I know it’s obvious to many: Adoptive parents are the parents! But how many of us still make the faux-pas of asking adoptive parents: “did you meet her mother”? Of course what we really mean to ask is whether they have met the biological mother. But we sometimes forget this very important word and it turns out–it is irritating to adoptive parents.
A relatively new friend of mine who is the adoptive mother to 2 Chinese girls was (rightly) complaining at me today on how people sometimes ask her, in front of the girls no less, whether they have met their parents. Sometimes they even ask if the girls (ages 10 and 12) are sisters. Hello! they have grown up together under the same roof with the same loving parents since their infancy. They compete for their parents’ attention and fight over clothing. Isn’t that sisters enough?
And again, apparently, asking if the girls are biological sisters makes all the difference. Phew, I said to myself, for I remember asking exactly that when my friend first brought up the topic many months ago.
Another thing I’ve come to realize is that just because someone brings up something, does not necessarily give us, the listeners, carte-blanche to ask any question we want. Not just on the adoption issue. This goes for anything. Let’s use our judgment and know when we are getting very close to that line where it’s just no longer ok to pry.
I do give a ton of credit to this adoptive mom for being so open about it, especially with her daughters, and for learning and teaching them about their origins.