I was adopted when I was 7 years old. At the time, I didn’t feel the need to hide this from any of my classmates. After all, it would have been pretty difficult to cover up, especially when I came in one day with a new name. But as I have gotten older, I have become more selective with who I have told. This was because whenever I did open up to people about it, I would become bombarded with questions, which were mercilessly thrown at me to attempt to answer.
I totally get it. Adoption is a foreign topic for most people, and people that haven’t gone through the process are entitled to be intrigued. But, there’s a line. A line that is nearly always crossed when my adoption is brought up in conversation.
The questions that I get asked don’t seem to end, they go on and on, getting more personal and more invasive with every mumbled response I give. My main problem is that I’m too polite to tell people to back off when they get too intrusive. Granted, I’m happy to talk about it. After all, my adoption is a huge part of my life and it’s shaped the person I’ve become today – but after 30 solid minutes of someone badgering me for information, anyone would have had enough.
So, if you ever meet an adopted person, here’s the questions we would rather not hear.
“Why don’t you look like your parents?”
This question seems shockingly stupid, and really it is. However, the reality is, I have had to try and think up a decent reply to this question more times than I can remember.
“Do you miss your real parents?”
A popular phrase for people to use when they talk to me about being adopted is ‘real parents.’ *Enter massive sigh here*. This question, really, implies that my adoptive parents aren’t my ‘real’ parents, but last time I checked, they are? My adoptive parents have brought me up, seen me succeed and picked me up when I’ve failed, just because we aren’t biologically related, does that not make them my ‘real parents?’
“How come you’re so normal for an adopted kid?”
We have the countless TV dramas, films and books on how messed up adopted children end up becoming to thank for this beauty of a question. Really, this is quite simply, insulting to ask. But also, what is ‘normal?’ Is anybody, or any family for that matter, 100% ‘normal?’
“Why don’t you want to meet your biological parents?”
Adoption can be a sticky process, and even though many stories are different, adoption is never really easy for any of the parties involved. Therefore, there could be countless reasons why an individual doesn’t want or cannot meet their biological parents. It’s best not to bring it up.
“Is this your boyfriend/girlfriend?” or “Is this your dad/mum?”
There’s nothing weirder than having your sibling mistaken as either your significance other or as one of your parents – and having to nervously laugh it out.
“You’re adopted? I’m so sorry.”
Now the question is not even the issue with this one. It’s the added bit on the end. It still baffles me why some people apologise to me for being adopted.
“Do you wish you could go back?”
I wish I could go back in time and avoid this conversation like the plague, yes. But in all seriousness, what does this mean? Go back where? The womb?
“You parents really love you like you’re their own, you know that don’t you?”
Am I not their ‘own?’ Do families really just have to be biological? This question insinuates that because I’m adopted, I’m not my parents ‘own’ and therefore, even though they may love me, I might be treated differently.
“Do you have anything in your family medical history we should know about?”
OK so this is pretty unavoidable and it is usually the doctor asking it, but it does get boring having to try and muster up a response, especially, if like me, you have no idea about your family medical history.
“I bet you get asked these questions all the time, don’t you?”
One word; YES.