Controversy has erupted after a local father contacted WBTV and told us he was offended by a popular video game that appeared to make fun of adopted children.Excuse me? Your daughter is 10 and you're waiting to talk to her about her adoption?! Waiting for WHAT exactly?! For the world to end on May 21st so you never have to talk to her about it?! Who knows, maybe that strategy will work for you, Mr. Stapel.
The character in Portal 2, is taunted for being adopted: "Alright, fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty, fatty no parents."
Neal Stapel was playing the game with his 10 year old daughter, when he heard the comments. While he acknowledges it won't be a big deal to most, it is to their family.
"If you're not an adoptive parent it's probably not that big a deal to you," he said. "It's a fantastic game. It's a great game. It's just that one little blurb in there ."
Stapel and his wife adopted their daughter from China and say they've never hidden the fact their child is adopted, they say they wanted to wait until she was ready to talk about it.
For the rest of us, let's review: If you wait for your child to ask questions about her adoption, your silence is telling her that she isn't allowed to ask those questions. Your silence has already answered her question, telling her there is something taboo about the subject of her adoption. So stop tip-toeing around the issue; that lousy video game has given you a wonderful opportunity for adoption talk! Consider the 9th Commandment from the Ten Commandments of Telling:
IX. Initiate conversation about adoption.So grab the opportunity when it presents itself -- tell your daughter why that video game's treatment of adoption upset you; let her know what you think about adoption. Don't worry about planting ideas in her head -- research tells us they're already there. But remember, you haven't talked to her about adoption unless you talk about her birth mother.
Waiting until kids ask questions isn't adequate. Look for opportunities to raise the issue of adoption:
1. Watch movies/programs with adoption themes with your child and draw parallels and contrasts to your child's story; use as a springboard to further discussion;
2. Use key times of the year (birthday, Mother's Day, gotcha day, adoption day) to let your child know that you are thinking about their birth family;
3. Comment on your child's positive characteristics and wonder aloud whether they got that characteristic from birth family members;
4. Include the birth family when congratulating your child for accomplishments -- "I'm sure they would be as proud as we are."
Video game that makes fun of adopted people: bad
Parent who hasn't talked to his 10-year-old about her adoption: worse