Since the "Are they orphans?" episode, I've thought of other times I've used the "deflect and educate" strategy. I use it with adults a LOT, but also with kids other than my own (it doesn't seem to work as well with my kids -- and I'm not usually trying to deflect with them).
I think part of why I deflect with other kids is that I'm always a little leery about talking to someone else's kids about adoption. Sometimes other parents don't want their kids to hear my views about adoption -- or anything else, for that matter! (There's a little girl who won't be waiting for late parents to pick her up after ballet anymore, I'm sure, since her dad walked in on my addressing her statement that "Obama is BAD because he called a lady a pig." I was explaining the whole "lipstick on a pig" thing. I'm pretty sure they'll be timely from now on, for fear of what "the crazy Obama lady" will be telling their child! (I promise, I did not raise the issue with the child -- I was talking election stuff with another parent when she interjected her comment!). So I talk adoption or China or race with someone else's kid ONLY when that kid raises it. I never do it on my own, though sometimes I have to say something on the topic to Zoe or Maya within the hearing of other kids!
I've never had a parent say anything to me about what I've said to their children, though I have had parents call me about what Zoe has said! The time, for example, that Zoe took pictures of our trip to China to get Maya to Kindergarten -- we had talked about what she was going to say, marked ONLY the touristy pictures in the album, and then she told the whole class about Maya's foster parents, defining foster parents, and saying that they were not her birth parents, and defining birth parent for them! The teacher said the kids were mesmerized! I can't even imagine all the conversations at the dinner table that night, but I know of a few of them, because the parents called me. Sigh. And then the time on a play date when Zoe told her friend all about being left in a box and the one child policy and social preference for boys. I got a call from the mom that night -- she was OK with it, but her husband was pissed that his daughter got such a taste of the real world.
So where are the lines on talking to someone else's kids about adoption? Are there any?
The Angrier Adoptee, part 1
6 days ago