Being Adopted

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Being adopted is interesting. People ask adoptees where their real parents are and wonder why adoptees don't look like their siblings. Some people tell adoptees they should feel grateful for being adopted. If not anticipated, these questions and comments can leave an adoptee at a loss for words and feeling self-conscious.

Hopefully, every adoptive parent knows enough nowadays to give their children the tools to deal with the inevitable questions that will arise around adoption issues. Confidence can be built by role-playing, having five different answers to the same question and by knowing how to educate people about adoption. Humor helps too.

"Real" Parents

Here are some ideas on how adoptees can respond when asked where their real parents are:

"At home."
"I'm not sure I know what you mean by 'real'."
"You must mean my birth parents."
"I have birth parents and adoptive parents and all of them are real!"
Knowledge is power, and adoptees need all the power they can get when confronted by thoughtless people asking insensitive questions. Education about adoption starts at home. If adoptees have learned the terms to describe the people in their lives, then they will be better able to address comments and questions that come their way.

Physical Differences

Here are some suggestions for when someone states, "Wow, you and your sister don't look anything alike!":

"You're right."
"Oh, you noticed!"
"I know, we're adopted."
"That's what lots of people say."
"Yeah, but we both like peanut butter."
Responding to questions and comments does not necessarily mean revealing private information or getting into personal feelings. Each situation will entail figuring out whether to agree, disagree, educate, or move on.


Here are some ideas for responding to people who talk about adoptees and being grateful:

"You're right!"
"Aren't we all?"
"Like all kids, I'm grateful for what my parents provide."
"Yeah, but my parents are really the lucky ones, they got me!"
"If you have some time I'd be glad to tell you about all my feelings about being adopted."
Undoubtedly, people will continue to ask adoptees interesting questions. Being adopted can include being prepared to respond to those questions and comments in a way that speaks one's truth and builds confidence.
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