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JAWM Not accepting Adopted Children

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I see this over and over again.

 

If a child was adopted at an older age and is struggling with high school work the parents first talk about their bio children who are successful.

 

Or when introducing their children they point out their 1 biological child (if they have adopted multiple) or vice versa, they have several biological children and single out the adopted child as adopted.

 

As someonwle who is adopted and never made to feel different or not part of the family, I am greatly bothered by this.

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I haven't seen that in the adoption community nowadays, unless the parent believes the adoption to be relevant to something they are discussing.  For example, some people believe that certain problems of their children are related to adoption trauma.  Or the fact that they have no history beyond a certain point may be relevant.

 

Consider that you may be meeting many families who don't mention that their adopted kids are adopted.  How would you know?  You usually can't tell by looking.

 

When I was working on my adoption, I was surprised to learn how many of my friends and acquaintances were either adoptees or adoptive parents.  They only mentioned it when it became relevant i.e. they could relate or advise me on something.

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Sorry, I just noticed this was a JAWM.  I agree that it is a sad thing if people are treating their adopted kids differently.  :(

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Sorry, I just noticed this was a JAWM.  I agree that it is a sad thing if people are treating their adopted kids differently.  :(

 

Yes, very sad.  

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I am extremely bothered by this too. In support groups for special needs children, I see a lot where parents want to make sure everyone knows their defective kids are not their bio kids. Makes me angry. (I know the children are not defective, that is just how it comes off when they talk that way).

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I knew a woman with two adopted children, and only two adopted children, who referred to them as her adopted children. All I could ever think about was how that made them feel.

 

(For whatever it's worth, there were no appearance or language differences that would have caused anyone wonder.)

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My mother always refers to one of my cousins as 'your adopted cousin'.  My mum thinks of herself as a right-on liberal kind of person, but she never really accepted her sister's daughter.  In this case, I think it was partly resentment of her sister who was a lot nicer than she (she objectively was); the sister having adopted was just one more irritating proof of virtue, in my mum's eyes.

Edited by Laura Corin

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I see this occasionally, and it really makes me mad. I don't know why it is necessary to differentiate. Also makes me mad - when extended family treats adopted family members differently. When dh and his brother and sister were growing up, they received less from one set of grandparents for birthdays and Christmas in such an obvious way - as in 5 gifts for the bio grand kids and 1 for the adopted.

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I've never seen this.

 

DH is adopted with a bio sibling, and we have family friends with both adopted and bio kids. Several families.

 

That's really stinky. :(

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I am extremely bothered by this too. In support groups for special needs children, I see a lot where parents want to make sure everyone knows their defective kids are not their bio kids. Makes me angry. (I know the children are not defective, that is just how it comes off when they talk that way).

I've seen some of this too and it bothers me--parents with adopted children who have learning difficulties or special needs of some kind who mention every time they talk about the child's challenges that the child is adopted.

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I haven't seen this among the (admittedly few) people I know who have both bio and adopted children but I agree it's terrible.

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I am 25 and 27 years older then my sisters. I often point out that they were adopted because it makes more sense then if they were bios to me. It isn't because my sisters are inferior or superior to me, it is because it is a HUGE age gap. On the RARE occasions we are together, it is clear someone is adopted. We look nothing alike. 

 

Full disclosure we also have an estranged sister who is 12 years younger then me in there too... she is my half bio sister and my youngest sister has never met her. I never really mention her. (We too look little alike.)

 

In my house I am fostering to adopt. We will adopt a daughter or 2 (the way we are licensed that is the way it will work). When that happens they will be younger then our boys (bio). Not sure how I will introduce them when that happens. However I normally say I am a mom of 5 (3 in heaven 2 on earth) prior to getting licensed so I imagine it will be much the same then (mom of 7). 

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I've seen some of this too and it bothers me--parents with adopted children who have learning difficulties or special needs of some kind who mention every time they talk about the child's challenges that the child is adopted.

 

The one mitigating factor is that the special needs might stem from prenatal drug or alcohol exposure. I think I'd mention the adoption too if that were the case. 

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That’s awful and wrong. I’ve never encountered it in real life, thankfully. Unless there is an obvious difference in ethnicity or age groups you wouldn’t know who was and wasn’t adopted among my mommy friends and the kiddos - they’re pretty much completely woven into the fabric of the family and with surprising speed. I’ve been super impressed by that, because I know it’s a concerted effort to make it an ‘us’ and not a ‘bio vs adopted’ thing.

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To the extent that prenatal substance exposure, neglect/abuse in the early years, and attachment issues may be exacerbating the SN child's struggles, I do think it's relevant. But to mention how well the bio children are doing is just weird and :thumbdown: 

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The one mitigating factor is that the special needs might stem from prenatal drug or alcohol exposure. I think I'd mention the adoption too if that were the case.

