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Old 08-13-2008, 01:55 PM   #1
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DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

I guess I'm just looking for someone to talk about this with. I always thought I was 'prepared' for these conversations - it's never been an issue in our home, dd knows she's adopted, we talk about it openly.

Until now.

Yes, we are in middle school years and honestly, they suck. My dd and her cousin go to the same middle school. DD is 1/2 hispanic and 1/2 caucasian so she's got dark skin and dark hair/eyes. Cousin on the other hand is redheaded, blue eyed, and so fair she's one of those english skin girls. The issue came in when they started to tell everyone that they were cousins and kids (and even a couple of teachers) argued with them that they can't possibly be cousins because they look NOTHING alike. Okay, so beyond the stupidity of that statement, uhh, cousins often look NOTHING alike I think it's just the total opposite thing that floors them plus, they are kids. The teachers, well, I can't think of a good reason why they are stupid.

The other weekend dd came home and announced that she was sick and tired of everyone saying that - she's proud of being adopted so when they say it she, until now, always said, well, I'm adopted, that's why we are so different. She's tired of having people look at her with looks like they are sorry for her and actually SAYING IT to her. She's confused - she doesn't think there is anything to be sorry for and doesn't know how to 'say' that and still feel good about it. She just plain feels different and doesn't like it and is mad that other people are making her feel this way.

Interesting her cousin (who has always known since they've talked about it a bizzillon times) usually is the one that pipes up with something like, wouldn't it be really cool to be wanted? but that doesn't make her feel any better. I mean, she's happy that her cousin will say something but doesn't like that either.

So help me ladies (especially those adopted) what can I advise her to say. I've gently suggested to her that everyone doesn't need to know her story - that she doesn't feel obligated to 'explain' things to them past the well, we are cousins but my issue is this: Her story is obviously one that she does (or did) feel not only comfortable about but also 'normal' about and now that's being taken away from her. How do I give her the strength and knowledge to answer these types of questions and still have that feeling?

I know, no easy answers and honestly, I hate this age! Girls are so snotty.

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Old 08-13-2008, 02:53 PM   #2
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

Oh mama, how horrible! My own sons look nothing alike, why should cousins? I hope you two come up with something, I am not much help. Hugs to you both!
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:30 PM   #3
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

Oh, that is SO hard! I dread those days. To date we've only had one incident. DD is 4 and last year her cousin (also 4 - 3 then) were talking about babies being born from momm'ys tummy's and my niece told Avery she wasn't born from a tummy, that the airplane brought her. YIKES!!! DD was crying and said she was born the same. It took lots of explaining, comforting and talks with both girls.

I would just keep encouraging your DD, reinforce the positive things that she can be proud of herself for and how many similarities she has with her peers. Being adopted doesn't make her core being different. Maybe arm her with some things to say for the "i'm sorry's" - Like "oh, why are you sorry, I have a great family". Point out that lots of kids aren't with both or any of their parents and people don't think anything of it.

And then give her hugs from all of us who just would love to get our hands on those kids and tell them what for.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:05 PM   #4
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

My youngest brother...now 13 was going through the same thing. He is bi-racial...kids are always asking him "Why are you black when your mom and dad are white?" Kids are just rude these days!! He struggled with it for a while because while he knew he was different he never thought twice about being "different".
What has been working for him is short answers and changing the subject.
For instance...

Other kid: You cant be cousins you dont look the same!
Brother: I was adopted, how did you do on the math test?

If they keep pushing it...he explains I was adopted and if you have any questions about it Im glad to talk to you about it.

If they do want to talk about it...

Something like "my mom and dad adopted me because they couldnt have children" is what the counselor reccomended for my brother. This way he doesnt feel like the adoption was because no one wanted him, but because YOUR family DID want him. KWIM?
Sorry so long!!
HTH if you have any questions lmk.
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Old 08-16-2008, 05:16 AM   #5
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

Honestly, I would be at school the next morning to have a talk with the administrators about the teachers comments.

