If you get pregnant after adopting or adopt after already having a biological child, at some point you will likely hear some variation on “which one is yours?”
“I knew your son was adopted, but your daughter is yours, right?”
“They look so much alike, you would never know that they were not both yours.”
ARGHHH! Before you throw something I think it helps to look at the motive and have a ready comeback.
Focus on Intent
Generally the people who are asking which child is yours do not have evil intent. Most folks are simply trying to figure out the relationship. We can all fall victim to an accidental “foot in mouth” moment.
A few years ago I found out that two women I am acquainted with were sisters. I almost commented that I had no idea because they look nothing alike. Coming from a transracial adoptive family I realized the absurdity of my statement and stopped myself, but had I barreled on as I often do and had one or both been adopted into their family, I might have inadvertently offended them. The fact is that we often speak before we think – it’s simply a part of carrying on a fluid conversation. Wearing our feelings on our sleeves guarantees that we will spend a lot of time being insulted.
It helps me to remember that I’m hypersensitive to comments such as these because I worry about how they will affect my children.
Who is Your Real Audience?
How should you respond to “which one is yours?” or “are they both yours?” Keeping in mind that intent is seldom mean, I try to focus on answering as if my children are listening because they often are. Even if they aren’t listening to that exact conversation, I’m educating the world one person at a time so that maybe it will be slightly easier for them in the future. I say some variation of:
They’re both 100% mine. One came to us through adoption and one through birth. We were lucky enough to get to do it both ways. How about you, do you have children?
How do you respond?
P. S. You’ll also almost be guaranteed to hear “see I told you all you needed to do was relax”. I’m working on a blog on idiocy of this statement, but suffice it to say it is both wrong and disrespectful on so many different levels.
Image credit: Automania