Sunday, February 24, 2008

Goofy Questions

To add to my post from yesterday, I wanted to spend a minute or two on "goofy questions" that adoptive parents endure. Again, like in the previous post - I thought I was well read and had a ready and good answer for the times we would receive a weird question.

Prior to adopting Emma, I read about all kinds of things people will ask you and was warned that the grocery line is the absolute worst place for exchanges because you really are a captive audience to inquiring minds. We read all kinds of horror stories of questions that families were asked with their precious little ones right there listening to the answer.

I will have to say that we have had it pretty easy in the 3 years we have had Emma. Maybe it's because we live in an area where people are just genuinely friendly and nice or maybe our children are so busy talking when we are in line somewhere that we just do not hear any questions, I'm not sure. Regardless, we haven't had it too bad. But, we have had a couple of weird encounters.

The first one was at a coworkers house attending a Christening party for their daughter. We had visited with this really nice lady for quite a while and then the conversation switched to adoption. She had a family member who was in the process of adopting and seemed to know quite a bit of adoption lingo and the conversation was going really well. Then out of the blue she asks "The only question I have about adopting these girls from China, well - who in the world are they going to marry?" I was speechless and for those of you who know me - I'm a talker. All the articles and what not that I had read about this topic were absolutely useless as I couldn't get a single word out. I think I ended up mumbling something about living in a multicultural world and then excused myself.

The second one, well - this one has happened several times but it really cracks me up. This one is along the lines of "does she speak English" or "does she have an accent". I really have to respect my mother's sense of humor because she was asked this question not too long ago about her precious granddaughter and her reply was "well, she does have quite a bit of a southern sound when she's singing gospel songs".

The third one is one I have read about time after time and am surprised that it took almost 3 years before encountering. A clerk at a store asked us, with Emma standing right there - is she Chinese and when I answered yes she went into this long drawn out story of people in China just throwing children away, etc and giving absolutely no thought to my blessing standing right there next to me listening to every word. How in the world do you educate someone like that? How do you explain to someone the inapproriateness of such a comment in front of your child? Again, I thought I was prepared but found myself not even close when caught off guard like that.

The question we're told we'll get next and more often is once we add our next child. That question will be "Are they sisters?". The answer of course is "yes". What the questioner really wants to know is if the children are biological siblings and I'm told it may continue with such things as "no, I mean are they really sisters?". Yes, they really will be sisters. Someone needs to help me out with an intelligent sounding response along the lines of DNA not being the determining factors in a sibling relationship.

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