You guys came up with some great questions! I really had to think about a lot of these!
Judy asked, “How do you plan on dealing with the family history questions in a medical emergency?”
Thankfully we have an open adoption and have access to half of her birth mother’s medical information so it helps provide some answers as to possible allergies and genetic conditions like asthma. We have some information on the supposed birth father but one never officially came forward so its only a guess. The questionnaire the agency had her fill out was pretty thorough so we are thankful for that. I don’t know how those with closed adoptions or some international adoption do it without any information! I would suppose one would err on the side of caution as far as allergies go.
Suz asked, “Are you planning to adopt again? If yes, when? Through the same place? If no, what are some of the reasons holding you back?”
We would really love to adopt again. We’ve always wanted more than one child. We thought that we would start this year but are going to aim for next year. Two things that are currently holding us back for starting sooner are 1) my health and 2) finances. We are still working on paying off our adoption loans for #1 (which will be done whenever we get our federal tax refund back which is taking forever due to the adoption tax credit). The Adoption Tax Credit is up for renewal this year but it worries me the way they are handling the credit this year means they won’t be renewing. If they tax credit goes away, we won’t be able to adopt again. We would definitely go through the same adoption agency. They were great to work with. We had two failed placements but that can’t be blamed on the agency. Unfortunately that’s the risk you take with adoption.
Ryan asked, “What’s the best/worst question you’ve ever gotten? And what was your response?”
We get a lot of questions about where she is from and most do not believe that she is AA/C. I’m not sure if it is her complexion or her eye shape but we get a lot of questions asking if she is Pacific Islander (especially when she was an infant). We never get tired of hearing that we have a beautiful child. I don’t mind answering that question unless it comes in the form of “where’d ya get ‘er?”
The worse question I’ve ever gotten occurred at a local supermarket. It was just Abby and I (Hubs was out of town). We stopped in on our way home to pick up a couple things. The whole time we were in line cashier (who was an older woman) kept looking back and forth between Abby and myself. When we got up to pay, she leaned over to me and whispered, “This is going to be WIC, right?” I think my jaw hit the floor. Knowing had the child in my cart been white, she would not have asked. Thankfully for her it took several moments for the shock to turn to anger or I might have really let her have it. I just responded, “No, I will be paying.”
Emily asked, “how are you thinking of approaching the “why do i look different” question? or the questions that come from people who don’t understand not having your “own” kids?”
We know it won’t be long before Abby recognizes that she looks different than we do (I would guess within the next year). To prepare ourselves, we have read books (Cross Cultural Adoption is a great resources for both adoptive parents and their families) and taken seminar courses to help us prepare our answers instead of flying off the cuff when we are asked stupid questions (probably saved me from decking the lady mentioned above). We have pictures of her birth family that we can show her (she looks exactly like her older sister) and have already started telling her that while she grew in mommy’s heart, she grew in someone else’s belly. She has two other biracial children in her class at school as well as at church so that helps.
As to the next question, the thing about adoption is that everyone thinks its an open invitation to pry about your fertility. Most assume that adoption = infertility if you have no other children. I think in most cases that is probably true but I do know some couples that went straight for adoption (we would have eventually adopted regardless of biological children). I might have had some questions of why we chose adoption versus IVF but I think we’ve had more questions about why we didn’t want to adopt a child that looked more like us (aka a white child) so it wouldn’t be so noticeable that we adopted.
As far as some of your other questions, I understand your concerns with your health. Sometimes pregnancy can put chronic illness in remission but sometimes its the exact opposite. I would also worry about passing something down. I’ve been diagnosed with 3 other illnesses since we stopped TTC and I think I would live in fear of passing something down had we had biological children (of course since we only have a partial family history anything is possible).
And as for your family, my family had similar concerns. I was especially concerned about my grandparents who were raised in a different era in how they would accept our child but my entire family bonded to Abby quickly. My mom talks about how Abby really changed the way the family looks at family and love and acceptance. She often forgets Abby is adopted and wonders if she will pick up certain traits from me as she grows up (i.e. will she be allergic to the same meds I was or will she do x at the same time I did). The important thing with family during the adoption process is education. Provide them with materials to read or other things to look at. I think we’ve finally got to a place where my family understands that open adoption is a good thing (and not what you see on Lifetime). Hub’s dad was adopted so we didn’t have some of the same issues on his side of the family.
I will keep answering questions if you think of them!