Real moms

I am thankful that I don't get the 'real mom' question very often. You know, that one that asks a variation of, "So, do you know who his real mom is?" somehow implying that my relationship with my adopted sons is somehow less than with the children I gave birth to. My bloggy friend (and real life friend, too...I can testify to how 'real' she is) has a wonderful post about being her children's real mother. Go check it out.

His Hands His Feet Today


Trisha said…
I got this question from a family member this weekend. It is hard but I just often think they just don't know how to ask certain questions and which language to use. I try not to get offended because it would be so easy to do in many cases, but give them the benefit of the doubt that they're just trying to engage and be involved which is better than not IMO. Of course, it still is very hard to hear.
thecurryseven said…

I completely agree that very often it is more a question of semantics than an intended slight. I'm usually willing to give a pass to those people and to model more appropriate adoption language. I knew I wasn't expressing myself very well, but it's the comments where the intended meaning is that we have a two-tier family...our 'real' kids and our 'do-gooder projects'. Now that I write this out I realize that my objection isn't neccesarily to the 'real mom' comments, but to those that would imply my children aren't really my children because I didn't give birth to them. I am far more likely to take offense for my children's sake than for my own.

Anonymous said…
I agree. Why would someone think "real" kids and "do-gooder projects" - I hope it is truly just not knowing the appropriate language to use. So question:

Would the correct language be:
birth mother?

But that begs the question of why would I ask such a personal question of someone. Why would I start off the conversation with "Do you know who the birth mom is or Do you know any details about the birth mom?"

That would be both your and your child's personal information plus if asking in front of any children - makes them wonder why the question is being asked.

I think people don't realize that we need to protect a child from adult's questions. I am not talking about you - but the person who asks in front of children.

Please educate me on the appropriate terms to use and if using the term appropriatly to ask questions is even good manners.

Thanks EL
thecurryseven said…

You're right...good manners would indicate that asking personal questions isn't good form, especially asking personal questions about a child in front of the child. But that doesn't stop people from doing it, sadly.

To answer your question, yes, birth mother would be an appropriate term. I wish I could tell you when and how discussing families of origin is appropriate. I suppose it depends on the motivation. Idle curiosity is probably never a good reason. (Not that I would ever think that is your motivation, E.) An example of when I would feel comfortable discussing, in general terms, our experiences with our sons' birth families would be if someone were seriously thinking about pursuing adoption and were interested in how someone else was navigating that piece of the adoption puzzle.

I'm not sure that really helps. Maybe others can chime in with their opinions.


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