Why Should I Be Careful with Questions about Adoption?

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We drove four hours through the middle of a snowstorm and brought her home on a Friday afternoon in January. It was cold and we were exhausted, but our hearts were full because within 12 hours, we became parents to a second sweet baby girl. In the coming days and weeks, neighbors, friends, family members, and colleagues made their way into our home with delicious meals, thoughtful gifts, and words of encouragement for our new family of four. No doubt about it; our village is an amazing one filled with so much love.

But I will never forget when an acquaintance came by and knocked on our front door. Before he could wish us well and congratulate us on the new member of our family, he walked in and began asking personal questions about our daughter’s birth mother. “How old was she? Why’d she put her kid up for adoption? Didn’t she want her?” The questions rolled carelessly off his tongue, so quickly I could hardly manage to blink my sleep-deprived eyes and say, “Why do you ask? What do you mean?” Instead, I stared at him. I gathered my thoughts. I offered him grace and politely said, “That’s not our story to share. She made a decision out of love, and we love her just as much as we love our daughter.”

As the mom in a transracial family built via adoption, I’m no stranger to ignorant questions about adoption. Sometimes I feel like I have a billboard on my forehead that reads, “ASK ME ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS.” While I understand most people are well-intentioned and simply curious about our family, one of the most cringe-worthy questions I’ll get is exactly what that acquaintance of ours asked us about our newborn daughter’s birth mom on a cold winter afternoon: “Why’d she give up her kid for adoption?” This question hurts me to my core.

You see, my daughter’s birth momma didn’t “give up” her kid. She didn’t nonchalantly put her kid up for adoption. She chose the best life she could for her. She carefully and lovingly and selflessly made an adoption plan with a family who she believed was a perfect fit. She hugged us and thanked us for welcoming her precious baby into our lives—the baby she nurtured and kept safe in her womb for nine months. She walked out of a hospital room with empty arms and tears streaming down her face because she wanted to make sure her beloved baby girl had more than she could provide. That’s not “giving up” her kid. That’s courageously choosing life for her. That’s being brave and saying, “I love you so much, baby girl, that I’m going to try and write the beginning of your story the very best way I know how—even if that means it’s with another family.”

 

Written by Shelley Skuster


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