Yeah, but is she your REAL sister?
Do you have any REAL brothers or sisters?
Oh, how I detest this question. As an adoptive parent or as an adoptee, the “REAL” question makes me want to scream.
Yes, my boys are real brothers – I left all the imaginary kids at home… They love, fight, play and get into stuff just like every other set of brothers you’ve ever met. Yes, they’re real brothers.
But that doesn’t make their biological siblings any less “real”. You know, the ones that don’t live with us. The ones they’ve never met. The ones they don’t know exist. Those siblings aren’t imaginary either. And those siblings are not less important.
I think this question is pretty universally despised in the adoption community. I’m sure it seems innocent enough to the person asking, but it just lands so squarely on so many insecurities – it’s not a harmless conversation-starter.
Yes, I am their real mother. Yes, the 1st mom is their real mother. Same with siblings. None are imaginary.
I take that back about it being the same with siblings. With siblings it’s even more important. I know this as an adoptive parent, but I live it as an adoptee.
Maybe I should back up. See, apparently a lot of people don’t know that I’m adopted. The technical term, I believe, is step-parent adoption. The short version is that my biological father walked out when I was less than 3 months old. My mom eventually met and married my dad, and he adopted me just before I turned 6. I have a mom, a dad, and a biological father. I also have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I have an older brother from my dad’s 1st marriage, a younger sister from my mom and dad, and a younger sister and brother from my biological father’s subsequent marriage. (more…)