Adoption Selection Questions

20150121 - Curiosity About Adoption ChoicesIt is so weird to fill out a child desirability form, and we often receive questions about our choices.

Honestly, this is one of the strangest things about the adoption process.  And I believe that no-one outside of adoption realizes just how weird it this is to actually do.  It’s one thing to think to yourself what would I do if? It’s a whole different thing to actually sit down and check boxes and to understand the consequences of our selections on ourselves, our child and our extended family.

In fact, in real life we’ve been asked countless times, and it’s even been suggested that we get a “half black baby because they are the cutest” and each time we respond with our child may be of a different race and do not give details. Of course, we are always shocked by this type of comment, because honestly, on what planet is it appropriate to say things like this?! But somehow, people’s curiosity about adoption seems to get the best of them.

We’ve also been asked if our child will be healthy, and we always simply say that our child will be healthier via adoption then it ever would if we were to try to carry a biological child to term. Again, we are shocked by this question. I don’t ask pregnant women if their child will be healthy. I don’t ask pregnant women if they are drinking or shooting up cocaine. Heck, I don’t even ask if they are taking their prenatal vitamins. This would be considered invasive in normal pregnant situations, which means it is also invasive to ask people who are adopting. While we have a lot of not so nice ways to respond to these questions, instead we tend to stick to a polite response like things can go wrong in any pregnancy and children can be born with any number of ailments, and children can develop any number of ailments as they age. I believe all parents hope for a healthy child, and with our choice to adopt we are no different, but we will handle whatever happens just like nearly any other parent in the world does.

Ultimately, we made the decision not to share our selections with anyone. We were warned that if people know our child had exposure to a particular drug, that for the rest of our child’s life we and even they would hear your child did that because their birth mother smoked pot or your child has behavioural problems because their birth mom drank. We decided that this was not something we were willing to gamble on, and so this information will remain private between Mr. MPB, myself, our family doctor and our counsellor. And at the age appropriate time our child will know as well. But otherwise, we are not saying a word to anyone, no matter who they are.

In dealing with the questions we’ve been asked, we’ve learned that if we are vague.  When our answers are vague, people seem to stop asking questions or move on. When our answers are a bit too detailed, people seem to keep asking questions. So, our approach is to be polite and vague. So far, polite and vague seems to be working.

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56 Comments on “Adoption Selection Questions

  1. Hi there! As an adopted person, I’ve heard so many of these (and a few more equally offensive ones!)… I get told all the time that I am really good at speaking English, for example. I’ve never spoken another language!
    I think back when we were adopted, you didn’t get to pick. I always thought that I’d been specially chosen, until my dad told me I was next in line! I think that’s almost nicer, because I know it was all down to my own good luck! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. I laughed at the comment you got about English! Seriously, when will people use their brains?!
      Also, I love your Dad’s honesty about your adoption, I really think it’s critical that we are honest with our child (at the age appropriate time of course) about the entire adoption process.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t believe that someone really said to you that you should get a biracial child because they’re cuter! I mean…I just don’t even know what to say about that!! It blows my mind that someone would ever thing it was okay to say something like that. I think you’re wise to keep your answers short and vague. If you choose to tell someone specifics, fine…but people shouldn’t assume that you will tell them everything just because they’re nosy.

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  3. I have to agree with you on that form! It was just the oddest thing ever. I felt so guilty filling it out, because if it was our biological child, we would just love the baby no matter what. We have told people our choices but that is a totally personal choice and when our match actually happens, details of a potential issue will be given on a need to know basis. I agree, we all hope our children will be healthy, no matter which way they come to us.

