It is really unbelievable the types of responses I get nowadays when people finally make the connection that a red-head plus a brown-head equaling an Asian head could not biologically be possible. Before my High School education, looks of confusion but eventual acceptance was the norm to the response that adoption played a role in our family’s origins. And now it is like people are so conscious about their responses to the facts that their more-educated selves make them the worst responders.
From overly-enthusiastic remarks to looks of “Oh my god…Are you OK?”, it becomes hard not to chuckle out loud. Of course chuckling out loud could cause one into a frenzy of a thousand apologies-something that I am reluctant to deal with. Over the years it is incredibly comical to watch a person’s response when you joke about your lineage to your family ties:
“Yeah, my mom and have the same coloured toenails! We must be related or something!” (referring to our matching pedicures)
“……oh ha. ha…”
For real people, every heard of a joke?!? For those of you out there who are still unsure as to how to respond to a good-natured adoption joke…please just laugh like you would any other. For real though, nothing is worse than making a good-natured joke only to be received by looks of “Oh my god..Is it okay to say that about adoption?”. We are laughing at our life, that is okay to do sometimes.
Now..turning to the opposite side of the spectrum, it is equally possible to be over-the-top. Nothing bugs me more than a rant about how great people are for adopting.
“So you were adopted. Well..isn’t that just lovely! You know, everyone should adopt. There are so many kids out there who need to have homes and be removed from those awful places! Adoption is beautiful! Adoption is wonderful! You must be so fortunate and happy! Your parents are just the most amazing people for doing that for you! Imagine what your life would like without them, you certainly would not get the same opportunities that’s for sure. I really love adoption.”
Please don’t get me wrong, I love my parents but even they will agree that no campaign speech is needed. People adopt all of the time. I am perfectly aware of the nature of adoption, and yes, some children are removed from unfortunate situations into better homes. Do we really need to emphasize the whole ‘you were saved’ thing? My life would have been different had I not been adopted by my parents, but the point of my being in a children’s home was that I would eventually become adopted by someone. That someone would had given me the same amount of opportunities, perhaps different ones, but would I have known anything else anyways to be able to compare? Telling me that I was ‘saved’ will most definitely ensure that I challenge you again and again every chance I get. Save those comments to yourself, better yet, learn the actual nature of adoption-not the scripted great-white saves the day analogy.
Below are a bunch of responses to my being adopted, that I am sure if you are adopted yourself could relate to.
Me: “Yeah I was adopted from Thailand when I was 18 months old.”
1) “That’s neat..What does that mean?” -Sheesh, doesn’t everyone know what it means by now? JK. At least you were polite about it.
2) “Oh my god…Are you OK?” -I was adopted. Not abducted. Big difference people.
3) “When did you find out that you were adopted?” -I was adopted?!?!? I completely thought that it was possible to produce an Asian with two Caucasian parents. Darn…
4) “What is it like…you know..living with THEM?!?” -Like living with aliieeeensssssss..just kidding. What is it like living with yours?
5) “So do they treat you super special? I bet you get everything you want.” -I get what I need. Work for what I don’t have. Like you.
6) “That is so nice that they saved you!” -Yeah, being ‘saved’ from the warmth and tropical weather to freezing cold and snow was a real God-send. But for real, don’t ever say that again.
7) “So..what does it FEEL like living in Canada?” -Ummm..I’ve lived in Canada longer than you have. I should be asking you.
8) “What is it like being adopted?” -What is it like being human?
9) “Is it weird living with white parents?” -Is it weird living with a brain as narrow-minded as yours?
And perhaps the most disturbing but very common, to be blogged about later:
10) “How much did they pay for you?” -$1.99, I was on the value picks menu. Completely joking! You don’t pay for children…so wrong…in many ways…