Friday, March 29, 2013

Today I Read Something Amazing

One of the hardest things to get used to as an adoptive parent, specifically, is the questions that you get from strangers.

It's no secret that adoptive families (and foster families and step-families and blended families and I'm sure even traditional families)... all face comments and questions from the general public from time to time that are... well, unexpected.  I was going to say 'unwelcome,' but that's not always the case.

Most of the time, I consider these comments and questions to be 'teaching moments.'  Yes, sometimes the cashier at the grocery store looks at my son, smiles, looks at me and asks me, "where did you get him?"  Undoubtedly this is mostly because our son is a different race than we are.  I usually kindly reply, "his birthfamily is from ____."  I remember, years ago, reading a post somewhere talking about humorous replies to this question.  Replies like, "Oh, I saw him sitting outside Walmart and couldn't help myself," or "he was out on the curb on trash day!"

Sometimes I even have the impulse to say "straight out of the chute, thanks for asking!"

Again, most of the time these questions just present themselves to me as opportunities to educate someone about adoption and I love that.  On the days when I'd really rather not get the questions, let alone attempt to formulate answers, I do it anyway, to be polite.

Today, I read a post all about this very topic and it really cast a new light on this whole subject.  You should go READ IT.  The author makes a lot of good points, but the one that resonated most with me is the importance of always handling these situations positively and with grace.  There is a way to answer the question, kindly and positively, without giving away your child's personal history.  

Furthermore, Aidan is now the age where he is picking up on things when I don't even realize it.  

He will be watching my reaction from now on when these questions come up.  The way I answer them could actually shape how he feels about his adoption and, by extension, himself.  I want him to be proud of where he comes from, both genetically and environmentally.  He's a beautiful child inside and out, and a miracle walking around in human skin as far as I'm concerned.  I don't ever want him to feel like less than that.  On the hard days, when I wish people would just keep their mouths shut, I still need to remember that he's paying attention.  He'll learn how to handle these questions by watching how I do it.

Suddenly I find myself almost looking forward to the next time the grocery store cashier asks me, "how old was he when you got him?"

Almost.