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Thread summary:

Sister and husband adopted baby from China, co-workers and others saying inappropriate comments to mother and baby, advice on how to help

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Old 01-13-2009, 02:01 PM
18 posts, read 36,827 times
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Need some help...My sister and her husband have just adopted a baby China...They are both so happy! Her co-workers and close friends have been making inappropriate comments and giving her weird looks when she's with the baby...What can I say to help her?
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:20 PM
Location: Mid-Atlantic
1,820 posts, read 4,002,923 times
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My husband & I have 2 little girls from China.
Congratulations to your sister and her husband! what an amazing experience!

Unfortunately, there are many people who will ask and say extremely inappropriate things to them. We have had many,many things said to us, people have even gone as far to ask "how much THEY COST?" . Yes, it is true.
I would say to your sister that it depends on what was said,where they are at the time, and what she is comfortable sharing or saying in response.
I usually will say something like "if you are interested in adoption from China,I am so happy for you and would be happy to answer your questions"
We always get asked if our girls are sisters... this bugs me the most because "you" wouldn't walk up to a couple with children who "looked like them" and ask that... I say "yes, they are sisters, are your children siblings?" ,that usually causes a silent moment...
Most of the time, giving people the benefit of the doubt,they are doing it because they are curious and many people don't realize how their comments may sound.
There are many books out there to help and you can feel free to email me and I will be happy to help your sister with some resources.
Also, her adoption agency may have some resources as well ,on how to answer awkward questions,etc...
Many times I get the sympathy look and they ask "ohhh they are so cute,couldn't you have your OWN children?"
It use to really,really bother me when we brought our first daughter home,but now I have been asked so many times that I say " they are my own children" and go on. I don't elaborate or anything.
One thing that everyone must remember is that giving birth does not make one a mommy or a daddy,it makes them a birth parent. Giving a child a family,love,respect & understanding,that is being a mommy or a daddy to a child.
Please tell your sister and her husband to hang in there, it will become "normal" for them to respond and they will learn to do so with grace and respect towards the person asking and respecting their child at the same time!
Congratulations again and Good Luck!
Again, please email if you would like.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:12 PM
Location: Mid-Atlantic
1,820 posts, read 4,002,923 times
Reputation: 1904
I have to add to the above-sorry...
If these are her friends and co-workers, I would say that a quick educational talk with them would help!
I assume she would feel comfortable with her friends to say that she was hurt by some of their comments and maybe ask them what questions they had to kind of "clear the air".
We did have some friends that questioned why we adopted internationally,but after explaining our reasons and the fact that it is an extremely personal decision ,how one chooses to form their family, they completely understood.
We have been fortunate to have such great support from our close friends and family ,however,we know that there are many that have difficulities with their families accepting their decisions.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:56 PM
Location: Catonsville, MD
2,358 posts, read 5,475,067 times
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I have two kids adopted from Russia. One could easily be our biological child, and the other is darker complected than us. When people find out they're adopted, or ask if they are mine, I do one of three things (sometimes dependent on whether I have PMS or not ). The first is to educate. For example, if they ask, "How much did they cost?" I will respond with, "Do you mean, how much were the fees for adopting from Russia?" If they ask, "Are they sisters?" I respond with "Do you mean, are they biologically related?" If they ask, "Are they your REAL children," I respond with, "Do you mean, are they biologically mine or are they adopted?" If I'm slightly irritated, I'll say that children do not cost anything, of course they're sisters and of course they're real. If I'm really irritated, I respond to any of those stupid, intrusive questions with, "Why do you ask?" That's stops people in their tracks.

I'm pretty open with people when they have questions because usually they're just curious and are unaware of 'appropriate' adoption language. Sometimes, however, people ask really intrusive questions like, "Why did her 'real' mother not keep her?" I first say that I am her real mother and the reason why her biological mother placed her in the care of the state is a private matter. And now that my kids are fully aware of just about everything I'm discussing, I do not get involved in these kinds of conversations with anybody in front of them. If somebody's really curious, I ask them to email or call me and still, I keep much of the information private. It's my girls' tales to tell, when they're old enough, and only if they chose to. One daughter tends to be shy with all subjects, including this one. The other will go up to strangers and say, "Hey, did you know I'm from Russia?" The first is 6 and the second 4.

