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My family of six is what I describe as multiracial, big, and adoptive. Each of my children was adopted domestically and trans-racially (we’re white; our kids are Black). They each came to us within two weeks of being born, and we have four open adoptions, meaning they have ongoing relationships with their birth families.

But the stranger who meets us — in the grocery store, in the airport, or at the library — doesn’t know much of this. They see a cluster of two white adults and four Black children who fit the bill of being an adoptive family. They, of course, don’t know the whole story.

Ever since we became a family-by-adoption we’ve faced many comments and questions — many of them some may deem curious. While we understand that adoption is still very much a mystery to many, we loathe when an initially-friendly adoption conversation quickly spirals into an interrogation.

We’ve been asked many poorly worded questions, including, “Why didn’t you have your own kids?” “How much did your children cost?” “Why did their real parents give them away?” “Why didn’t you adopt from another country?” Additionally, “Why didn’t you adopt from foster care?” “Are your kids real siblings?”

Some people take a different approach — one that’s meant to be complimentary. However, what they fail to do is consider how their praise impacts my children. The comment can go like this: “Your children have such good and loving parents.” This is almost always followed by them looking directly at our children and addressing them with a “You’re so lucky.”

There are multiple issues with the conclusion that adoption is a pretty, perfect package. First, as adoptive parents, we are not our children’s saints, saviors, or superheroes. The fact is, we chose adoption because we wanted to be parents. Given that I had a chronic, autoimmune disease that automatically equates to high-risk pregnancies, we knew that adoption was the right path for us to build our family. We didn’t go into adoption to “save” a child.

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