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    • Yes, you get it! That form sucks!!
      And, just an odd thought that you comment raised in my mind – while you say you would love your biological child no matter what because you don’t get to pick and choose, the truth is we kind of do pick back when you chose your partner. For me, it wasn’t an overt decision to marry Mr. MPB because I thought his genetic make-up was desirable for our children. But, at the same time when I fell in love with Mr. MPB and chose to spend my life with him, I was also choosing the biology of our child – I knew they might get his hair or his beautiful smile or his cute nose or his families history with x disease.
      Anyways, thanks for understanding how weird this truly is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We had to fill out a similar paperwork as foster parents. I understand why they do it (they want to make the best match/fit for each family as possible) but at the same time, these are kids, who need love, and a stable home where they can feel safe and stay healthy. When Callie and I filled out the paperwork (unlike some of the other foster parents in our class that we spoke to) we asked ourselves, what is it that we really want and what is holding us back from these other said options. We have had several placements, and people ask questions, and we keep the answers, like you, very vague, because honestly, what difference does it make if their parents were on drugs, or if they beat the crap out of them, or if they were sexually, emotionally, physically abused. The truth is, they are here now, in our care, and we are doing the very best we can, as if we gave birth to them, as if they are biological children. When I’ve gotten the snarky remark, or someone says something that just doesn’t sit well with me, I have a hard time holding my tongue (sort of a firecracker with no filter, if you haven’t noticed-lol!) and not rolling my eyes and telling them to buzz off! You are ultimately making the best choice for your family…I say this all the time, did they pay for the adoption? Your groceries? Keeping your lights on? Paying your mortgage? I’m sorry, what was that? Oh, no?! Didn’t think so! Sometimes I don;t think people realize how offensive their comments can be!

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    • Like you, I absolutely agree with the form, I just hated actually doing it. We actually refused to work with an agency who didn’t use any type of selection form because we strongly believe that we need to know ourselves and the birth mother to create a good match – the fact is for us in an open infant adoption we are bound together for life, so it had better be a pretty darn good match if it’s going to work long term!
      Also, I love your firecracker without a filter approach. Trust me, this will happen to me as well from time to time – catch me on a bad day and I am much less likely to be calm and level headed when I hear stupid things about how we should adopt a “half black baby because they are just so cute.” And when it does happen I promise I’ll write a post all about my inability to remain calm and collected. 🙂
      Oh, and thanks for sharing!! I always love hearing your perspective. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, dear. Just when I think there is hope for humanity… Mixed race babies are cuter? I give you credit for not walking away in the middle of their sentence.

    A lot of people don’t have a window into this process, so you become the unofficial spokesperson for all things adoption. I’ve had moments like this when talking about my fertility treatments– Questions are fine when they come from a place of curiosity and a desire to know what you’re going through. How quickly they veer toward thoughtless and offensive. Come ON, humans! Try harder!

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  6. Thanks for this post! I always like to hear where your head is at and how you are responding to things. There are multiple right ways, and it is very interesting to hear others’ perspectives – even when they are a little invasive or downright rude sometimes! This.crazy.life. 🙂

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  7. I think you’ve made a great decision about privacy. While it will be intertwined with yours, it seems like it will be the child’s story to tell if/when he/she wants to share what challenges (if any) he/she faced from prenatal care. Perfect doesn’t mean flawless, and your baby will be absolutely perfect for you when he or she arrives!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Perfect doesn’t mean flawless” – such a great sentence and just absolutely true! I would go so far as to add Adopted or not perfect doesn’t mean flawless. This is something I seem to be reminding myself and others – no child is perfect adopted or biological.

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  8. Dude! Since posting the other day that we were researching adoption, two people have already asked us if we will adopt from a difference race! The two people are people close to us, so I wasn’t really bothered, but I was very surprised at how quickly that question came up! And now I realize it’s just the first of many invasive questions. I don’t mind at all when people ask me questions about IVF or my ovaries or whatever because it’s MY body, but it feels so different knowing that these questions are not about me, but about our potential child. I think polite, but vague is the way to go. I will have to work on my responses. I’m so used to over sharing about infertility in the hope of educating, but adoption is a whole different beast, I think.

