Most of you will be familiar with the post that Tertia has on her blog, the one about being a good friend to an Infertile, well yesterday Joni and I got chatting about how we should do something similar, put together a piece about Adoption Etiquette, what to say and what not to say. We agreed to think about it for a while and then sit down and put the whole thing together. I know off the top of my head there are a few that come to mind straight away, but as each adoption is different, each adopter’s experience will also be different. With that in mind, I thought it would be kind of cool to make this a collaboration between us all, check out what I’ve listed below and then in the comments section leave your points as well, note, you don’t have to have adopted to participate, if you considering adoption or still in the treatment phases but adoption has crossed your mind at some point, then drop me a comment on what would and wouldn’t be ok for you.
So here are the things I thought of off the top of my head:
1. Any comment or question pertaining to the race of the baby, remember its nobodies business. So no matter how subtle or innocent you think your question is, it’s not ok to ask if the couple are adopting a child of colour and in the same vein, it’s not ok to expect a couple who have adopted a white child to explain their choice or decision to you.
2. Questions or comments relating to the birth mom or birth parents, again , this is none of your business. I HATE it that people think its ok to ask questions about our birth mom. That is Ava’s story, it’s for her and her alone and has nothing to do with anyone else. I will not share her history with the world, it is her story to tell and she alone will tell it.
3. Do not assume that the birth mom is a slutty whore who threw her child away, if you haven’t adopted, you cannot begin to imagine or know all that goes on behind that mother’s decision to give her baby up and its been my experience that in fact all the birth mom’s I know of, through friends who have adopted, are beautiful women with selfless spirits that love their children so much they choose to offer them a life they know they’re not in a position to give.
4. The statement: “I’d never be able to adopt” or “I’d never be able to raise someone else’s child” should never be said to someone you know has adopted – firstly, you don’t know what you’d do if you were faced with the choice of being childless, nobody knows till they get to that point where living childless becomes a very real and terrifying possibility/reality. Secondly, children from adoption are not someone else’s child, they are our children, in every possible way, bar one.
5. (the one that really makes me see red) That you could never adopt because you want to leave a legacy…. live in the 21st century please…. a strand of DNA does not make a legacy, a legacy is raising a loving, fair-minded, intelligent child who grows up to be an active and contributing member of society, who, through your nurturing, leave their mark on society, that is a legacy, that is what others will know, not a strand of DNA. An adopted child is recognized by law as your legacy, all traces of their birth parents are removed from their birth certificates and their records are sealed, our names, as the adoptive parents are then put in their birth certificates, this means that the adoptive mom becomes the birth mom and the adoptive father becomes the birth father in the eyes of the law and the state.
6. But you don’t know what you’re getting… well wake up and smell the coffee… even if you had a child that was genetically your own, you wouldn’t know what you’re getting! You could land up with a child that has any number of problems. So adopting or not adopting has very little to do with that.
7. But what if you don’t love them like you should? Well seriously, did you ever get a new puppy and not love it? Believe me when I say to you that the love one feels for that tiny, helpless being the second you know they’re your responsibility to raise and nurture comes NO WHERE CLOSE to the love you feel for your puppy. As infertiles we often compare our dogs/cats to what it must be like having a child one day. As somebody who recently crossed over, let me assure… there is no comparison, if you take the way you feel about your furbaby and multiply that an infinite number of times you still wouldn’t get to anywhere near the love of a child, your child. You couldn’t possibly love a biological child anymore than you would an adopted child. If you believe that then you have no understanding of the human heart and of the human spirit to nurture and love.
8. What if they’re ugly? Well honey, have you looked in the mirror lately? Do you really believe that you’re going to create a Mr or Mrs Universe? And besides what on earth has that got to do with the love of a child, your child? Again, don’t confuse a strand of DNA for the love of a child.
9. And the one that makes me want to smack people, really hard, on the back of the head…. “Oh so you adopted, you know you’re going to fall pregnant now hey?” Really? That is the exception and not the rule people!
What have you got to add?