Wednesday, July 6, 2011

One of Them Was Adopted

I am finding it difficult to go out anywhere without questions about our babies. How are they so close together? And the only answer I have is, "Because one of them was adopted." But, of course, that brings the next obvious question..."which one?"

It's not that Jackson's adoption is a secret, or anything that we are ashamed of. But, I do want him to be able to share with the people he wants, when he wants. And that is just not possible right now because of the obvious small age difference between them. One of the reasons we decided to not adopt trans-racially was because we didn't want our child's story to be obvious every time we went out with him. We wanted our family to be able to be out and about and not have to tell our story every time we drew any kind of attention. I admire families who are able to do this around issues of race, ethnicity, etc. We just didn't feel up to it.

But, of course, things did not go quite as we planned. We do draw attention, and therefore questions. And so now we are faced with an interesting dilemma. How do we explain our situation without Jackson's entire story being a part of the conversation? First people want to know which one was adopted, then they want to know WHY we adopted - because, of course, if we can have biological children, why would we adopt? That is our culture's understanding of adoption - people only do it as a last resort. Adoption was never our last resort, but it was our answer to the never-ending loss that trying to conceive produced for us. So, of course, when people ask, I feel compelled to tell people that we had trouble conceiving...because I know the assumption behind the question. But is it really their business why we adopted? I love people's open and honest curiosity, I really do. I want our story to be heard, the hope in it is beautiful. I just want it to be done in a way that respects each and every one of our family members.

I am so proud of our family, of how we came together, of the clear hand of God in all of it. We could not have planned out or produced such a unique and gorgeous family ourselves. So, my hesitation at telling the entire story to every stranger has nothing to do with shame! Mostly, I want to protect Jackson. As he gets older, I do not want him to feel like his story is not his own, that every stranger on the street now knows it, that he is singled out as "the adopted one" in our family. So, I have to figure out a way to answer probing questions with vagueness as well as kindness. I know some of you reading have been there, or are currently there, with your children. Any ideas are more than welcomed!


  1. My daughter was adopted by a family that had a biological child a few years later so I am sure they didn't get the same questions. I wouldn't want my daughter to have grown up thinking that everyone labels her as the adopted one.
    I really don't have any advice but hope as they get older the questions will be less or some other blogger comes up with the advice on how to deal with them. I suppose you could just act like your shocked that there is two of them or something silly like that. :)

  2. Wow, that is a tough one. You do'nt want him to think you all are ashamed or that adoption is a bad thing, but you also don't want it to be the main topic of ever conversation.
    I hope that someone has a great answer for you!

  3. Hmm, when they ask which one you could pull the, "That's for me to know and you to find out" from jr high! :) Or the less snarky "you know I can't remember, they are both my children and I love them very much!"

    I see your point, I struggle with who to tell and getting out the word on adoption and who is just being nosy and is it their business? hard, hard.

  4. I think there will be times when you will want to share your story of what God brought about in your family, but I definitely think there will be many times when it would be appropriate to guard Jackson's story. For those situations, there is one response I read somewhere that might work, when someone asks "which one?" you could respond, "If you can't tell, then neither will I."

  5. when someone asks "which one?" you could respond, "If you can't tell, then neither will I."

    This is a fantastic answer. Our oldest is half hispanic and is mine biologically but she does not look like my husband or I. We get asked about her all the time so I understand your pain. I honestly think people don't understand how rude they are acting. Good luck.

  6. I know exactly what you mean. When people comment to me "Wow, you don't look like you just had a baby 8 months ago!" It's hard to tell if they are complimenting me or if they are just being plain nosy. If it's just the random stranger at the grocery store, I usually just smile politely. Afterall, who are they that I should just spill my guts out to?! With other acquaintences who may not know our story, I'm pretty open. Like you said, it's not like it should be kept a secret. I want people (but not complete strangers)to know how blessed and proud I am to be the mother of our precious child.

  7. As I see it, you have two options. One, just say politely that "I am so glad you cannot tell which one is adopted; I do not even think of either of them like that, and it makes me happy that we look like one biological family." Or just lie and say that they are 10 months apart and not 6.

    This will get easier as they grow older - and the 6 month age gap will be less significant as they start doing the same things. Hang in there. It sucks to have to answer to nosy people.

  8. Nosy people are such a pet peeve of mine! You got some great advice! My sister has adopted twice from Guatemala and then gave birth to her biological daughter (about 7 months difference with the youngest two). She often gets asked, "Are they REAL sisters??" She always responds with a YES, but typically people continue to ask, but are they "REAL" sisters?? Some people just don't deserve a response!

  9. Good news is since Jackson is a boy, he could end up getting bigger quicker than Addison so that the age gap will look bigger. Soon, it will just look like you had very close pregnancies.

    Either way, your family is amazing, your story is inspirational, and you are incredible!

  10. I'd either answer with "It's a miracle!" or just "We're blessed!". It's the truth and it's vague enough that it doesn't give them the whole story. I know I ask a lot of questions but more for my own personal quest for a child then to pry into your lives. I can't imagine how often you get asked these things.

  11. What a dilemma. It' hard to have to always explain the closeness in age. When they go to school they will be in different grades so that will help, but until then which is quite a few years from now I like this comment;
    As I see it, you have two options. One, just say politely that "I am so glad you cannot tell which one is adopted; I do not even think of either of them like that, and it makes me happy that we look like one biological family." Or just lie and say that they are 10 months apart and not 6.

  12. I like Becky's response! I totally understand wanting to guard his story. We only have one baby that we adopted so strangers don't know that. I did have a lady come up to me at a restaurant while we were on vacation and ask how my stomach was so flat with such a little baby. I told her she hadn't seen me naked. ha!

    Whatever you decide will be perfect because you love them both so much and will do what's best for them!

  13. I love the new banner btw.And what great answers here.
    I love just looking at people, and smiling when they ask questions I am not interested in answering. My best line at those moments has been;
    "thank you for your interest in my family. We are indeed so blessed." And that is all. I just keep smiling. Just practice whatever line you are comfortable with over and over.
    We don't get asked so much anymore, because my kids aren't babies, and folks tend to be less intrusive when the kids could respond...