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    • Seriously, what is with people?!! Do you think its stupidity, curiosity or something else that is causing them to ask?
      I think my issue with the race questions more then anything else is that in our society today it shouldn’t matter. And for us, the people who have been asking are people who we never thought had a racist bone in their bodies. So we are just surprised.
      As for other questions, the medical stuff comes up a lot too. It seems as though everyone knows someone 10 times removed from them who was adopted and had FAS or some other ailment.
      Anyways, I completely agree with you about the transormation from IF to adoption being weird because it’s no longer talking about us, but about our child. I too am an over-sharer, so it’s been hard for me to reign in my talkative self and come up with appropriate responses that educate about adoption and respect our child’s privacy. That said, it does get easier with practice. 🙂

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  9. Honestly it’s amazing that people are so inappropriate. I cannot fathom trying to make those decisions (because I am not in that position right now) but I totally understand keeping the information private. You are protecting your future child and its just no one else’s business!

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    • People really are inappropriate – good choice in word! Our losses started to teach me that and adoption just confirmed just how inappropriate people can be!
      Thanks for your encouragement to keep protecting our future child’s privacy. I hope we can do it without ever being too rude.

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  10. You know, with some questions/comments about infertility/loss (“You’ll be successful next time!” or “Why don’t you just try IVF?”) they’re well-meaning but clueless. I’m (usually) able to take a deep breath and remind myself that these comments are coming from a place of caring and an awkwardness at not knowing what to say. With the invasive questions about adoption… it’s not quite the same thing. It’s hard to imagine a well-meaning motivation behind the biracial comment. I guess the best you can say to yourself is that at least it’s indicating interest/caring about your situation? So many people are so bad at talking about emotionally charged situations outside their own narrow experience — it’s really quite surprising.

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    • You are so right about the difference between infertility/loss comments and questions and adoption comments and questions. It’s harder to see the good nature / innocence in a question or statement that is racially based. On the adoption side we’ve been shocked at some of the comment’s we’ve received and the apparent normalness in which they were said. It really is just weird.

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  11. WTF about the biracial comment? The things that come out of some people’s mouths just never fails to horrify me! I think keeping your choices to yourselves is a wise decision. Because frankly, the only people it SHOULD matter to is the two of you (and your future child) because no one else is gonna do the raising of the little one, and it’s no one else’s business.

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    • The craziest thing about the biaracial comment is that we’ve heard it on 2 separate occasions from individuals who don’t know each other and we would never have expected it from. And yet, the people we thought might be slightly racist (i.e. grandparents and rural family members) have been totally appropriate. It’s so weird and mind-boggling all at once!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. How frustrating to get such insensitive questions from people. 😦 I’m glad you and Mr. MPB have made good decisions about your privacy and your future child’s privacy. I hope that vague and polite keeps working nicely for you! ❤

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    • It has been more astonishing then frustrating to see what people say. I’m starting to be more amazed then anything when people say something so totally politically incorrect like it’s no big deal.

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  13. It’s always interesting to watch how quickly the boundary is crossed between innocent curiosity and none-of-your-damn-business.

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    • You mean there is a line? haha! 🙂
      I’m not sure if people realize the line exists and choose to ask anyways because they are so curious, or if they simply don’t even think about it at the time. I hope it’s that they aren’t thinking…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sometimes people’s nosey curiosity overpowers their sense of boundaries. I find this a lot with people and their inability to conceptualize two feminine women being married. We are often asked stupid and intrusive questions like “who’s the man in the relationship” or “so who gets to wear the engagement ring?” and I’m like, “Wtf??”. I imagine you’re often thinking this too.. Lol.

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    • I don’t know how you put up with such ridiculous question! Or, I guess, in a way I do since I now get the adoption stupid questions!
      It really would be nice if people would think before they talk, that way we wouldn’t have to think Wtf so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I can absolutely empathize with the bizarre experience of filling out the selection form. We had to have some very difficult conversations about what would be a match for our family, including our extended family. We also followed the advice of our adoption agency and have declined sharing with others our openness in relation to prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. It’s amazing how many people ask outright when they learn we are adopting. One person boldly said to us “but if you say you would take a crack baby then you would probably get chosen sooner.” Consequently, we haven’t spent much time with this person ever since. Ultimately, only you and your partner get to decide what is right for you and your family. Wishing you a speedy match!!

