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Hi, I’m Angie. I was adopted at birth. Finding out this fact starts some pretty interesting conversations, and brings up some questions. Some of these questions are a little…dumb.
Now, the point of this post, and the others in my “Dumb Things” series, isn’t to shame anyone. Rather, I want to shed light on some of the things I get asked, and educate people on why these questions might be a little insensitive. I hope you’ll just read with an open mind and maybe learn something new. Ready?
Then without further ado, “Dumb Things I’ve Heard as An Adoptee.”
Do You Know Your REAL Mom?
Lawd. This is always the first one. If I’d had a dollar for every time someone asked me this….. Do I know my “real” mom? Yeah. I live with her. She’s thrown me birthday parties, listened to me cry about boyfriends, grounded me for breaking curfew, and taken my panicked phone calls when I don’t know what the heck is going on with my kids.
I think what you’re asking is, do I know anything about the woman who carried me and gave birth to me. We refer to this as a “biological family”. I wasn’t raised by this woman, but I share her DNA. That’s a better way to ask that question-“Do you know anything about your biological family?” Phrasing it the other way implies that I have a second rate mom because she didn’t give birth to me, and that’s just not true. I know that’s not what you mean, but that’s what adopted people hear.
Do You Want To Find Your Family?
My adoption, like most in the early 80’s, was a “closed” adoption. That means my parents received no information about my biological parents, and my biological parents gave up all their rights. It was intended that all ties were cut and both parties could live out their lives with no interaction whatsoever.
This is a pretty personal question. I think people ask because it’s fascinating to them that someone would not know the person who gave birth to them. But for most of my life, unless someone asked about it, I didn’t really think about it much.
The choice to pursue one’s biological roots is a personal one. Every adoptee has different feelings about this. Some want a relationship with their bio family, some just want details of their birth, and some never care to look. All of these are acceptable, and honestly, not really any of your business. For some adoptees this is a really emotional thing. They may not want to share everything with you. So I just wouldn’t ask this question at all, and wait to see what information the adoptee volunteers.
Were You in Foster Care?
Yikes. I wasn’t, but I don’t know that I’d want to share all that if I was. My journey is my journey. Again, this isn’t really any of your business. Let the adoptee guide the conversation. They’ll volunteer the information they’re comfortable with.
Adoption is a different way of making a family, but not a second rate one. It’s unique, but not weird. And there are a lot of feelings and sometimes some trauma involved. The depth of feeling that goes with adoption makes it best to keep your curiosity in check and let the adopted party tell you what they feel comfortable with. Lots of adopted people, like myself, will gladly entertain your questions and even help you understand what it’s like. But others may struggle with their feelings of loss or trauma surrounding their adoptions . However that information is volunteered, be a listener. Your understanding and sensitivity will be so appreciated!
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, I’d love it if you checked out some of the other posts in this series. Or, come like my page “Angiessentials” on Facebook and get to know me better!