Are they yours? Or are they adopted?

“Yes. And yes.”

I’ve been an adoptive mom for nine years. By now I’ve learned when folks mean well with their questions or comments, and I’ve learned not to get offended. Unless people are part of an adopted family (extended or immediate) or have close friends who have adopted, they may not realize what terminology could be construed as hurtful. And then there’s the fact that many adoptions, especially a generation or more ago, were tightly held secrets. For those accustomed to this as the norm, it takes a shift in their thinking.

mothers day 2014
Mother’s Day 2014

One day this week a sweet soul who knows my kids took my arm and asked intently, “Now, they’re yours, aren’t they? I mean, someone said they’re adopted, but that can’t be; they look just like you!”

And I told her (with a genuine smile), “Yes, they are mine, and yes, they’re adopted. Three of my five were adopted from foster care, and they were all old enough to remember so it’s no secret. And yes, people tell us all the time how much they look like us!”

Speaking out for adoption.

Before we moved, pretty much everyone — our family, our neighbors, our huge church family — knew our story because they’d known us before we became an adoptive family. Since our first adopted child was a 14-year-old who became our middle child, and since most of our friends and family had never known anyone who’d adopted a teen, we were the center of a great deal of attention.

our article in Lifelines Adoption Magazine
Our article in Lifelines Magazine: 2012

Lindsey was open about it and so were the rest of us; we all felt a responsibility to speak up for the vast number of older kids and teens waiting for adoption — those who were in foster care after having their birth parents’ rights terminated and living somewhat in limbo with no permanent family.

But now Lindsey is grown with kids of her own, and the younger two are a bit young to do the interviews and things we did with her, so our identity as an adoptive family has been under the radar. It comes up at home, of course, but when people tell us he has my eyes or she’s a mini-me, we just smile. Because it’s true and also a little funny that genetics played no part in it.

As always, I welcome questions about adoption: ours specifically or adoption in general. I’ll always be an enthusiastic advocate but I make a point NOT to candy coat things. Leave me a comment or feel free to shoot me an email anytime.

>>Another post you may like: If Someone You Know is Adopting.