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    • Thank you so much for sharing how you understand this – I’d like to say I’m shocked at the comment you received about a crack baby, but sadly I am not. People sure are shocking sometimes!
      Our agency also gave us the same advice – keep our decisions and our child’s history confidential for the betterment of our child’s future. So, we made the decisions that are best for us, and we are keeping those decisions just between us.

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  16. I realize my comment is going to be a complete non-sequitor in response to your post today. For that I apologize upfront, but wasn’t really sure where else to post, so here goes …

    I had TWO thoughts today about and for you:

    1) Why is it taking so long for this woman to get a baby? Why is the adoption process so effed and takes soooooooooooooooo long? Give this woman a damn baby already. She’s awesome. She’s smart. She’s caring. She wants to love and raise a baby and child so badly. She has a supportive husband to help raise and love said child. She has so much to give.

    2) My dad irritated the sh*t out of me today, but somehow I managed to laugh and glide through his question to me. He asked, out of the blue — nowhere did his comment fit our conversation — but that’s to be expected with Aspies … “Have you thought about adoption?” I thought of ALL the sarcastic remarks I could have made. I instead replied with, “I’m almost 47 and don’t want to be a geriatric mother, and Dad, as a woman I think it’s cute you don’t think I’ve already thought about adoption before. I love my freedom and child free life … and my kitties ARE my babies.” He said no more.

    And I send a heartfelt thanks to you because of your exploration of adoption comments from your previous posts. Without having thought about this subject (adoption) long, hard and deeply I couldn’t have come up with a more calm and confident response to my dad.

    And, damnit, why aren’t “those people” giving you a baby yet????!!!!!!!!!!

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    • First, seriously, I’m ready for a baby already! It would be great if we could have our family and move on from all of this! Thank you so much for your love and support!! One day we will get there…I hope. 🙂
      Second, I’m so honoured that I was able to help you respond to your dad. It’s funny in a way, we used to get the questions of why not just adopt. Now we get the question of why are you adopting? Why not surrogacy? I think people just don’t seem to understand that we all make the right decision for us. AND, whatever we decide is our decision so there really shouldn’t be any questions of it. We are adults, we are pretty smart adults, clearly we made the right decision for us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And maybe if you moved on to surrogacy (which I’m NOT suggesting or not suggesting either), then the next question coming would be, “Why don’t have your eggs & hubby’s sperm be abducted by an alien and let the stork bring your baby home? Have you EVEN tried that option yet?” 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Very interesting read as always! I have been reading up a bit on adoption and peoples experiences as I consider it maybe something we do at some point in the future and while pondering it all the first thing I thought is how intrusive it is. Is intrusive the right word? Well what I mean is if you are blessed enough to conceive a child you can keep so much private between you and your husband/partner but with adoption it is all out in the open and you are going to get asked questions you never would by the professionals and family and friends. I think you have made the right decision about keeping your choices private. People do not need to know, why should they be allowed to make judgments with this knowledge. Thanks for sharing your experiences. 🙂 x

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    • Maybe intrusive is a good word. I really didn’t mind the agency questions – I get why they are asking. The part that bothers me the most problem is the public questions from people who just don’t get it. By choosing adoption we get to answer crazy questions from our family and friend, and therefore we have become educators. Yet I suspect if we chose surrogacy or GC, we would be educating people just as much but on a different subject.
      Anyways, thanks so much for this comment and for your support!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. “it’s even been suggested that we get a ‘half black baby because they are the cutest'”
    Nooooooo!!!!!! People really say that kind of thing?! My goodness, there’s nothing like a badly-understood situation to bring out the absolute shockers of comments. Oh my goodness – you and Mr MBP must just look at each other and think “here we go again!” x

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    • We heard that comment from 2 separate people, who do not know each other have said this to us!! And, we never expected this comment from either of them – we were shocked! If nothing else, it’s taught us to expect the unexpected from people.