I was thinking this too.

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OMG. I remember a few times when my mom demanded to know why my bio sisters and I couldn't be more like my foster sister J (who was quiet, compliant, and didn't complain about chores nearly as much), but overall my parents were very good about treating us all fairly. My bio sisters and I always felt protective of our foster sibs. And I have a younger brother and sister (legally half-siblings, my mom and ex-stepdad adopted them) who are adopted, that comes up largely because people look at me with this particular look when I mention I have a brother and sister who are 31 and 33 years younger than me. In our family we make it very clear that they are special, not "less-than" because they are adopted. They think it's funny that they have nieces who are older than them, and my little sister likes talking about being a great-aunt (our oldest niece, J's daughter, has 2 kids). About the only thing my parents ever did different with non-bio kids was not spank foster kids. 

 

Now, my maternal grandmother had an annoying habit of ignoring foster and adopted kids and acting like they didn't "count". Which my mother loathed and it drove a wedge between them the last years of grandma's life. That doesn't fly with my mom. Her kids are her kids regardless of how they got to be her kids--and we all had our strengths and weaknesses. 

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The one mitigating factor is that the special needs might stem from prenatal drug or alcohol exposure. I think I'd mention the adoption too if that were the case.

It is relevant when trying to figure out a diagnosis, but not super relevant when an issue comes up in conversation. There are certainly times when it comes across as the parent making sure it is super clear that they in no way contributed to this defect their child has.

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I hear grandparents mention it of their grandchildren somewhat frequently. It strikes me as really odd. 

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I suspect it's a generational thing or a cultural thing. It's definitely not acceptable in the current American adoptive community.

We adopted youngest from S. Korea.  My husband, bio kids, and I are all Caucasian.  I have never introduced her as my adopted kid, but you'd be surprised how often people want me to confirm it.  At least they did before she was verbal. I think there are personality types (very different from mine) that have a deep need for external confirmation or can't tolerate wondering about something. If I wasn't sure if a kid was adopted or not I might wonder about it for a moment and then move on with my day.  I wouldn't need to say out loud to the parent, "Sooo, I'm guessing s/he's adopted?"  But some people do. 

When my step-siblings and I introduce each other, the ones I lived with growing up simply say, "This is my sister." But with the 10 year age difference and very different physiques, some people just can't help looking surprised.  They seem to think it's a puzzle worth solving to figure out if we're bio, half or step.  Sometimes I want to say something like, "Ya know, there's no prize for solving that and does it really matter to you anyway?" Just because you wonder about something doesn't mean you have to raise your eyebrows, turn your head at an angle, and look back and forth between us several times quickly.  Sheesh.  Be an adult.

My step-dad, who has been my step-dad since I was 3, didn't need to explain it.  Once someone said to him, in front of me, "She has your eyes. "  He just smiled proudly and said, "Yes, she does.  Doesn't she."  I call him dad just like I call my bio dad dad. It actually irritated my husband that I didn't specify which dad I meant early in our marriage.  My bio brother doesn't either.  We can have a conversation talking about them back and forth never once specifying which dad we mean and not be confused at all.  My husband asked how that could possibly be.  I told him, "context." He said, "But there wasn't any context.  I was there for the whole conversation."

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I hear grandparents mention it of their grandchildren somewhat frequently. It strikes me as really odd. 

 

That's what I was thinking too -- that I'd maybe expect my parents' generation (they're in their late 80's) as being more likely to point it out.  I imagine adoption happened far less often in that generation.  I think generally it's not done to be negative, but because they feel it's so unique that they like to bring it up.

 

But yeah, it does seem odd in most circumstances.

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That's what I was thinking too -- that I'd maybe expect my parents' generation (they're in their late 80's) as being more likely to point it out. I imagine adoption happened far less often in that generation. I think generally it's not done to be negative, but because they feel it's so unique that they like to bring it up.

 

But yeah, it does seem odd in most circumstances.

There were plenty of adoptions they just weren't spoken of.

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Thankfully I have never experienced this.  I am adopted and we have adopted.  

 

I am sorry you have.

Edited by DawnM

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:grouphug:  That does sound sad.

 

I know this is a JAWM thread but just to try to offer some perspective on why that might be...

