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I Have A Question...


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#1 janes

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 10:52 AM

Hi ladies

I've been meaning to ask this for a while. For those of you who have already adopted internationally, is there a good way for a stranger to ask you about your children & adoption?

You see, we are building a house at the moment, and I've noticed a couple walking past quite regularly with a baby who looks to be of a different racial background. I am assuming that the baby is adopted (but I'm only assuming) and I would love to ask them but I don't know how to without offending them (particularly if its a different situation and the baby isn't adopted). I have never spoken to them because I've only seen them from a distance (we don't actually live there at the moment - the house is still about two months from completion), but I think they live quite close, so I'm sure I will get a chance when we move in.

I have also seen people in public with a child that looks like they may have been adopted internationally, but I have never been sure if I should go up to them and say something.

Do you mind if people ask you questions, and what have you found to be the best way to approach it?

Jane
dx POF Aug 05 @ 35 yrs
married with 2 dogs
v. high FSH levels but haven't experienced any symptoms as yet
started the adoption process in April 07

#2 ronnie32

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 02:48 PM

Hi Jane

Although our adoption is domestic rather than international, it is a transracial placement and we do get some looks when we're out and about and sometimes people do ask questions.  How I respond differs, but usually if someone is respectful and has a legitimate interest (as opposed to being plain nosey) then I try to answer them in a respectful way, without divulging more information than I'm comfortable with.

I get frustrated with the fact that people see us and leap to conclusions.  We are "outed" by our different skin colours.  It would be nice if more people just saw us as a family - without all these ideas about how we became a family running through their heads and without the idea that they somehow have a right to know.  Can you imagine if I admired a baby and then went on to question how s/he was conceived? Whether X was the father?

I would suggest that you don't presume that the child is adopted (whether domestic or international) just because they don't appear to be the same ethnicity as the parents.  The child could be the result of a former relationship, for instance.  

I do appreciate why you want to know, even though some of my rhetoric here comes across as being on the defensive (although I prefer to think of it as protective).

How about just striking up a conversation to start with, noting that you're moving into the area soon, that you're hoping to enjoy the new neighbourhood, that you're encouraged by the mix of people etc., and asking them what it's like to live there, whether it's good for kids etc.  

If it's appropriate and before launching into personal enquiries, I'd tend to volunteer something myself about wanting to start a family and looking at adoption.  Of course, for some people that might be too much information too soon.  But that then gives them the chance to say something if they want to ... which might not be then but perhaps the next time your paths cross.

Okay, I might over-think these things and go about it a convoluted way.  My partner says that I would benefit from being a bit more direct but if some random woman just crossed the street and asked me where I got my son from I'd be liable to answer "from the local store, they had a special on.  Why do you ask?".

It's a delicate question and I'm sure some people are more and others less sensitive than me.  I wonder if your area has a local group for adopters that you could contact - which might help you link in with people at different stages of the process and who might be more open to talking to you than these people you've spotted.

I've waffled on. Hope this is of some use.

Ronnie
Diagnosed with POF just before turning 32.  Have used acupuncture and TCM.  I am taking various supplements including multi vitamin, calcium, zinc, flaxseed oil etc.  Following osteopenia diagnosis, started HRT on 10 March 05 - reluctantly.  I have a fab g/f & we have a lovely dog (lurcher) & a mischievous cat (tabby).  We have one son who keeps us on our toes.

#3 del

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 04:54 PM

Gosh, that's a good question.  I think it would depend on why someone was asking but I can't speak from first hand experience as both my dd and I are Caucasian.  I think a lot of factors may play into it.  I have heard people say that when they are out trying to live their lives (shopping, errands, etc.) that it can be a hassle when people stop them to talk about their kids but invariably most of these same people say they don't mind if it is helpful to s/one who may want to adopt.  I do think that the adoption community is a close knit group who like to share with others who may go on to adopt.  I know I feel this way; however, if people are being intrusive and/or judgemental (i.e., "you are a better person that I am, I could never adopt") that makes me angry.

So...I am rambling here but my guess is the intent behind it.  Also, a bit of advice...before asking s/one about adoption, make sure their child is not old enough to understand that you are singling them out because the child looks different.   Naturally, most parents want to protect their children and those comments, however innocent, can be hurtful to a child.

I hope you get some good answers from others who may have first hand experience.  It is a great question.

Del
Diagnosed POF at age 36 -- actually, I diagnosed myself thanks to Kathy's book!!  Married with two kids (one adopted from Russia).  Current hrt regimen Vivelle Dot 1 mg and Prometrium 100 mg. per day. History of hashimotos (thyroid) and some other autoimmune stuff.

#4 Martha

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:27 AM

Del is right on the money about the child feeling singled out, and Ronnie and I think a lot alike too.  My Chinese daughter is almost 5 years old, and she would feel really weird if a stranger started asking us about adoption and how our family was formed.  

