On a family outing with friends Mr. MPB was recently asked a question:
Why is Little MPB’s skin darker then yours?
This is remarkable for three reasons:
- Someone asked Mr. MPB an adoption related question. Basically no-one asks him questions, they always ask me.
- It was blunt, and it was matter of fact. There was no judgement attached.
- An 8 year old ask it.
The conversation proceeded with:
Mr. MPB: Little MPB is adopted so our skin colours are not the same. Just like your cousin’s are adopted.
8 year old: Oh, okay. And she went off to play with Little MPB and the other kids.
The conversation was done. For her, there was nothing more to say. There was no additional questions or comments. No follow ups like:
- You are amazing people.
- Little MPB is so lucky you adopted him.
- Where did you get him?
- What’s his ethnicity?
- When did you get him?
- Do you still keep in touch with his mom?
- Why did you adopt?
- Maybe now that you’ve adopted, you’ll get pregnant and have one of your own.
I love that there was no major adoption explanations required. I love that there were no invasive questions asked or inappropriate comments made. I love that there was no education required on appropriate language or appropriate questions.
I adore the innocence of children.
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What a nice encounter. It sounds refreshing.
I have a question regarding something I’ve been thinking about recently. I am in the slow process of adopting two children who I’ve been foster parenting for 18 months now, and I am working to change my vocabulary. Instead of talking about adoption as a state of being, “my nice IS adopted,” I am switching to talking about adoption as an event/action, “my niece WAS adopted.” I never thought about the phrasing prior to my current experience, and I’m curious to hear what other adoptive parents (and children) think. I notice you used “is,” and I’m curious if that’s your default (like it has been mine) or if it is a conscious decision. Just to be clear, there is no judgement here on language, just genuine curiosity about how others approach this.
Great observation! In this circumstance, I think Mr. MPB was surprised by the question as he never gets asked anything and it was from a child, not an adult.
I think Mr. MPB just tried to explain it very factually and didn’t worry too much about was/is.
But, I do want to add, as I am always asked questions by adults, I ame very conscious about using positive adoption language. We typically say that our family was brought together by adoption – as to not make adoption something that makes just Little MPB unique, but makes our whole family unique. Basically, I figure if we make it about our family, he will have strength in numbers one day to know that it wasn’t just about him. I think I wrote a post on this one upon a time, as we are very aware of how our choice of language may impact Little MPB as he grows up, especially when/if random strangers ever ask questions (which so far they haven’t, but we know it’s a possibility)
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Kid questions are the best. 🙂
This is why you can explain almost anything to them without any judgement!
Yes! I also love when people hear that Avery has two moms as say “cool,” rather than asking follow up questions. I’m happy to share information about how we made our family, but often the questions are inappropriate, and it’s just a nice break to have it accepted without a second thought.
Yes! I love how open and understanding children are. I was able to have conversations with some children in my care about how they came together through sperm donation, foster parenting, and adoption. The questions and the answers came organically. So good to hear that you had a similar experience.
This is beautiful!