Elizabeth Hunter, a well informed, erudite mother of four internationally adopted children has an interesting, informative, supportive blog. In her latest post she addresses specific ways for strangers to avoid asking insensitive questions of adoptive parents.
I have read several of your posts and find they always are right on the mark. I am a much older exotic adoptee and did not have the luxury of a sensitive community. My parents, as much as they loved me, didn’t see the need to protect me, as it were, from rude questioners. It was protection enough, I suppose, that they were White. I was never able to confront inquisitive people who wanted to know why I ended up with White parents, and always responded honestly, although I invariably felt invaded and violated. Not until I was in my early fifties, and after years of therapy, could I set a little niece in her place by not giving her the answer she wanted. I felt I had crossed a huge milestone; had accomplished a major feat.
Your children are little, but it is never too early to strengthen their backbone with, perhaps at first “canned responses.” I would just let them know that their personal life is no one’s business. People are curious? So what!
As your children start to question a lot of things, they may not share with you their ultimate pain and grief: that their mother, whose body carried them for nine long months, could just have walked away from them. It’s this profound sense of abandonment that is most painful and is never sufficiently, if at all, addressed. This primal would can never be overcome.