If you’re a mom by adoption, you’ll be ready to fist bump Sandy, too. If you aren’t, you may want to take notes on how to properly address someone who is.
Adoptive moms generally get no respect. People are always asking about our kids’ “real moms,” as if we’re just playing house with our children temporarily until the legit parents take over again. We have to come up with clever responses for when someone comes up and asks how much we paid for our kids or expresses their sorrow that we couldn’t have “one of our own.” And a few years back, one clueless company even ran a Mother’s Day contest that separated adoptive mamas from the from-your-womb mamas, into an “other” category with overinvolved aunts and other not-quite-your-mother figures. Not cool.
That’s why I always appreciate when someone who gets it makes some wise comments that can help educate the masses on what adoptions all about. And this time around, it’s Sandra Bullock who’s schooling people, in an interview with InStyle to promote her all-girl Ocean’s 8. She gushes about her “old soul” Louis and fierce daughter Laila—just like a real mom. (Pssst. It’s because she is a real mom.)
Then she makes it clear she’s getting really tired of every article (including the InStyle one she’s being interviewed for) making it clear that her kids were adopted. “Let’s all just refer to these kids as ‘our kids.’ Don’t say ‘my adopted child.’ No one calls their kid their ‘IVF child’ or their ‘oh, shit, I went to a bar and got knocked-up child.’ Let just say, ‘our children.’”
YES. Because once a child enters a family—whether it’s in a hospital’s birthing rooms or a civil affairs office in the middle of China—they’re just family. And adoption isn’t a constant state of being—it’s a past event. So, maybe we don’t have to single out which celeb’s kids were adopted every time they’re mentioned, for years after they’ve been part of the family.
More than a decade into this grand adoption adventure, I can tell you that while adoption will always be an important part of our lives, it is no longer the main focus of our lives. We are too busy doing the same stuff that your more standard-issue moms and dads do—helping with homework, nagging them to wear a jacket or clear their dirty dishes, worrying over the state of our college savings. And we don’t deserve to feel like we’re something “other,” every time we’re confronted with the story of a fellow adoptive parent in the media.
Because just like Sandra, and just like you, I’m hoping to watch my, “…kids grow up to be hopeful, grateful, healthy, kind, and safe … and in a bubble with a chip in their head. I’ll be right behind them.”