I’d wave it and magically remove the insecurity *some* adoptive parents have over commonly used terms that offend them, every time. Terms that aren’t going to magically disappear from the lexicon. Terms like ‘real’ in reference to a biological family. I’d also bestow on you the ability to take the power away from terms like ‘real’.
And, you know what else I’d take away? This idea that everyone else (those outside of adoption) must educate themselves about adoption and know exactly what is okay, and what isn’t.
Why, oh why, do you let a word have the power to make you feel so small? It’s just a word. The only people who matter are your friends and family.
Why play the – if they use ‘real’ they obviously mean we are fake game with yourselves. Why assume they have that intention? Why not assume they are just using the term ‘real’ because it is the norm, not a put-down?
The term ‘real’ isn’t going away. Positive adoption language has been around since the 1980’s, even if you take that decade away because there wasn’t the internet and focus on the last couple of decades, it’s still not going away. Stretch yourself back to your pre-adoption era, did you use ‘real’? Did you mean it as a slur on adoptive families? Did you mean adoptive parents were fake? No? You used it because it meant biological? Then why assume that using ‘real’ now means fake?
And let’s be honest, this whole latest internet dust-up with article after article written about how horrible the comment was, centers around the fact that you hear you aren’t a ‘real’ parent any time someone stumbles over terms, or is being ignorant, deliberately or just unaware.
Why do I care so much to write another post? You are raising adoptees. They deserve to know you are the calm port to come to when they need you. They don’t need you questioning who you are, who your family is, because somebody said something the wrong way. They need to learn how to embrace being a different type of family.
Another reason. You took offense and completely obliterated the story of an amazing person. This amazing person is also an adoptee, which means, your children will have another person they can identify with, because, they too are adopted, just like she is. But, based on the thousands of comments by upset parents about an ignorant comment, your needs came first and, that angst is being translated to your children even if you don’t say a word.
Why not be proud you are a parent by adoption?
Why not take the power away from the word ‘real’ and embrace being known as an adoptive parent? Embrace being different from the norm. Adoptees like me have taken the power back, we are adopted, not were, we are, always will be. We are different. We own it. It is who we are.
Who are you? That’s the question you need to wrestle with.