Ask AF: Invasion of Privacy

How to walk the line of polite and private when answering questions about adoptive families.

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Q: We have emphasized that our kids should choose whether to share (or not) their adoptive status, but some of our friends don’t seem to get it and tell others. I’m disconcerted when complete strangers approach us to say, “Wow, your kids are adopted. Tell us about it.” What can I say to people who tell others about our adoption, and to those who have heard the story and ask us questions?

A: While the information about your children’s personal histories is private, the fact that you are an adoptive family isn’t. People talk, and you can’t stop them. Nor can you control what they say about your family. If the questions people are asking are innocent and well-intentioned, I’d advise you to “let it go” or treat it casually. You can always tell the questioner that adoption is wonderful, then change the subject.

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