Last week, or maybe the week prior (who can keep track of the days when it's summertime?), my mom received a question that I don't think any of us have ever received before. By the end of that day, it had probably slipped my mind and I found other things to talk about, but I was reminded about the conversation today and I wanted to address it.
This woman had actually asked my mom if the kids were being fostered or if they had been adopted, because they didn't look like they were biological. Clearly I was my mom's child, but the other kids were adopted, right?
My jaw just about hit the floor when I heard that. I've never heard anyone tell us that we don't all look alike, or ask if the kids were adopted. In fact, I've always heard quite the opposite. People usually comment on how similar we look. My sister has my dad's coloring. My brother and I take after my mom. I've always found it so funny that people mention our looks, because clearly my siblings didn't inherit their looks from my parents. And yet here was this woman, someone with whom we had never met before, and she was coming right out and saying that my siblings didn't look biologically related to my parents.
I honestly didn't know whether to feel insulted, surprised, or indifferent. How do you react to a question like that? Luckily, I didn't have to react in any manner, because I wasn't in the room when the question was posed. I don't know how my mom answered the question, but obviously she went on to discuss our history with foster care. The question from this woman has stuck in the back of my mind, and I still don't know how I feel about it. In my head, I know that we don't all look alike. Especially in the summer, when my sisters become gorgeously dark tan, my brother gets a good amount of color, and I struggle to avoid turning into a lobster. In my heart though, I've never really seen a difference between my siblings and myself. I know that I blog about what life has been like as the only biological child in a foster family. I love to discuss adoptions, and what I've learned from different cases. I don't even mind discussing the heartache that comes with saying good-bye to siblings, because this is my life. I wouldn't change it for the world, and I love that each of my siblings became part of my life in such a unique way. But it still stings a little to hear that someone else can look at my family and not see just that, a family. That someone would question where my siblings came from, because we don't all look alike. Does it matter where they came from? Does it matter where I come from? What if we had been a private family who never discussed the fact that my siblings were adopted? She had no idea; she had just met us.
If you're part of a foster or adoptive family who has dealt with outsiders questioning your family, I would be interested to hear about your experiences. Maybe some people are used to this type of question, and I've been lucky to avoid it all these years. I've certainly had foster siblings over the years who clearly don't look like my parents, and that's raised some eyebrows in the past, but I guess I was too young to ever notice. And maybe with foster siblings, it never really mattered so much to me. Yes, I did (and always will) consider each one of them my siblings, and I usually just refer to a brother or sister when telling a story, no 'foster' needed. But maybe because I knew they were only in my life temporarily, it didn't matter to me what people thought or what we looked like on the outside. To be honest, I still don't really care what people think, but I guess I was just caught off guard. I think that my siblings, the ones who were adopted and are part of my forever family, look enough like my parents to not be questioned about where they came from. Maybe on the outside they do look different, and I just don't think so because I'm emotionally invested in our lives. I don't know. But what I do know is that I'm proud to have siblings in a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors, and heights. I'm proud to have such a melting pot of people in my family. And I'm proud to say that my siblings are adopted, should anyone ask us again.
Thank you so much for your continued support! I look forward to sharing more stories about my experience with foster care, and hopefully hearing from readers who have questions or similar stories to share. I'm always willing to answer questions and hear about other experiences! Please don't forget to like and share my Facebook author page as well!
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