Adoption = Scientists HATE this Shocking New Trick To Lose 30 Pounds and Avoid Alienating Adoptive Friends and Family

I heard a story about a guy who grew up to be a scientist because his mom encouraged him to ask good questions.

Any adoptive parent can tell you: people say stupid stuff and ask awful questions. They don’t intend to be hurtful, rude or insensitive. We watch eyes widen in horror as someone realizes, “I should not have said…”

I’d like to share a few “shocking tricks” to keeping your adoptive friends; things NOT to say or ask.

We’ll also address weight loss.

1. “Do you know where their real family is?” 

We ARE their real family. We get up in the middle of the night to ameliorate the terror of nightmares. We clean up the puke. We take them to school. We bandage the boo-boos. We hold them tight while they try to understand what the hell happened to all the people they used to know.

We take them to appointments for the counselor, doctor, play therapist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist and every other type of -ist you can imagine.

We comfort them every time we leave a birthday party, a play date, a family weekend, a camping trip. They freak out with every departure because, in their experience, separation means you might never see someone again.

We stay up all night with them as they scream in the throes of PTSD.

You want to know the whereabouts of the sperm and egg donors who caused these children to end up in the foster care system. I want to know: who gives a Rattus norvegicus’ derriere? 

2. “Does she look like her birth parents?”

Even if I have this information, how is it relevant—and for that matter, why do you need to know? I don’t even want to think about those people, much less consider how their genes may have transferred.

3. “Why did you/didn’t you change his name?”

Because we’re allowed to choose, and it’s really not your business.

However, in the spirit of friendly informing, I’ll add this as follow-up:  We gave them a new name to provide them with a way to identify as part of the new family.

In most of my adoptive friends (and our) cases, we gave the children a name in addition to the name they acquired at birth. We happened to put the new name in the middle, which, in our case, was unfortunate. Both of our children prefer the adoptive name we’ve given them, and get annoyed when people use their legal name (doctors, substitute teachers reading roll call from the “official” list, etc.) instead of their middle.

Our son is adamant that he now wants the middle name as a first name and wants to take Hubby’s middle name as his own. He’s stuck by this for almost two years, so that’s what we call him, but we’re not allowing him to change it legally until he’s 13. By then, he may change his mind.

4. “Why did you/didn’t you adopt a child who looks like you?”

Children are children. Children who need homes…need homes. Why should we (or you) care whether the children look like us or not? Yes, transracial adoption comes with its own set of issues, but white-on-white, black-on-black and Asian-on-Asian adoption can be just as difficult. Sometimes the cultural differences are huge, even within the same ethnic community.

Based on the demographics of where we lived the first ten years of our marriage, Hubby and I fully expected to have a brown rainbow in our house once we started adopting. At the outset, I was pulling for a total of five boys of all different ethnic backgrounds. I thought it would be an amazing way to expand their horizons (and ours), learning about all the different cultures and proving that yes, we really CAN all get along (ah, the sweet innocence of inexperience). I spent four years braiding hair for my neighbor’s daughter in case we ended up with a girl or two (fun fact: my “volumizing” conditioner was NOT interchangeable for her hair product).

God laughed at all my planning and dropped mini-me and mini-Hubby in our laps. They look so much like us that I have been stopped THREE TIMES by strangers asking if I cloned my daughter. If only you knew. 

We all look alike, but sometimes I do wonder…can’t we all just get along?

5. “Didn’t you want a child of your own?” and “Did you try everything else already? I hear they’re making great strides with IVF.” 

Seriously? These children ARE our own. I don’t understand why giving birth becomes such an important factor. This only applies to “your” children. Did you give birth to your cousins? I don’t think so (unless you live somewhere that doesn’t frown on such things). And yet, no one asks, “Are those YOUR OWN cousins?”

For us, no, we did not “try everything else,” because we had our sights set on adoption long before my Lupus became an issue. Some of my friends were desperate to carry a child; that’s never been a big deal to me. Luckily, Hubby didn’t care one way or the other, either. God matched us up just right (thanks, God!) and we couldn’t be happier with the way things are.