I suggest, if you think this family is one you might want to be friends with, to say hello if you see them walking past, and introduce yourself as new neighbors.  Maybe they will want to stay and chat, or maybe not. But the next time they see you, they might want to stay and chat. When your house is finished, you might see if they wanted to come in for a cup of coffee or some banana bread or something, to visit.   Really, having a stranger come up and ask questions about your family can be off putting, but if you develop a relationship, you will naturally find out those things in the course of getting to know someone.  

Or, if you have concrete plans on adopting, when talking to them, you could mention your plans and see what they say.

When I was first looking in to adopting I was at the beauty shop and I told the hairdresser I was looking in to adopting, possibly from China. She said the lady whose hair she was cutting after mine had adopted from china and would be there in a few minutes with her daughter.  I asked her if she thought that lady would answer my questions. So, she asked her customer if she was willing to talk to me about adoption.  The neatest for me was to see her with her daughter. It just made it seem real, like it really could happen for me too.  She was very gracious, and I asked her about which agency she had used, about the trip, and about how much adopting had cost.  The cost question, especially when the child is old enough to understand, is really easy to mess up with and offend someone, and is really also better answered by the agency anyway. But the lady I talked to was so nice about it, and gave me the e-mail for the agency they used.

Really the best thing I did though when I was looking in to adopting, was to join the local waiting families group in my town.  Many larger cities have groups of adoptive families who welcome waiting families.  

I also met a lady who became one of my best friends by posting on the adoptive parents china yahoo group, asking if anyone else was in my town and waiting to adopt with my agency.  She was in the same travel group, and our daughters are from the same orphanage in china.  

Hope I have been helpful and not too off putting.  
Martha

Edited by Martha, 18 October 2007 - 01:31 AM.


#5 jacinta

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 11:10 AM

I must admit Janes because australia is a very mixed cultural country I would also be cautious. Because they could be as Ronnie says be a previous relationship.  cultural appearances can skip generations as well.
Unless you see both parents together you can't be sure if the child isn't of a mixed cultural background ~ Like I am most likely, it's simply that I don't know for sure.

Depending on the cultural appearance of this families child background they might belong to an online support group and if you post there and say where your moving to you will be surprised that someone might come forward saying they live in that area as well. The adoption community in Australia is fairly small comparison to the states or even the UK.  So it might be a non-invase way of making contact. I know I have done this with a few families that live in N-E victoria where I grew up just in case for some reason we moved back to be close to my family (highly unlikely but you never know and I wanted some sort of foundation for our child with other ICA families).

I agree with everything else everyone has written. Sheesh lately I am even getting the 3rd degree when I say I am learning mandarin ~ 'why are you doing that?"

I think in asking in front of children it really means that for some ICA parents they have to step out of the mode of just being a parent and become as advocate for adoption in front of their child. When they just are there wanting to be in their own space with the child as a parent.

It's hard though huh! Because I know what it's like wanting to be guided by others. Often specific country groups will match you up with mentor that lives close to you. So maybe this is another way of doing it even if it doesn't turn out to be that family you've been seeing.

Jacinta
POF 27 stopped BCP
medically dx dyslexic
LID 7th March 2007
Batch 37 victoria

me 34 DH 46
Our forever babe is waiting for us in china
start Jan 2005 - completion maybe 2013

#6 jacinta

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 11:09 PM

They could also be a birth child but have a egg donor, sperm donor or embryo donor of a different cultural background.  :)

Jacinta
POF 27 stopped BCP
medically dx dyslexic
LID 7th March 2007
Batch 37 victoria

me 34 DH 46
Our forever babe is waiting for us in china
start Jan 2005 - completion maybe 2013

#7 redtoaster

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 11:09 PM

Hi there. I have a friend who is married to man who is half Korean so her children look nothing like her but exactly like her husband. People ask her all the time if they are adopted. My philosophy, don'tt ask until the subject comes up naturally

#8 janes

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 11:12 AM

Hi ladies

Thanks for all the great responses...I always appreciate your wisdom.

I'm really not one to go up to anyone (even if its someone I know) and start asking personal questions, so what you all say makes a lot of sense.

Actually, they gave us a wave last week (still not close enough to say hi and I'm not going to go running down the street after them) so I'm sure I will get the opportunity to meet them sooner or later, and I will see what happens from there.

We have joined our local adoption group, but have only had the chance to go to one event so far. I'm hoping that we can get to some more shortly. I have a few newsletters that they send out and I just can't stop looking at all the photos of those beautiful children... like you said, Martha, it makes it seem real.  My DH and I talk about adoption all the time but it still feels like its just some distant dream.

I'll let you all know if I eventually get the chance to meet my new neighbours.

Jane
dx POF Aug 05 @ 35 yrs
married with 2 dogs
v. high FSH levels but haven't experienced any symptoms as yet
started the adoption process in April 07