Seems like I’m always writing posts to adopting and adoptive parents, and yet, and here I am again on the same quest. It’s a new day and new try in finding the words you may be able to hear and understand the disconnect I see everywhere I look between adoptive parents and adoptees.
How about vowing to never ask an adoptee if their adoption experience was positive or negative and/or if they love their adoptive parents?
Why? Because what you are asking them is not only rude, they are also deeply personal questions that seldom have an easy yes or no answer and even if they did answer, you’ve received an incomplete and utterly useless answer if you are wanting to do the best you can for your child. How would you answer a question that expects a yes or no answer when the yes or no question encompasses your entire life to date? Or do you really think an adoptee can live a charmed life of happily ever after with nary a thought about being adopted and everything in their life was beautiful, or they lived the polar opposite? Or did you ever consider that an answer to such a complicated life could be both, and based on the age, the answer may change, that lived experiences and wisdom gained create richer and fuller answers that are seldom black and white, but will offer a wealth of wisdom to store away?
Many times I’ve asked myself if people really see adoptees as unique people with deeply complicated stories? So I’m asking you to answer that question – how do you see adoptees?
If you want to know how different adoptees have reacted to having adoption as their story, why not ask them about their adoption experience, what was easy, what was challenging, how their feelings changed over time? By asking that way you are acknowledging that adoption is a solution for a child who needed a family which is never optimal and you start with the premise that the results will be mixed, some good, some bad, some okay, and that most adoptees will have a mix of all. Asking open-ended questions will also likely free them to offer ways that helped and didn’t help at specific stages in their answers. Asking that way will provide you a wealth of information rather than asking limiting questions with yes or no answers ever will.
If you change your approach you’ll gain knowledge, adoptees will feel respected instead of used and judged. Try it, because these rude, shallow, yes or no questions won’t give you the knowledge you need to be the best parent you can be to your child.
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein