My 3 yr old daughter took this pic of me

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Awkward Questions and Attention

Since becoming a foster parent, I have been asked a lot of questions and I love answering them. I love the interest people have in adoption and I love being able to answer their questions. Sometimes, though, the questions asked can be quite awkward. Here's an example:

My husband and I were in line for the checkout at a store with our 4 kids in tow (2 of them african, 1 blond, and 1 french/cree). A lady behind us asked, "Do they have different dads?" to which I quickly replied, "Yes! They all have different dads :)". I didn't bother explaining and just went on my way, letting her assume whatever she wanted.

I'm sure she was just curious, but the truth is that not much thought went into what she asked. For one, my kids were all standing right there. I don't have any ill feelings toward this woman because she probably didn't think she was doing any harm.

I'm sure that any adoptive family you talk to will tell you the same thing. People ask them awkward questions all the time, and in front of their kids.

"Are these all your real kids?"

"Do you love them the same as your own kids or is it different?"

"Where are their real parents?"

"Do you want more of your own kids?"

All my kids are real. They are all mine. I am their real parent, but I assume you meant their birth parents. They are all my own kids although they may not have come from my body. I really don't mind even the awkward questions sometimes as I know people are just trying to understand and are curious to know more. If you do have a lot of questions for an adoptive parent, try to ask them out of earshot of their children or set up a time to have coffee with them to ask your questions.

I have learned soooo much since becoming a foster/adoptive parent that I had no clue about before. I don't expect people who haven't walked this road to know the do's and don'ts of questioning an adoptive parent. Before you ask a question, though, try to think of how it may come across to the parents and to the kids.

Another thing that I have run into time and again is that our african daughter gets loads of attention and our blond birth daughter gets next to none. People will swoon over Little Flower and go on and on about how beautiful she is and how exquisite she is - and don't get me wrong, she's quite beautiful - but then they will leave and not have said one kind word to our birth daughter, Wild Princess, who is standing right there watching. She is 5 and has been quite hurt a few times from being left out and going unnoticed. I love the compliments we get on Little Flower, but I would rather both girls get compliments or neither of them get compliments.

So please, please continue to ask me as many questions as you like, even awkward ones, and please try to be sensitive, too. :)

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