Surprise #8: Adoption Classes Are About Dealing With Adults - Not Children

This the third post of the 10-part series: “Top 10 Surprises of the International Adoption Process” As part of the adoption process, we attended two in-person classes with other adoptive parents at our adoption agency and also completed a series of online classes. I am exaggerating slightly with my blog post title, since there was quite a bit of coverage of important issues such as helping adopted children make the transition from institutional life to a world of new sights, sounds, tastes, and smells. We were struck, however, by how much of the subject matter dealt with interacting with other adults. If we end up becoming an interracial family, I am sure we will inevitably face occasional encounters with the less open minded segment of our country's population. However, an aspect we never would have thought to prepare ourselves for was how to manage situations where well-intentioned people ask questions or make comments with unintended consequences. For example, what do you do when you are in the grocery store and a kind, grandmotherly woman tells you how wonderful it is that you adopted but then begins to ask potentially sensitive questions about the cost of adoption, what is known about the birth parents, etc. in front of the child? Part of the responsibility falls with us to have communicated openly enough with our child that this encounter in the frozen foods section isn't the first time these topics are coming up. Nonetheless, the classes provided some good, practical tips on how to deal with a multitude of situations we never would have thought of. I am sure we still have our share of situations where we don't do or say the right thing, but it is a great gift to be able to learn from the experiences of others.