I have four children who came to me both through biological pregnancy and through foster care adoption. Parents who have adopted can and will field a variety of questions, many of which are well meaning but come across as intrusive and rude.
The one that takes the cake for me is when people ask me which of my children are “real,” thus implying that some of my children are fake. Yes, I know what they mean. They want to know who out of my four are biologically mine and who is adopted. I get it.
But when children hear someone say this, it tells them that being adopted means being less than a biological child. It tells them that adopted kids aren’t good enough, not really a part of their family.
Adopted children are very real. They still skin their knees, they still need help with homework. They still need the monsters chased from their closets, especially since children who come from environments and have sometimes experienced very real monsters in their previous lives.
If someone really wants to know, it’s best to simply ask, “Which if your children is adopted?” Please don’t negate a child’s place in their family by asking if he or she is real.
Another popular question is “Where are his real parents?” I am a real mom and I am right here. Real child. Real parent. Parents who have adopted still care for their children day in and day out.
Adoption means I am a child’s real mother, my husband is a real father. In fact, when a child is adopted, a new birth certificate is issued listing adoptive parents with their child.
It’s natural to wonder where a child’s biological parents are or where the child came from; but truly it is none of your business. There’s often little to no information on biological parents for children adopted internationally. For domestic adoptions and foster adoptions, adoptive parents may know details, but most likely want to protect their child’s privacy and that of the biological family. It’s best to just leave that question out all together.
Many adoptive parents would prefer you just leave the word “adoptive” out entirely when you are describing them.
You don’t describe your cousin’s children as, “Bailey who was a home waterbirth, and Jaden who was an emergency c-section,” when introducing them.
They’re just parents with children, as are adoptive families.
When you are a family, it does not matter if you share blood lines or physical features with your children. What matters is that you share love and memories and a desire to see those children grow to be amazing human beings.
And that’s the most real part of all.
TALK TO ALLISON
Allison Wells is a mom of four and wife of one. She's a writer, unpublished (for now) novelist, and creator of Clemson Area Moms on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter at @OrangeAllison.