I was perusing the internet when I found this recently uploaded video. I think Li Jiang does an excellent job pointing out some of the highlights many adoptees have been asked. I really enjoyed this video, because unlike previous attempts that focus on questions targeted towards adoptive parents, this video showcases the comments adoptees receive regularly. Reflecting on my personal experiences, I think many of the comments or questions people have asked me can be categorized by common sentiment.
“I wish I was adopted!”
“Was your birthday was government issued? That’d be so cool!”
The Ignorant Inquiries:
“Wait, so you don’t know why your real parents gave you away?”
“Did your mother find you on her doorstep or something?”
The Pity Zone:
When one of my teachers found out I was adopted, she spun her rolling chair around and began to cry. Between shallow breaths, in a hallow voice she uttered, “I just think you’re such a strong, beautiful person and your parents are so incredibly lucky to have you. And your birthparents would be so proud of who you are today. It’s just makes my heart grieve so much that they’ll never know you because you are such a grace!”
Regardless of the intent, malicious or benign, it is tiring to constantly be reacting to these kinds of statements. I don’t want to be the object of someone’s fascination nor do I want to be pitied for the way my life began. It’d be unacceptable to ask a child of a single parent why their other parent left or a child of divorced parents if they feel less loved by their step-parent. These types of questions about adoption are just as insensitive and just as offensive.
I’ve never been too good at snarky or witty comebacks, and so when confronted with these situations, I tend to answer the person’s question and then add my thoughts on why it’s actually not “cool” to not know my birthday or why my adoptive parents are just as real as my birthparents. If a person brings up conversations of this nature repeatedly, I feel no need to answer their questions. From the time I was young, my parents always assured me that I didn’t need to respond to these harmful comments about my adoption. “That’s personal” or even “I’d appreciate if you didn’t ask that” are responses that I have given on multiple occasions.
Adoptees: Are these questions/comments/remarks you’ve heard before? And what’s your preferred method of dealing with them?