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I don't need to join the dots for people - anyone else discovered this and how liberating it is!

(14 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Wed 19-Nov-14 12:50:33

Very few people have commented on the fact my son does not look very much like me. Interestingly some who have are people who are married or in a relationship with someone of a different ethnic group. They have mixed heritage children and in some cases do not look a great deal like their children either.

Interestingly, I have now realised that when anyone does comment on looks, or any other aspect of our family which raises questions, I do not need to join the dots for people (and say he is adopted). So I don't need to tell people why my son doesn't look a lot like me. I can just wait quietly while the person who made the comment allows their brain to whirr and then they might acknowledge that not all kids look like their parents at all.

I've learnt (as a huge extrovert who finds it hard to keep quiet!) that keeping quiet in some situations is the best thing. I can answer a direction or indirect question with a very non-committal sound, like 'mmmmm' or 'uummm', and give a bit of silence. Maybe this implies 'I am not keen to answer/willing to answer/not interested in answering' etc without actually giving a correct answer, and without lying and without saying 'don't be so rude as to ask!'

For me this works best because I don't like to be rude, even if the questioner is being (and actually sometimes people are not necessarily being rude, they are just speaking what is on their mind and actually a bit interested, as I am in other people's lives!).

This approach has evolved over the last few months after our son joined us and I realised that my usual 'tell all/be open' approach would not work since I was no longer just talking about myself.

As my son takes his place in our family as very much a given, and never seems to doubt it (for which I am very grateful) I do not want to bring his adoption into everyday conversations, and I do not want people who do not know - or need to know - to know!)

So just wanted to share and ask if anyone else had discovered this and how liberating it is?

Italiangreyhound Wed 19-Nov-14 12:50:54


trafficjam Wed 19-Nov-14 15:53:19

Italian, I'm not quite there yet but definitely getting better at not over sharing. I find direct questions the hardest e.g. "he doesn't look like you, does he look more like his dad" type of things. But I've been practising trying to just pause and either answer evasively, lie or ignore completely.
I think in the early days, I felt like a total fraud so kept feeling the need to explain my utter clumsiness and behaviour to completely random strangers. Luckily, no one that I now have to face again, but why I felt the need to tell a Saturday girl in mothercare when I had no idea how to wrestle some toys off my LO just bemuses me now.

Barbadosgirl Wed 19-Nov-14 21:05:32

I perfected the blank stare/hollow smile years ago for work purposes. It comes in very useful!

Italiangreyhound Wed 19-Nov-14 21:46:13

trafficjam grin, for "he doesn't look like you, does he look more like his dad"...



Oh don't you think so?

Well whoever he looks like, he is gorgeous

Yeh he doesn't look like me

Oh don't you think so, not even a bit (cheeky smile)

Oh but doesn't he look cute

Rinse and repeat!

Barbadosgirl wink

trafficjam Wed 19-Nov-14 22:12:19

Fab Italian - I will note those. All our much better than my "rabbit in headlights" look!

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 21-Nov-14 07:13:23

DD does look a bit like me, but has exactly the same feet as me and my mum. So if we get into these conversations I say this - which both gives enough detail that people are satisfied but also a bit more than they were expecting and they tend not to ask further smile

KristinaM Fri 21-Nov-14 15:46:28

You don't need to answer most peoples questions directly , especially if they are nosey or rude ones

Eg " what reading book is Emma on this week? Cressida is on then second last book of the ORT red series even though she is only 4 and her teacher says she is a child genius "

" oh that's wonderful you must be so pleased. Emma prefers football /drawing /reading Horrid Henry books at home "

EG " I don't understand why Emma is so musical and you and your DH are tone deaf "

" my cousin /his grandmother was a talented musician "

" it's just her innate genius "

" I know, we just LOVE having a musical child "

" it's the way be brought her up "

" aren't genetics amazing "

There are very few questions that REQUIRE the answer " she's adopted " . And if you raise the subject socially, don't be suprised if people assume you are happy to give further details

There are of course some people you do need to answer -the police ( if advised by your solicitor ) and HMRC. Or Anyone with a gun to your head .

Not Some random person at the mother and toddlers group or your mothers neighbours cousin .

If you want to tell your adoption story ( not your child's ) then that is of course, your prerogative.

woundbobbin Fri 21-Nov-14 16:01:43

I remember once a random in the street coming up to my DM and saying to her how different me & my (adopted) Dsis looked and wasn't it funny how my sister looked so much like DM and I looked nothing like her. My DM gave her a huuuummmm response I was furious and in the car demanded to know why she hadn't corrected the lady (in my defence I was quite young) DM said "it's none of her bloody business" grin

Themoleandcrew Fri 21-Nov-14 17:17:38

I always get loads of looks because dd is really petite and I'm tall and a fatty. I just shrug and say I have no idea where she gets it from. Had a brief panic when someone asked if she was small at birth but luckily we have that information I'd just temporarily forgotten

KristinaM Fri 21-Nov-14 17:43:39

I woudl just say

" gosh you're right, I've never noticed but she is quite small < feigned shock > Maybe we need to feed her more "

And I'd teach my kids to tell these random people that they are starved

But then I am just evil wink

Kewcumber Fri 21-Nov-14 18:17:46

I was once asked how tall DS's father was (I am a single adopter) and replied "I don't know" grin and followed up with "it was dark"

Though in all seriousness I wished I had learned earlier to keep my mouth shut more.

KristinaM Fri 21-Nov-14 18:20:33

LOL at Kew grin

Italiangreyhound Fri 21-Nov-14 19:42:32

Kew you could also have made a quip about everyone being the same height when they are lying down!! wink Which is true and totally irrelevant anyway!

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