07 Jul “Real Mom”
For both the birth mother and adoptive mother, the often offensive, “real mom” statement will come up. For most, we have found the words themselves don’t matter as much as the intent behind them. Most comments, we must understand, result from not being properly educated about adoption. Yet, when people we don’t know use the word “real” in regards to adoptive families it strikes a nerve in us.
The “real” in all this is how to handle the questions and so we provide this list:
Smart Responses to Stupid Adoption Comments
Things to Consider Before Responding to Insensitive Comments
- Do I have an ongoing relationship with the individual?
- Are their insensitive thoughts/comments on adoption likely to be a reoccurring problem?
- Are they asking private information that I’m comfortable sharing?
- Is this the location I want to talk about this? Should I make plans to talk later?
- Does the person have a legitimate concern or question?
- Is the person just curious or noisy?
- Is the person trying to say something that is valuable but is using adoption language that is insensitive or outdated?
- If the comment is made in front of a parent & child, should the parent or the child respond?
- Is the person’s brain just momentarily disconnected from their mouth?
- Educate the person on adoption issues while maintaining your privacy.
- Children don’t cost anything. Costs are for legal and agency services.
- Use humor.
- Didn’t anyone ever explain to you where children come from?
- Privacy responses:
- That’s private.
- That’s a very personal question that I do not want to answer.
- I can’t believe you’re asking a personal question like that.
- Excuse me, but I don’t know one reason I need to answer your question.
- Information on birthparents is our personal information.
- Deflection responses:
- Ignore the person or comment
- You’re confused about that
- How surprising that you would ask that
- Children are priceless
- Why do you want (need) to know?
- That’s unkind. It is not ok to talk to someone that way.
We feel that all adopted children have two “real” mothers. One nurtured the child for their first months in utero and the other has nurtured them since. Both “really” have held or are holding an important role and should be rightly insulted by strangers who imply one of the mothers is fake. Without their real birth mother and their real adoptive mother these children would not be who they are today.