U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting > Adoption
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-03-2012, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,101 posts, read 2,455,862 times
Reputation: 2076

Advertisements

I just thought about this and since I don't know "adoption etiquette" I thought I'd ask. One of my good friends is adopted and unfortunately his whole family is passed away. His parents died fairly young and his sister, who he wasn't close to, died a year ago. So now he has no family at all and I know that bothers him. We were talking about it the other day, how he feels that he has nobody now and that he sometimes feel lonely because of it. During the discussion I thought about asking him if he's ever thought about searching for his bio family but I didn't say it because I didn't know if it would be rude or overstepping boundaries. I'm pretty sure he has no clue about registries and other methods that are available now to adoptees so I just thought about telling him about the possibilities and letting him do what he wants with the info. Would it be inappropriate to ask him about if he's interested in searching and telling him about what I've read about as far as finding bio family goes? Or is it best to just leave it alone? I was hoping some of the adoptees here could tell me if it's a bad idea or not.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-03-2012, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,011 posts, read 37,933,861 times
Reputation: 45797
Best to leave it alone IMO. That is so personal and he may actually know more than you think and thinks it is not something he wants to discuss. if someone wants to discuss something that personal I think it is best to let them be the one to open that discussion.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2012, 03:09 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
8,596 posts, read 14,400,106 times
Reputation: 8889
Best to leave it alone, he s/he want to tell you they will,

Without going into it and if s/he is willing include them in your family .
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2012, 04:21 PM
 
203 posts, read 179,936 times
Reputation: 302
I'm an adult adoptee who has been in reunion with my natural families for almost 15 years. I would have had absolutely no problem if a *close* friend inquired about my natural families under the circumstances you have described here. Particularly if my close friend was fully aware of the fact that I was an adoptee. My friends brought things up a lot over the years. Never bothered me. They are my friends! A simple "have you thought about your natural family?" from a close friend would have been totally acceptable to me. As long as they accepted my answer, be it "no, let's not bring it up again" or "yes, would you mind if I discussed it with you."

I have been extremely fortunate in that my close friends have supported me no matter what I have needed or not needed regarding my adoption. They listened. They offered support. Again, I don't see an issue with bringing the subject up in a very broad way. No need to bombard him with search registry information, etc. though. Just a friend inquiring. He will let you know if he's interested in discussing the topic. If not, move on to another topic. If yes, listen and see where he is with it all.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2012, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,011 posts, read 37,933,861 times
Reputation: 45797
My response came from how my Korean born daughter reacted when a guy sitting next to her at a college sporting event asked her about "your people". She thought it a very personal question from a virtual stranger. I don't know if any of her friends ever asked her but i certainly had plenty of questions as her mother. I always said "This is her personal information and we will let her decide if and with whom she ever wants to discuss it." that pretty much put an end to the questions. I understand the curiosity but still feel it is up to the adoptee to bring it up if he/she wants to discuss it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2012, 07:27 PM
 
203 posts, read 179,936 times
Reputation: 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
My response came from how my Korean born daughter reacted when a guy sitting next to her at a college sporting event asked her about "your people". She thought it a very personal question from a virtual stranger. I don't know if any of her friends ever asked her but i certainly had plenty of questions as her mother. I always said "This is her personal information and we will let her decide if and with whom she ever wants to discuss it." that pretty much put an end to the questions. I understand the curiosity but still feel it is up to the adoptee to bring it up if he/she wants to discuss it.
I can certainly understand being annoyed by a stranger bringing that sort of thing up. Friends are another story though. My close friends were/are well aware that I'm adopted. I was able to discuss my thoughts and feelings about being adopted with them in a way that I never could with my adoptive parents or family. And I have very much appreciated it when my friends have engaged me in dialogue about how I felt about it instead of always waiting for me to bring it up. Being able to discuss my thoughts with close friends who have my best interests in mind was never off limits for me personally.

