|Image from jqueenan's Etsy shop|
So far, they've been relatively harmless and easy to answer. Because Little Man isn't home yet, most of the questions have come from family/friends, and were pretty thoughtful. Mostly on the vein of why did you choose international adoption, and about his birth parents.
We can answer the first easily. The second is a bit more difficult for me.
We once asked another adoptive family the same thing, what do you know about his birth parents? It's a natural thing to wonder about. In our case, we were shut down with a terse "that's private, and we don't share that with anyone." It left us feeling awful, like we had been incredibly rude. And it also made us wonder just what the family was so afraid of.
Now that we are on the other side and having to answer those questions ourselves, we definitely don't want to make people feel as badly as we felt when we asked. And we don't want Little Man to feel that we are embarrassed or uncomfortable about him or his past.
There are different levels of interest by people, and different responses based on those questions. Some will be more like inquisitions, and usually from the school of folks who "couldn't raise a child that wasn't theirs." (Yes, we've actually heard that.) Others, like we were, just trying to learn more about something they may know little about.
I found these cards on Etsy last night, called "Thank you for asking." Fell in love with the name because that's how The Man and I always seem to respond to the "what happened to his parents" question! The cards are designed to be handed out in sets of two. One answers the "is he yours" question, and the second answers the "parents/history" question. I absolutely LOVE the response to the second question:
"A Child's Story" (excerpt from the back side)
Every child’s story is unique, whether or not there are adopted. Adopted children are not bought. The cost of their care in his/her native country, and why their first family was unable to care for him/her, is private. For an adopted child, this is their story to tell when they are adults, with the closest people in their lives. But, what I can tell you is that we are not special people because we have chosen to adopt this child. Rather, we are blessed to have been given this opportunity to parent this child.
She puts this so simply and straightforward! The cards are decorated with lovely artwork too. They are available from Etsy HERE.
Right now, we find that the W.I.S.E. method works for us. W stands for "walk away". I is for saying "it's private". S stands for "share" some information about adoption or about one's own story. E stands for educate others about adoption with correct facts. But it's nice to know there are some other things we can tuck into our repertoire that might be helpful too.
For you APs, how do you handle these questions?