Except when we run out of ice cream. When we’re out of butter pecan ice cream, I could be happier with the way things are. But lack of ice cream is rare, so…

Several of my friends pursued fertility treatments. Some were successful. A number failed in a miserable mess. So, let me ask you: if you’ve had a heartbreaking defeat, do you want to discuss it? Didn’t think so.

We don’t say, “Hey, I hear your interviews were awful and you didn’t get any of the jobs. Did you try proofreading your resume?” or “I heard you’re trying to build a house but didn’t qualify for the loan. That’s a bummer. Have you tried selling your current home first?”  We don’t stick our noses into those situations, because (unless we’re a professional in the field), we can’t help. Why in the world is it okay to give advice about adoption and trying to make babies?

So, let’s be real, I have jumped in with unsolicited advice about job hunts. But I’m a RECRUITER. I can actually help. In the words of my son’s first grade teacher: “mahnd your bid-ness and leave people be” unless you’re a fertility doctor, IVF professional or are willing to provide an egg / sperm sample.

And even so—be very sure they want the offer of assistance before you start digging that hole.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for—how to lose 30 lbs: 

6. If you find yourself asking too many questions and you see your adoptive friend’s eye beginning to twitch, get a roll of duct tape. 

Cover your mouth securely with the tape. Three or four layers should suffice. Carefully use a pen or Xacto knife to poke a small hole in the tape. Insert straw. Blend up a smoothie. Sip away. Ask your friend to let you know the optimal time for removal of duct tape. Likely, he will suggest a four-to-six week span of silence, followed by a probationary period.

Follow the duct-tape-smoothie diet and you’ll lose up to 30 pounds in six weeks. You’re welcome. 

 

Here’s the thing.

We all know you mean well and don’t intend to cause pain. If you have sincere questions, we’re truly happy to answer them. (But for the love of all that’s holy, don’t ask in front of the kids—or for that matter, if they’re within a football-field distance. Kids have ears like bats, especially if the topic is them.)

I recommend letting your friend know you have questions, then asking if it’s okay to email or call him. Also, ask her if she’s comfortable receiving questions right now. Sometimes, when the kids are crazy hyenas, we just don’t have enough brain capacity left.

7. The question that is ALWAYS okay to ask: “How can I help you today? I’m not leaving until you give me something to do.” 

Especially if you see your friend’s left eye twitching, she will welcome this question. When you have a zillion questions, first channel that inquisitive energy into doing something helpful. Taking the time for a two minute conversation with the four year old, coloring with the seven year old, helping the ten year old clean up the mess in her room that accurately represents the pre-pubescent-hormonal-angst-disaster in her head…all these things can make a world of difference to a frazzled adoptive parent.

One last thing: take time to ask good questions.*

*Unfortunately, this will not result in weight loss, but it may prevent mild to moderate friend loss.

 

 

 

About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'll give it to you straight. Success, failure, truth.

Posted on May 5, 2015, in Adoption, parenting, Writing101 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I loved this article! It is so encouraging to know that you adopted not because of a myriad of problems but because you wanted to. So often people say we only adopted as a last resort, as if adopting a child is second best to having one. It is horrible when that happens, and I do agree that when people asked have you tried IV etc it just annoys me. We have such a huge problem of over-population in this world that I feel that adoption is great and I personally feel it is not necessary for me to have a biological child. I really just want to adopt when I am older.

    Thanks for your positive thoughts and for being so helpful with regards to being pro-adoption.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful note! I’m so glad you are considering adoption for your future. I read a biography of George Muller when I was pre-teen, which started me thinking about all the kids who need homes (highly recommend reading his story, by the way).

      As I’m sure you’ll see in the blog, living in adoption is sometimes extremely difficult, but as my friend Rob reminds me occasionally, living with bio kids can be just as hard. (Sometimes a reality check is nice. I try not to get sucked into the “FaceBook Lies of Happiness” thing–where it looks like everyone else is doing just fine as your world crashes around you, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own little world.)

      I think parenting in general is tough, and it takes a determined person to get those kids safely to adulthood. Sounds like you’re already that person! 🙂 I’m not sure how old you are (don’t tell me–you never know who’s reading, and I don’t want to be responsible for some stalker noticing you), but I look forward to hearing YOUR adoption adventures sometime in the future! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Casey this is such a great article. It strikes a great balance of being practical, deadly-serious, funny and well written. You are likely helping far more people than you might imagine.

