Saturday, June 16, 2012

Do you have any kids of your own?

Do you have any kids of your own? 

I get this question often. I don't usually get too hung up on word choices. I try to listen to people's hearts and not the individual words. But this one really gets to me. I know what people are asking. They are trying to understand our story. Have you been pregnant before? Have you ever had an infant? Are there more kids in the picture? Do you have anyone to carry on your DNA? I'm not sure why any of these underlying questions matter enough to imply that my kids aren't real enough.

Just once I would like to answer by saying: "We walked through hell and back to be a family. What more would make them my own?"

I do realize that there is a difference. The fact is that I have no idea what it is like to have an infant or even a toddler. I have no idea what it is like to have just one kid, or even 2 or 3. I understand that. 

Thankfully so far, the kids haven't picked up on this... yet... I think... but they probably wouldn't let on if they did. They know that we are not the same color. Shocking, I know! Approximately 27 years of life occurred for them before we ever met. They know that they are different, that our family is different. Does it really need to be pointed out, clarified, and confirmed?

I promise you that I can't remember which people have asked thisIf you have said this before, please don't apologize. I realize that you probably meant no harm at all. But because you don't mean any harm, please, just promise me you won't ever use these words again. Would it be better to ask if we have biological children? No, not really. It just isn't worth risking making a child feel like less a part of the family. So what is okay to say? What if you want to show your support? What if you are interested in possibly adopting someday and you just want to get the conversation started? Try: I would love to hear more about your family and each of your kids.

Most adoptive families are willing to share their story if it can be done without negatively impacting their kids. So if someone declines to chat, just know that it probably has nothing to do with you personally.

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