It seems to me that the original poster is close friends with the adoptee. And the adoptee has expressed feeling alone and that he no longer has any family. Under the circumstances, I could totally imagine, for example, my college roommate (who was/is one of my closest friends) bringing up my natural family at that moment out of support and caring for me. If I didn't wish to discuss it further, I could simply say so and she would respect my wishes. And if I did wish to discuss it at the moment, I would feel fortunate to have a friend who is sensitive to my unique experience as an adopted person.

I'm just one adoptee, however. Other adoptees might feel differently or approach their friendships in a way that is different from mine.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2012, 07:33 PM
 
1,879 posts, read 1,628,353 times
Reputation: 1448
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
I just thought about this and since I don't know "adoption etiquette" I thought I'd ask. One of my good friends is adopted and unfortunately his whole family is passed away. His parents died fairly young and his sister, who he wasn't close to, died a year ago. So now he has no family at all and I know that bothers him. We were talking about it the other day, how he feels that he has nobody now and that he sometimes feel lonely because of it. During the discussion I thought about asking him if he's ever thought about searching for his bio family but I didn't say it because I didn't know if it would be rude or overstepping boundaries. I'm pretty sure he has no clue about registries and other methods that are available now to adoptees so I just thought about telling him about the possibilities and letting him do what he wants with the info. Would it be inappropriate to ask him about if he's interested in searching and telling him about what I've read about as far as finding bio family goes? Or is it best to just leave it alone? I was hoping some of the adoptees here could tell me if it's a bad idea or not.
We were talking about it the other day, how he feels that he has nobody now and that he sometimes feel lonely because of it. During the discussion I thought about asking him if he's ever thought about searching for his bio family but I didn't say it because I didn't know if it would be rude or overstepping boundaries.

First of all, would I be right in assuming that though you have known him a long time that you have hardly ever discussed adoption with him?

If so, I actually feel that, at THAT particular time, i.e. when he was talking about feeling lonely, it would have been the wrong time to do it because it may have inadvertantly come across as if you felt searching for his bfamily might be a solution to his loneliness.

I also had the following thoughts:
1) He sounds like he was very close to his afamily so he might have interpreted your enquiry as "hey, you have a spare family out there, what about searching for them".
2) Reunion is a very emotional thing, made more difficult by the constructs of modern adoption and thus should be done when a person is in an emotionally stable state where they can accept all outcomes.
Feeling lonely would not be a good reason for searching as one could end up feeling even lonelier depending upon the outcome.

That doesn't mean you can't ask him about it but you need to chose the right moment, perhaps when somehow adoption comes up in another context or perhaps when something comes up on TV.

I think having known him for a long time, it could in some ways make it harder for you to find that right moment especially if, as I said above, his adoption is something that he has never really talked about.

One thing I've found over the last three years since making contact with my bfamily is that when I tell people about meeting them, they will almost always open up about any relationship they have to adoption without my asking them. I discovered the two receptionists I worked with at the time were adoptees; I did ask both of them whether they had ever decided to search for bfamily and one already had, the other felt it would be betraying her family - however, I did not ask the second person anything beyond that basic question.

In my situation, because people told me they were adopted specifically because of my telling them about the experience of meeting bfamily, I had absolutely no qualms in asking them whether they had searched/met for bfamily; however, I then left beyond that basic question up to them - so if they didn't want to talk about it, I didn't usually press it. Sometimes though, they will talk about why they don't want to search and during that conversation, occasionally one might realise that it is due more to fear that a particular person doesn't want to search rather than because they don't want to and then I might try and engage those particular adoptees in conversation about it but again that would depend on the situation.

