Open Adoption Roundtable #34 - Those Questions

Heather at Production Not Reproduction has another roundtable up.  The prompt this time:

It is likely that we've all had that experience at some time: someone asking us to speak to the choices or feelings of others in our adoption constellation. Perhaps it is someone asking a first parent how their child feels about being in an open adoption. Or someone asking an adoptee why their adoptive parents chose to adopt. You get the idea.

How do you handle such questions when they are asked of you? How would you want the other parties in your open adoption to handle those questions when they are about you?

So far, most questions about our adoption are either “How old is she (Baby X's first-mom)?”, or “Is she young?”  To which, I either ignore and don’t answer, or I state “younger ”.  S is 40 and I’m 37, it’s pretty damn easy to be younger than us and have given birth.

A few times I've been asked by co-workers and friends why she “gave up” Baby X.  I have a hard time answering the question, and the response is a work in progress.  My problem, is that I feel like I have to defend C’s decision to place Baby X with us.  So, a couple of times I said something vague about support systems or lack thereof, which may be too much information.  Once I said something else that I immediately thought was way too much information and mentally kicked myself for the answer.  In reality, it wasn’t too much information, but I realized later that my statement, while vague, had a quality that invites further questions, at which point I was standing at the edge of the precipice.  There were no follow-up questions to what I said so I got lucky and didn’t have to figure out a way to get out of the conversation.

I hate that people are judging her based on the placement of Baby X.  I hate that they are forming these opinions with absolutely no facts, based on stereotypes of first-parents and adoption in general.  But, if I continue down the path of trying to defend her, facts will slip, I know they will.  Unfortunately, it’s too often that I end up tongue-tied and stammering instead of having a clear, concise answer that hints it's none of your business.

S has the best answer to the probing question at this point.  “That’s something we will share with Baby X and he’ll decide who should know.”  Just repeat it over and over like a mantra and eventually, it’ll become rote, right?

When it comes to our families, we told them multiple times before our placement and right after placement that we weren't going to share any information about C with them.  S's dad asked why we were being so secretive.  S told him we weren't keeping secrets, we were choosing to tell Baby X his store first, and he can decide in the future who he wants to tell.

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points--please feel free to adapt or expand on them. 

Write a response at your blog--linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I'd appreciate it if you'd add a link back to the roundtable. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.