    Oh, and if you are actually willing to answer some recruitment Qs… I have one or two! If not – I will understand… I imagine you get swamped with requests.

    Have a good day,
    Diana

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! I appreciate the time you took to read and comment, and the encouragement! 🙂

      Sure, I’d be happy to help. You can email me through the “Burning Question?” link in the menu up top.

      Like

  3. Lets get a couple of things straight. The first is that there are no dumb questions, just dumb people that ask questions. Secondly, you must have dumb people in your life because no one has ever asked me these questions. Maybe West Virginians aren’t so dumb after all. Thirdly, I love that you are writing this, gives me a good laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love, love love! This should be compiled into a short book and maybe just maybe people would stop asking such stupid questions…than again….probably not! BUT still should be in a book, especially the weight loss trick 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! I truly appreciate your faithful company on this journey! 🙂 Hubby keeps pressing for a book, too…I need to go somewhere alone for a month, ha!

      Like

  5. Great advice and thank you for my new saying Rattus norvegicus’ derriere

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another brilliantly written piece that left me smiling and chuckling. And rolling my eyes. Lots of people (looking the other way) open the mouths and speak without engaging the brains. (Loved the addendum with weight loss!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed all these Internet ads claiming “shocking tricks” or “one simple trick” for weight loss that (insert profession here) hates. Usually it’s something dumb, like, “eat more vegetables.” They made me laugh, so I thought I’d work it in. Thanks for reading and rolling! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 You might recognize tonight’s post; I’m too brain-dead to write, so thought I’d bring back an oldie. We’ve been dealing with a renter who took six months to pay us (we had to go through the courts) and his employer accidentally overpaid us, and he wants the money…immediately. Of course. So that’s what I’ve been dealing with today. A very developed-country problem, I know…much less of an issue than many of my friends are having, but stressful, nonetheless. Meeting him tomorrow morning and praying all goes well. (It’s a public place, just in case…)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like it could be material for a new story! Cloak-and-dagger stuff. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hmm…how to work into princess storyline….

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know!! I am SO missing our little princess. Is her name Charlotte? 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            • Not to sound weird, but she hasn’t given me a name yet. So far, when I write, it just all sort of happens. I remember reading an article about a writer who was very upset because her character died, and her husband said something along the lines of, “You’re the AUTHOR. Just don’t kill him off,” and she said she didn’t have a choice. At the time I thought she was being silly, but that’s sort of how this story feels–it kind of writes itself when I get to a spot where I can just be quiet by myself and let the silence wrap around me (which doesn’t happen often, ha).

              ***SO WAIT. Ha ha, I just went to look up the meaning of the name Charlotte and realized it’s the name of the royal baby. I’m obviously living under a rock.

              Liked by 1 person

  7. You’ll be amazed at the stupid questions people ask birth parents too! e.g. Is that your baby? when you’re waiting with a sick child at a Doctor’s clinic – No, this is my hobby to sit with other people’s sick children. Your child doesn’t look like you at all! No he looks like my husband who doesn’t look like me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My cousin and his wife just adopted a baby girl and they couldn’t be happier. I think it’s awesome that you choose to adopt 🙂 I can’t believe people actually ask these questions…I mean I can, but seriously. Whatever happened to thinking before we speak?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So how can I help you today?

    A very informative post. I’ve never known any adopters, though I did know an adoptee (yep, making up my own terms here). The fact that he was adopted was just another piece of trivia about him and didn’t have any bearing on our interactions or my perception of him.

    He knows who his family is. That’s good enough for me.

    I do have friends without children and I’ve been curious (just for the sake of it, really) if they want/plan to have kids. But I’d never outright ask because it’s not really my business.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, adoptee is a real word, even though it’s not recognized by spell check. So, bonus–you made up a word that is a real word. This places you in the “intelligent AND creative” category. 🙂 Thanks so much for being a great reader and feedbacker (see, now I’m making up words). I really appreciate it!

      Your last paragraph explains why you have those friends. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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