Last edited by susankate; 11-03-2012 at 07:45 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-04-2012, 01:16 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,101 posts, read 2,455,862 times
Reputation: 2076
It is definitely a sensitive subject and of course should be brought up at the right time by the right person (not a stranger). Mike, my friend, has talked about his adoption in some ways so it has come up. He's talked about things like how he looks so different from his parents (them being small and him being pretty big) and how he has nothing in common with his sister since she too is adopted and they aren't blood related (that's what he said). He's also talked about how his sister has had a lot of problems related to her adoption. To be honest I think he has too but that's just my speculation.
I just thought about asking, if it comes up, if he's ever thought about looking for his bio family and if he says that he's thought about it or is interested in it tell him about some options I know of. If he says no then just leave it at that. Not all adoptees are interested of course. I have another friend who is adopted and she has said that she has no interest at all in meeting her bio family since she has all the family she needs.
The only reason I thought about bringing it up to Mike is because I know that he really wants family and all he has now is an uncle who is a jerk, according to him. I don't mean to insinuate that he has a spare family out there or that they would be a replacement for the family he lost. But it's possible that he has additional family he doesn't know like a sibling, a cousin or an aunt out there that would want a relationship. I figured that, as gcm mentioned, it could be helpful for someone else to bring it up. If he's not interested I won't push it. I know Mike fairly well and I don't think he will be offended.
I am very aware that searching and finding a bio family can lead to a lot of pain and heartache too. My aunt looked and found her birthmother and it was not a good thing for her. The "mother" was not interested in her at all and my aunt was extremely hurt. That's of course a risk but those are things you can talk about if it comes to that, right?

If it comes up again, which I'm sure it will, I'll bring it up if it seems right and if he's not interested or uncomfortable we'll just leave it at that.

Thanks so much for all the input from everyone.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-04-2012, 01:59 AM
 
1,879 posts, read 1,628,353 times
Reputation: 1448
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
It is definitely a sensitive subject and of course should be brought up at the right time by the right person (not a stranger). Mike, my friend, has talked about his adoption in some ways so it has come up. He's talked about things like how he looks so different from his parents (them being small and him being pretty big) and how he has nothing in common with his sister since she too is adopted and they aren't blood related (that's what he said). He's also talked about how his sister has had a lot of problems related to her adoption. To be honest I think he has too but that's just my speculation.
I just thought about asking, if it comes up, if he's ever thought about looking for his bio family and if he says that he's thought about it or is interested in it tell him about some options I know of. If he says no then just leave it at that. Not all adoptees are interested of course. I have another friend who is adopted and she has said that she has no interest at all in meeting her bio family since she has all the family she needs.
The only reason I thought about bringing it up to Mike is because I know that he really wants family and all he has now is an uncle who is a jerk, according to him. I don't mean to insinuate that he has a spare family out there or that they would be a replacement for the family he lost. But it's possible that he has additional family he doesn't know like a sibling, a cousin or an aunt out there that would want a relationship. I figured that, as gcm mentioned, it could be helpful for someone else to bring it up. If he's not interested I won't push it. I know Mike fairly well and I don't think he will be offended.
I am very aware that searching and finding a bio family can lead to a lot of pain and heartache too. My aunt looked and found her birthmother and it was not a good thing for her. The "mother" was not interested in her at all and my aunt was extremely hurt. That's of course a risk but those are things you can talk about if it comes to that, right?

If it comes up again, which I'm sure it will, I'll bring it up if it seems right and if he's not interested or uncomfortable we'll just leave it at that.

Thanks so much for all the input from everyone.
I think next time he mentions adoption in the context that he has in the bit I've bolded above, it would be fine to ask him if he has ever searched. I wasn't entirely sure from the OP if you had ever talked about adoption with him but it sounds like he is comfortable doing so.

I only thought that specific conversation might not have been the right time because it didn't necessarily come across as an adoption-related conversation so much as a missing family type of conversation.

Btw I actually don't think it is inappropriate for a stranger to ask an adoptee whether they have searched for their bfamily IF the adoptee has specifically brought up that they were adopted first. However, it would be inappropriate for the stranger to take the conversation further if the adoptee didn't want to so do.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-04-2012, 03:01 AM
 
16,487 posts, read 19,094,588 times
Reputation: 16091
This young man is all alone in the world now. I think it would be good if you just brought it up to him. Mostly likely he will feel one way or the other, either interested and maybe already searching, or not wanting to know. I think it would not be overstepping boundaries to just bring it up.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting > Adoption
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top