

    Blessings.


    Thank you for sharing at the #SHINEbloghop.

    Have a great weekend.

    xoxo
    Tamm

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  5. I would like to say that I can't believe that people who ask such things, but unfortunately I fully do believe it. We haven't even adopted yet (waiting and hoping!) and people already say crazy rude things. My skin gets thicker every day in this process.

    I love your blog and your perspective. Thank you for the transparency in your writing!

    Sarah

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    1. Hi Sarah- thanks for stopping by. For some reason, everyone thinks they can ask the most personal questions of strangers when it comes to things like adoption. Crazy, isn't it?
      Best of luck in your adoption process!

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  6. I read this post a little while ago and just loved it. Just reread it a d enjoyed it just as much the second time. It's absolutely crazy the things people say... Especially in front of kids.

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    1. Thanks Erin- and yes, it amazes me what people will say when they're not really thinking about how it will sound.
      Thanks for hosting the link-up!

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  7. I like the way you laid this post out, with all the different options. You gave your blog a face-lift, yes? It looks really good!

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    1. A face lift is a great way to put it! It just felt like it needed something fresher. Thanks for reading and for your comments. I feel like a lot of people just don't know how to ask some questions so that's why I shared the polite versions.

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  8. It's hard to believe people can be so blunt, but before learning about adoption I would have asked some dumb questions myself, or ask them the wrong way.

    I admire your patience, I would have been much less understanding.

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  9. These questions are mostly horrifying to me because of how my children feel when they hear them.

    I wish the questioners would also think of what kinds of questions they would want their children to overhear- and how those questions would make their children feel.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Nicole! It's amazing what people will say sometimes, isn't it? I think you're right, that a lot of people don't always think before they speak, and they especially don't think about how a child will feel to have something like that asked in their presence.

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