To me that is highly unprofessional and unacceptable on their part.

I would want to have a sit down talk about the effect this is having on your daughter. I would also want them to work with me in developing a plan for if the same situation arises again and how it will be dealt with.
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:18 AM   #6
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

How awful for your DD. Growing up we had many adopted children around us, no one would EVER dare say such rude things even at that age! I wonder what is wrong with people sometimes.

I hope you are able to clear this up and work with your DD to find a solution.
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:46 AM   #7
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

ARGH!!! I'm not looking forward to the middle school years as it is let alone bringing the self-consciousness of adoption into all the emotions! Our first DD is stick straight blonde hair/blue eyes, tall and skinny. DD #2 has dark super curly hair and is going to be...ummmm...built! I'm sure we'll have issues.

Anyway...

While I can't offer any advice on what to say to your DD (we aren't at that stage yet), as a former teacher, I can give some advice on addressing it with them. I personally wouldn't go straight to the administration but would adress the teachers personally. A simple phone call would do and KILL THEM with kindness about it. You don't want them to take out any frustration with you on your dd in any way. Before you do anything, though, you should check with your DD first to see if she wants you too. More than likely, her peer's comments probably affected her more than the teacher's comments.

We have a subscription to Adoptive Families magazine and I know they always have great ideas about dealing with things like this. I bet if you went to their website, you could search for advice. They have a ton of resources on there.

Good luck!
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:20 AM   #8
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

I used to be a middle school teacher, and now I am dreading the middle school years, for all sorts of reasons.

First, I agree with everyone's suggestions about talking directly to the adults involved. Adults should know better and it is a shame they need the reminder, but apparently they do. No middle school kid likes to have it pointed out they are different in any way. Or none that I know!

Your daughter sounds really healthy, proud of her background, connected with her family, and tired of answering the same comment over and over. Maybe you could brainstorm simple replies to help her get through the comments as quickly as possible.

She doesn't owe an explanation to anyone. She's perfectly entitled to let these comments slide without an adoption explanation. 'Yes, my cousin has red hair, and I have brown, but we both love pineapple pizza.' Or if humor seems appropriate, 'If you think we don't look alike, you should see our other cousin- he's green with orange stripes!'

Does she spend time with other kids who are either adopted or part of an interracial family? Peer support for dealing with these kinds of comments is so important; not only can kids share ideas about how to handle situations, they can learn they are not alone. These days many, many kids have extremely different coloring from other members of their family, however their families were built.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:23 AM   #9
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

We've talked about it a few more times since the original posting but she's really hesitant to do it - not because it's about adoption, it's just cause she's 12.

These middle school years are just awful - for all of us. LOL I mean, for us it was this issue, for my ex sister in law it was the fact that her oldest daughter has a horrible case of bulimia so her daughter my dd's age is overexposed to those issues (and her friends all know that this was a problem because of gossipy parents).

Bottom line is...
I guess when you are in middle school it's just one thing or another.

Thanks so much for the help ladies !
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:58 PM   #10
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Re: DD Just Started Voicing Thoughts On Adoption - Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by emmarleigh View Post
Something like "my mom and dad adopted me because they couldnt have children" is what the counselor reccomended for my brother. This way he doesnt feel like the adoption was because no one wanted him, but because YOUR family DID want him. KWIM?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalenandEllasmomma View Post
Honestly, I would be at school the next morning to have a talk with the administrators about the teachers comments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshinek View Post
A simple phone call would do and KILL THEM with kindness about it. You don't want them to take out any frustration with you on your dd in any way. Before you do anything, though, you should check with your DD first to see if she wants you too. More than likely, her peer's comments probably affected her more than the teacher's comments.
I like all the above comments. I would just continue to plant the seeds that not everyone gets "chosen" and how much she is wanted and loved. I think you have done an awesome job mama!
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