I think that every single transracial adoptee has been asked an uncomfortable adoption question at least once in their life, and more likely than not, it was asked by a peer at school. As a kid, it’s kind of tricky to answer something along the lines of, “Why do you look different than your parents? Are they your ‘real’ parents?”.
I was fortunate to have a family that taught me how to deal with these kinds of questions and situations, so I always replied, “Yes, they are my “real” parents”. I kept in mind that intrusive adoption questions typically stem from curiosity rather than someone intentionally trying to offend you.
My parents frequented Barker workshops and knew how to answer all of the random adoption questions I threw at them. These workshops were an invaluable resource in preparing me to be competent as an informed adoptee. Sometimes unwelcome adoption questions come from relatives and not fellow students; however, the toolbox of language and phrases is transferable to any situation.
It was at that moment when I truly appreciated the access to proper adoption resources I had at a young age.
A few months ago, I found myself volunteering at one of the workshops I attended as a younger child. I had the opportunity to teach kids how to take pride in their adoption story, and how to avoid escalating situations with ill-informed peers. It was at that moment when I truly appreciated the access to proper adoption resources I had at a young age. Barker has so many workshops to help parents and kids be prepared for the expected and unexpected. I think it's something all parents should take advantage of.
-Caleb Brenner, adoptee, rising senior in high school