I'm desperately trying to get back in routine around here, but that hasn't quite happened yet. However, since I'm a little more awake tonight, I thought I would discuss a topic that one of my readers asked me to address.
One of my readers was recently discussing this topic from a different perspective with her daughter. She adopted her daughter as an infant, so she's the only mother that her daughter has ever known. Yet apparently, if her daughter happens to mention being adopted, people will ask her if she knows who her "real" parents are.
Alright, we can take a step back here and realize that people just don't know any better. They're obviously referring to the biological or birth parents. Both of those terms are more acceptable than "real" parents. But it's still a weird question to ask someone after finding out that they're adopted.
Whether you're asking about who the "real" children are, or asking if an adopted child knows anything about their "real" parents, the wording can be offensive, but I think the actual question can be offensive as well. From a sibling perspective, I would be offended if someone implied that my siblings were different because they were adopted. Of course they're my parents' real children. They're not actors playing a part. They're just as much a part of the family as I am, and as my little brother likes to point out, my parents chose to have them as children, while they were stuck with me from birth.
When it comes to a situation where you're asking an adopted child what they know about their "real" parents, that's offensive to the people who are the parents, the people who have raised that child. There are many reasons why a child would be put up for adoption, and sometimes the biological parents are giving up their rights for the good of the child. Not all biological parents are in the wrong or have their children taken away from them. Of course, whether or not the biological parents were looking out for the best interest of the child, you can't disregard them. They gave that child life; the child wouldn't exist without them. It's okay to talk about them within your family, and in certain situations it might be alright for someone else to ask about the situation surrounding the biological parents. However, it's important to remember that the children's parents are the people who changed diapers, kissed scraped knees, checked homework, took pictures of each milestone.... anyone can be a mother or father, but it takes a special person to be a mommy or daddy. An adoptive parent has gone through so much more in order to become a parent, and they deserve that recognition. They shouldn't be cast aside as though they weren't the real parents.
I always try to be polite when faced with this kind of a situation, but I always make sure I correct people in their wording to make sure that they are more informed for the future. Have you ever been asked about "real" children, siblings, or parents? How did you handle the situation? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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