In defense of talking about the successful kid more, I will say that people generally just try to focus on the positive in superficial conversation. None of my kids were adopted, but when people are just chatting casually "What are your kids into" it's much easier to talk about Middle Child doing so well in school and all her interests than to overshare things my Oldest might not want me to just blab about to everyone. But her reality is that much of her life is taken up with her depression and anxiety. It kind of rules her life. When I talk about her, I mention that she's a wonderful artist and loves to write. She hangs out with her friends. But she doesn't drive (people ask this about 16 year olds but she's afraid to) and she isn't in any extracurricular activities, not into sports or music or anything. She doesn't have a job(another thing people sometimes ask about), and frankly, her plans for the future are mostly concerned with desperately trying to get her medication to a place that's working for her. Middle is robotics club. Oldest is in therapy. It's just easier to talk about robotics club. It's hard to know what to say, what we should share.

 

It's unfortunate that in a family with biological and adopted children, it's so often the adopted kids who are the ones struggling. I'm a biological child from a family where the adopted ones were treated differently, so I know that happens and it sucks and it's completely damaging to the adopted kids. :(

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I have a friend whose adopted kids are older than her bio kids. She put all the kids in a local private Christian school.

 

When the oldest adopted kids hit 9th and 10th grade, she realized the academics were badly lacking at the school. However, the oldest aren't particularly academic kids and (much more of a factor in the decision), her oldest kids had good social ties to their friends at the Christian school. She didn't want to disrupt them socially, so she let them stay in the school, especially since they'd have haaaated a more academic setting.

 

Her bio kids are academically driven. One works non-stop on schoolwork and plans on becoming a doctor. So, when the younger bio kids hit 9th grade, she chose a Catholic private school with rigorous academics, where the youngest kids would be happy.

 

Turns out, the adopted kids thought she was shafting them on their education. They were (are--they're 19 and 20) convinced that their parents saved the good school for the bio kids.

 

It's not true at all. At all. The mom and dad made the best decision for each child separately. The adopted kids would have withered at the 2nd school. The bio kids would have withered at the first. But the adopted kids are convinced their parents saved the best choice for the bio kids.

 

It's sad. The oldest ones have struggled and still struggle with this.

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I suspect it's a generational thing or a cultural thing. It's definitely not acceptable in the current American adoptive community.

 

 

 

I don't know. I have a dear friend that adopted from Japan and my son is also adopted. Friend's daughter is obviously adopted. My son is the spitting image of my DH. We both love having conversations about adoption and being positive ambassadors of adoption in the community. On occasion if we see a child that is obviously adopted we try to casual bring it into conversation ... nobody thinks anything of it when she does it because it's obvious her child is adopted. I get a few raised eyebrows because I look nosy until I mention that my son was also adopted. It's really nice to be able to discuss it with other families that have adoption experience.

 

People love talking about their birthing stories. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong about talking about their adoption stories.

 

In my house I am fostering to adopt. We will adopt a daughter or 2 (the way we are licensed that is the way it will work). When that happens they will be younger then our boys (bio). Not sure how I will introduce them when that happens. However I normally say I am a mom of 5 (3 in heaven 2 on earth) prior to getting licensed so I imagine it will be much the same then (mom of 7). 

 

They're just your kids. I don't introduce mine any differently even though there is a huge age gap. My DD would die if I singled little brother out "This is my daughter and this is my adopted son." to explain their age differences. Lots of people just assume he's a late caboose baby. The kids attend parochial school so it goes from 3 yo preschool all the way up to eight grade. I have one of the youngest kids in the school and one of the oldest. You'd think that would be unusual but three of my daughter's classmates also have a sibling in class with my son. Nobody thinks anything about it.

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This is kind of an odd thing but funny to me. My dad is very much a traditional old school type man. We worried a bit about how he would accept an adopted child. It wasn't a huge worry because my dad is loving and kind but it did cross our minds that in his generation it wasn't a thing that was done. (Both parents wondered if we would tell DS he was adopted. How did people keep that a secret back in the day?!!? That to me seems impossible.)

 

We were lucky in that we were able to be at the hospital right after DS was born and take him home with us. My parents dote on that kid. My dad has actually asked about genetic testing on him because he's just so convinced that somehow they are actually blood related. (We're not doing that.)  Kinda charming. Kinda odd.

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It's really awful when a parent's insecurities are projected onto the humanity of the child and they use adoption as a way to distance themselves.  Sometimes when I've seen this sort of thing I think the parents are so used to talking to only other members of the foster community it doesn't occur to them that they're being inappropriate. Or worse, they're only disclosing the status for kudos!

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We have adopted through foster care and we had guardianship of my husband's godson (his late father was one of DH's best friends) while he aged out of foster care in our home. Having said that, I truly see myself as a mother of ten. Although I have different connections to and special relationships with all of my children I see that as the reality that they are all unique and special individuals. Each of them bring something different, yet very beautiful, to the fabric of our tightly woven family. Half of our children are my biological offspring, 60% of our children are my husband's biological offspring, but they have all grown into our hearts in a way that has certainly changed us, and our collective family, for the better.

Edited by LMV
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