Congrats to you on your niece's arrival home! And congrats especially to the new parents. Coming home with a long-awaited baby is SO incredibly exciting!!!
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:07 PM
Location: Niles, Michigan
1,692 posts, read 3,195,029 times
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We adopted three of our 7 children. We were Foster parents. One is African American , one mixed and one white. We are white. Now we lived in Michigan and they are 6,6,2 and we just moved last summer to North Carolina and we get more looks now then we ever did in Michigan in regaurds to my daughter who is African American. In fact my daughter even notice it and asked why people keep looking at her. When there are difference people look and I wish they didn't but they do. I just ignore because in our case it is just strangers anyway.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:13 PM
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We have two kids (2 & 4) adopted as babies from Kazakhstan, they are Asian and we are Caucasian. I've been pleasantly surprised that as they've gotten older the questions seem to have slowed down. the only one that truly drives me nuts is the "are they really brother and sister" question. Yes of course they are.

Your sister will learn some great comebacks from an online support group, hopefully she has one.

Some from the top of my head "how much did she cost?" Answer "she was free but shipping and handling was expensive" or "about as much as having a baby in the hospital, but without insurance." I also find it helpful here to mention to people that much of the cost of international adoption is the US side of things, immigration and agency attorneys on THIS side of the world...I think a lot of people have this mistaken notion that you show up at any old orphanage and hand over a suitcase of cash and they give you a baby...obviously it isn't at ALL like that.

To the "she's so lucky" comment that drives me nuts I always say "I'm luckier." And my absolute favorite "does she speak english?" "No, she speaks baby." Idiots seem to think that babies from other countries show up speaking in full diction at a year old...

Oh and just so she'll have it in her arsenal when the question is asked "Why didn't you adopt an American baby or a baby from foster care?" Her answer should be "Oh! I didn't know you were an adoptive parent too, how many children have you adopted?"

I do have a friend who whenever questioned rudely about her daughter's adoption asks what positions the questioner used when conceiving their children. (!) I haven't quite got the guts for that one yet.

The bottom line is that your sister should be polite and to the point. I personally don't put up with people in my life who disagree or look down upon our adoption, my children are my number one priority and I won't have them exposed to people who think our situation is anything less than perfect for us.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:40 PM
Location: Mid-Atlantic
1,820 posts, read 4,002,923 times
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I absolutely agree Hml1976! Your post makes me laugh and feel better, that we aren't the only ones who get these ridiculous ,insulting questions! I do love the one about what language do they speak?
We get that ALL of the time as well! especially when they were younger... do they understand English or just Chinese??? YIKES!

I also think it is great that you try to clarify that the major costs for adoptions are with the United States and NOT with the country. Very little of our money for our adoptions went to China, most stayed right here ! A very large misconception on many people's parts.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:42 PM
Location: Under the sun
237 posts, read 947,909 times
Reputation: 183
Congratulations to your sister and brother-in-law!

If her 'close friends' are making inappropriate comments and weird looks, I'd question how valuable those 'friendships' really are.

Maybe there are some online support forums she could join to form new friendships, or at least glean new ideas from others in similar situations. Maybe a group is available in her community?

It's unfortunate that she is facing such insensitivity during this special time in her life.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:00 PM
Location: Niles, Michigan
1,692 posts, read 3,195,029 times
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THe question that I love is when my daughter was a baby all of our three came to us as babies. The lady checking us out asked if she came fromn Africa. I wanted so bad to say that I flew there over the weekebd and picked her up but instead I said no. I had to laugh hoping she didn't think that every child who is of color with white parents had to have come from Africa. I just tell my daughter when she notice people looking that they are looking because she is soo cute.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:06 AM
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I dont have adopted children so I dont know how it feels to be bumbarded (sp?) with questions. But I believe that none of the people asking the questions are trying to be hurtful or intrusive - they just poorly word their questions.

Congrats to your sister and BIL - and to everyone else... Kids are the best - they may drive you a little nuts.. but they are the best. :-)
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