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  19. Ok, I’m going to be 100% honest here. When we were considering adoption, I wanted to adopt a biracial baby because I figured, if we are going to adopt, let’s put it all out there. Let’s make it obvious that we adopted so that there are no secrets, no awkward conversation later when our kid finds out that they were adopted. It would always just be there and obvious… We adopted you and yay for that! And an upside to me, being quite honest, was that biracial kids do tend to be quite adorable. I mean, they really are! My mulatto friend (his self-description, not mine!) in high school always said, “I’m so good looking because I’m biracial,” and he was right! He still is super good looking. Ha! Anyway, in the back of my mind, when we were thinking about adoption and what boxes we would check, I would think, “our kids are going to be beautiful!”. And yeah, yeah, yeah, all kids are beautiful, but some are more beautiful than others. I’m just saying… (and no, the physical beauty of a child does not define them or determine their worth, so don’t go crazy on me people… I know that. But I also know that biracial children trend to be quite gorgeous and so do you!)

    With that said, I’d never say that to a person who is adopting… But yeah, I’d think it.

    I don’t blame you for not sharing your “selections” with others. They would forever be blamed, and credited, for things about your child that are irrelevant and not applicable. You’re already a fantastic mom!

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    • I love your 100% honesty!! F
      First, I get the idea of choosing to adopt biracial to just sort of put it out there and be done with it.
      Second, I get what you mean about thinking something but not saying it. I guess there is a time and a place for such things. There is also a way to say these things politically correctly, at least I think there is. 🙂
      Anyways, thanks for your comment and your honesty!

      Like

  20. I thought about this post during my shower. I have some assvice for you! Just brush off these stupid questions. A comment above said it’s amazing how quickly it goes from natural curiosity to inappropriate, and that is so true. BUT the person asking, because they’re curious, doesn’t always know when they cross, or rather are about to cross, that line. Because this is all new (and exciting) to them. They haven’t adopted, so they’re curious! They may go too far, and you may be irritated, bit try to laugh it off. Even ask, “did you really just ask/say that? That’s a little too personal” with a smile. They’ll get the point.

    I say this because we went through this with our infertility. “Who is the problem?”. (seriously, from random strangers AND my parents.). “How many IVFs have you done?”. “You should pick gender!”. “aren’t you worried they’ll put the wrong embryo in? That happened, you know, and she had to give the baby back after birthing him.”. “I hope it comes out white!”. (yep… Got that one!). I was so pissed, until I realized that they just don’t know. They’re just clueless, and they sometimes are trying to lighten the conversation.

    I’m not making excuses for these people, but I did finally ask myself one day, “they’ve never been through this, how are they supposed to know when they’ve gone to far?”. And that made all the difference for me!

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    • Most of the time we do just let he comments go – if we hold onto peoples insensitive comments as insensitive it will drive us crazy and we’ll likely be without many friends left. We really do understand that people are asking these questions out of curiosity – most people don’t know anyone who is adopting so they ask questions without understanding that their questions drive us crazy sometimes. I think it’s about us answering questions when we are comfortable and politely changing the subject or simply declining to answer when it becomes uncomfortable.

      Liked by 1 person

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  22. People do say the craziest things. I recently ran into an old friend and when she asked how I was I told her about our struggle to conceive with donor sperm and that it felt pretty bleak and I was sad about it. Without skipping a beat, she began to excitedly talk about her son’s reversed vasectomy and how he and his wife got pregnant on the very first try and she is expecting a new grandchild and thank god they didnt have to use a sperm donor because she had heard “so many horror stories” and “those kids are weird”. This is normally nice, thoughtful person. I have no idea why people get so crazy when infertility/adoption comes up but I totally hear you on keeping things private and minimizing the number of times your brain rages into WTF mode.

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    • Wow, I cannot believe someone responded to you with that story!! It always seems that the weirdest comments come from the “normally nice, thoughtful person”, maybe because we just don’t expect it from them?
      Anyways, thanks so much for sharing! It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one surrounded by people who don’t think before they talk! 🙂

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