Sunday, September 9, 2012

~*Adoption Etiquette*~

Honestly, we've heard it all or really close to it.  For some reason seeing a large family or an interracial adoptive family gives many folks the opportunity to take leave of their senses and ask the most personal and, sometimes, rude questions that they would normally never ask a complete stranger.

We love to use these opportunities to educate others on the appropriate way to say or ask things (birth parents or first family vs. real parents, etc).  We truly know that many are just curious how everything works or the history of how we came to be.  Sadly, others are beyond curious and to the point of nosy and an even smaller number of people are outright rude.

I really try to give an answer covered in grace...however, there are times they catch me completely off guard, the children are out of sorts, I'm short on time, you get the point...and my answers or tone are not the grace filled words I desire!   

How much do they cost?

Folks, don't ask it this way!  My first birth was well over $20,000 and I was grateful for awesome health insurance and sadly there is not insurance to cover adoption fees.  If you have a true desire to know the breakdown of adoption fees because you are interested in choosing adoption for your family we can certainly set aside the time to discuss that...the grocery store line is not the appropriate place to discuss that.

What's wrong with them?

What's wrong with you?  Totally kidding, I would never ask you that!  If you have a true desire to know more about special needs adoptions we can set aside time to discuss your questions.  My children have ears and are listening.  They do not like to be ignored while you ask probing personal questions in a "hush-hush" sort of way.  We've, also, given them permission to not share personal information.   

Please show them little to no physical affection!

You can shake a hand or pat a back and that is it.  Bonding and attachment are tricky things and while our children who joined our family via adoption 3 yrs ago are certainly bonded and attached well, we are still dealing with residual behaviors linked to their previous placement where there was no appropriate bonding or attachment.  So, for our new little ones please love them from afar!   

We will spend many weeks and months working HARD to be their primary caregivers...not the Aunts or Uncles or the Grandparents or friends.  It is exhausting both emotionally and physically and limiting the amount of affection that others give our newest blessings will establish in their hearts who they NEED to go to have their needs met. 

Which ones are yours?

This is a funny question because I never give the answer that everyone wants and I've gone back and forth with the asker a dozen times until they finally just give up!  For some reason they really want to KNOW who is a birth child and who is adopted but there is no real reason to ask. 

They are ALL my matter how they came to be in our family.  It truly does not matter if they are biological or not.

Please do not refer to my children as "real vs. adopted".  Or introduce my children that way (So and so is the adoptive child of Jolene or So and So is the birth child).  My children came to be part of my family in one of two ways...both ways are natural!

When will we be back in church?

Great question!  
When we feel our two newest blessings can handle it! We'll likely start slow and go to evening service for a few weeks to acclimate them.  We are the one strange family in church that keeps ALL of our children in service.  While we have a nursery and children's church available we have been led to sit as a family the entire service.  

We are blessed to attend a Nondenominational family church.  The word family is in the name of the church and we take that as a direct welcome to worship family style.  It gets ugly once in awhile as children learn to sit quietly, however, it is so worth the time and effort to invest into them!  

What can you say? 

Congratulate us!  
Pray for us as we adjust!
Encourage and edify us!
Love our children from afar!
Brownies and cookies are always welcome!
 Ok, shameless plug for baked goodies...I can't help it!

Seriously, though, we absolutely LOVE talking about adoption!  It is a huge blessing when others are asking because they are considering it for their family!  We simple desire that you ask your questions with the same amount of grace that we try very hard to answer those questions with!

So, please, ask how everything is going...ask if we need anything (baked goods always welcome!), let us know your praying, and always feel comfortable coming over when you see us and at least say HELLO! 

  Ephesians 1:5  
he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—


  1. Oh I so wish I was behind you or a cashier in those lines! I can only hear the comments/grumblings as they turn away from you, and I can imagine the sarcastic things I would have running through my mind as I finished with them while dying to give you and your whole family HIGH FIVES for under going the impromptu investigation!

  2. I think I need to re post this on my blog. we went out to eat one time and a strange older couple actually pulled my husband aside to say that one of the kids did not look like him. he was outraged.

  3. Some of our favorites...
    "What country is he from?"
    He is from Fairview... United States.
    He was born in the foreign country of... Detroit!

    "Do you know his Mom?"
    I hope so, I sleep next to her every night.

    "He's going to be a great basketball player."
    Maybe. Or just maybe he'll be a violin player and his short, white brother will be able to dunk on him.

    Congratulations O'Dells!
    We will be praying for you!

  4. You did a good job on this. I should post it on my blog.


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