“Wait…what? You guys are adopting?”
If you missed the blognouncement, click HERE to read the story behind our new adventure!
Those of you who have been pregnant know that it is a very eye-opening experience–in many ways. One thing I remember was the realization that comments I had made to pregnant women in the past were totally not appropriate. I remember a gorgeous, superskinny acquaintance I had who became pregnant. This gal was such a supermodel, I thought her self-esteem (pre and during pregnancy) would render my new nickname “Chubby” totally hilarious to both of us, as we had a very teasing relationship. But when I tried it out, she wasn’t really laughing. Hmmm–duly noted.
FYI, pretty much THE ONLY acceptable comments to make about a pregnant women’s appearance are “You’re already ____ weeks?!” (Thus making her feel small) or “You look (fantastic, adorable, glowing, teeny, amazing, beautiful, etc.).” NEVER say “You look like you’re about to pop,” or “You’re ONLY ______ weeks?!” thus making her feel like a beached whale.
As I mentioned previously, we have been doing lots of reading about adoption. (OK, I read, then pass on the really good books or chapters to Trent.) So far I’ve read (or thoroughly skimmed) How to Adopt Internationally; The Lucky Ones; I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla; The Family of Adoption; The Essential Link: Attachment Information for Adoptive Parents; and The Complete Book of International Adoption. The last one had a really interesting table in one of the chapters that dealt with adoption language. Total “a-ha” moment for me! So, as I’m determined to become the new poster child for adoption awareness, welcome to my first blog lesson on adoption: adoption language. (Adoptive parents or adoptees, please feel free to add or edit any of these from your own experiences.)
Inaccurrate language: Real parent/real mother/natural parent
Accurate: Birth parent/biological parent
Inaccurate: Blood relative
Accurate: Birth relative
Inaccurate: My adopted child
Accurate: My child
Inaccurate: My own child
Accurate: My biological child
Inaccurate: Adoptive parent
Accurate: Parent
Inaccurate: Gave up for adoption/ put up for adoption
Accurate: Chose or made an adoption plan
Inaccurate: Illegitmate
Accurate: Born to unwed mother or unmarried parents
Inaccurate: Keeping your baby
Accurate: Deciding to parent/raise child
Inaccurate: Foreign adoption/foreign country
Accurate: International/Intercountry adoption/birth country
Inaccurate:Handicapped child/hard to place
Accurate:Child with special needs/waiting child
Inaccurate: track down parents
Accurate: search
Inaccurate: adopting a pet
Accurate: finding a pet
The author also talked about how to have a conversation or pleasant stranger-in-the-store-chitchat with a family who has probably adopted internationally. The first rule of thumb? Always start with a compliment–a compliment about ALL of the children if there are more than one. Cute kids, well-behaved–pick a feature. Do not point, don’t draw attention to the kids, and don’t talk about the children like they are not there. Ie: “Where did you get those two?” If you are curious, then ask permission to ask. You know the drill: “May I ask…” then remember the lingo previously mentioned. “May I ask if your family adopted?” It also never hurts to say WHY you want to know. If you are just plain nosey, then perhaps MYOB and stop after the compliment. If you or someone you love is pursuing international adoption, then tell the adult as much in one sentence or less. But whatever you do, KEEP IT BRIEF! She’s there to shop and if she has a kid with her, it’s already a big enough challenge!
Interesting stuff to ponder, huh? I know it’s already changed the way I speak about this topic. I hope you enjoyed your first lesson. 🙂