We are at the point in little M’s life, and general grasp of people’s tones and body language, not to mention that we hope she is starting to understand English, that we are becoming very sensitive to how we handle questions about her. Mainly questions from strangers, some just curious, but some completely inappropriate. I find myself not caring about what strangers think of me as I completely blow them off, but very protective of little M and her privacy. I also am wondering about the vibes I am giving little M. I want her to know that her history, and her family, are her business, and that we do NOT have to share anything personal with strangers. When I am being protective of privacy, I also want to be careful not to convey that little M has anything in her history that we are ashamed of, just because I don’t talk to everyone about it.
I don’t want her to feel that we have anything to hide, and, when she can fully understand us, she will hear that her history and “adoption talk” are commonplace in our household.
You would be shocked at some of the things we have heard from complete strangers.
Asking where little M’s mom is from, or if she is Chinese is inappropriate, and could be confusing to a toddler who is in the process of attaching to her mom at the moment.
Even asking where she is from is quite nosy, but I understand people’s curiosity.
Asking how much a child cost, or how much we paid to get her, is just crazy, and so grossly inappropriate.
Even asking us if we couldn’t have kids of our own can give little M the wrong impression. She IS our own, and we ARE her real parents. Likewise, referring to her as our adopted child puts an unnecessary label on her. Children are children, whether they are adopted or biological. No one refers to biological kids as such, and giving adopted kids this label can make them feel less than, or inferior to, a biological child. Yes, she is adopted, but that is not her title.
I have been asked where her real parents are, why they didn’t keep her, and told that what China does to their girls is just awful. I think I mumbled something like “not really,” and got away from that person as quickly as I could.
The husband was asked one morning as he was out with little M, what nationality was she, and is her mom Chinese? The husband was so caught up in the monumental mess little M was making with breakfast, that he didn’t engage with her, but it did make us think about how we need to be responding to nosy people.
Little M is very aware when people talk about her, and I can only hope that her hearing issues are not allowing her to hear some of the things people say.
And I hope that she is able to grasp some of the sweet and kind things that people say, as well.
I can’t say how much I appreciate people who notice that little M and I look different, but simply say how beautiful, or how cute my daughter is. Just “my daughter,” not my “adopted daughter.” Those people…maybe they are adoptive parents themselves, or maybe they just get it, but those people can sometimes move me to tears with their quiet, sweet sensitivity and their genuine compliments. Those are the people I want to hug, and thank. I hope I am as sensitive and kind to others who are “different” as these wonderful strangers have been to us.