This is a list compiled by Megan, a real-live adopted individual
The most annoying thing of all: “real mom and real dad”1. “Did you ever meet your real mom?”
The guy or gal on the street uses “real mom” and “real dad” to refer to birth parents. But my adoptive parents insisted they were the one and only “real.” Every adoptive parent wants to be “real,” and is real. My mother taught me scripts to repeat when someone asked about “real mom.” From my early childhood I found myself in the awkward position of correcting not only peers but adults. The woman in whose tummy I grew was “birthmother” and the people that raised me were “real.” To educate the entire planet on what is real is a huge responsibility for a 7 year-old, especially one that doesn’t understand where babies come from.
When I reunited with my birthmom as an adult I was surprised to learn that she is insulted by the suggestion that she isn’t real mom. Conversely, my birthfather insists that he is not my real father (just don’t go there). To simply my life, I now leave it up to the parents to decide what is real. So, there are two real moms but only one real dad. When people ask about real mom I just say, “If you are referring to my birthmom, we connected a few years ago.” It is much easier to believe that a woman without a face or name is not real.
Substituting the word “real” for “biological” isn’t going out of vogue anytime soon. Adopted children will just have to find their own way of dealing with it.
Other annoying comments:
(I could write essays on all of these, and may do so at a later time.)
Adoption is everyone’s second choice
2. So, what do you call your parents?
3. When I get married I hope I never have to adopt.
4. If I got pregnant my parents would never make me give the baby away.
5. Do your parents have any of their own children? (Those darn semantics again. The guy and gal on the street will use “own children” synonymously with “biological children”.)
6. Doesn’t it bother you that you don’t know anyone who looks like you?
7. That’s so amazing that you can tan easier than the rest of your family! (transracial adoptee)
8. You look a lot like your parents. (When they know I’m adopted)
9. You and your sister don’t look anything alike. (When they don’t know I’m adopted)
10. You have your mother’s eyes. (Referring to my adoptive mom)
11. What nationality are you? (As a child I usually responded to this question by reciting my adoptive parents’ origins. But sometimes I was being asked why I look the way I do. I didn’t know my birthparents’ heritage -- some people would try to guess it... “You have a square jaw, maybe you’re Welsh.” “Those heavy-set eyebrows might be Spanish…” What a fun game..NOT!)
Us poor waifs12. Don’t you feel lucky that somebody took you in?
13. You’re adopted? Do you have a learning disability?
14. How many foster homes were you in before someone decided to keep you?
15. I remember when your parents got you. (They picked me up at the market, right?)
16. Your natural mother has probably put you out of her mind.
17. Why didn’t your real mother want you?
18. Well, my mom wasn’t married and she kept me. Your birthmother should have kept you. I feel sorry for you.
My adoptive parents hammered it into my brain and even into my cells that my birthmom loved me very, very much but she wasn’t ready to care for me. I have never felt unwanted or abandoned, despite what peers would say.
(Wait a minute, I came from her. What does that make me?)19. You better watch yourself with the boys. You’re pretty and you might have a tendency to be promiscuous like your birthmother.
An adopted child shouldn’t have to hear negative remarks about her birthmother or birthfather. It’s too easy to project those comments onto herself. Remarks about birthparents will affect a child’s self-image. I also worry about adoptive parents blogging about their child’s birthparents. The kid will grow up and read the archives some day…
20. (At the doctor’s office)
Nurse: Do you have any family history of high blood pressure?
Me: I don’t know. I’m adopted.
Nurse: OK then, do you have any family history of heart disease?
Me: I don’t know. I’m adopted.
Nurse: OK. Do you have any family history of cancer?
21. Being adopted is no different at all than being born to your parents
(Different doesn’t have to mean worse. C’mon guys, let’s acknowledge that
adoption is not the same. Quit pretending. Maybe it’s even more special sometimes!)
22. Aren’t you worried you’ll accidentally date a relative?
23. Heavenly Father planned for all of us to be born to our mommies and daddies
24. Your birthmother was nothing more than a vessel for you to obtain a body and come to earth. (People who like to use this pet phrase always speak of the birthmother in past tense!!!)
Sometimes people say stupid things. So what! None of their perceptions can change who I am . I am a proud, joyful adopted person!!!