August 29th, 2007
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Categories: Family Interviews


Viet Nam Adoptive Family Interviews : An Introduction

Have you encountered any rude/nosy/disrespectful comments or questions about your family? If so, how did you handle them?

The Engelbrecht Family – So many people ask if we can conceive. I just say that she is what we’ve always wanted.

Christina – Nothing overtly rude or disrespectful. We live in an area that is pretty diverse and there are many transracial families so most people don’t give us a second look. I have been asked a few times where my son is from or if my husband is Asian. And often when I say we adopted him from Vietnam they’ll say he’s so lucky or I’m such a wonderful person – comments I know are meant to be nice but kind of rub me the wrong way. I usually reply “No, we are blessed. He is wonderful.” And try to move along.


The Mynes Family – Luckily I have only had a couple of annoying circumstances. One was when we were at a school carnival and a grandmother had annoyed me by saying something about the expense of adoption. Luckily Leland was out of his stroller running around and I had to go chase him, so I just was able to ignore her and walk away. I live in a small town were I grew up and every body here knows everyone. I didn’t feel the need to announce to everyone that we have decided to adopt. So when we are in Wal-Mart and you run into someone that you haven’t seen in a while and they ask “is he yours?” It’s probably not that big of a deal but I don’t feel like explaining the whole thing while standing at the store. I usually just say “yes” and his name and age and say we have to get back to shopping.

The Micheline Family – Only one person said anything that could be interpreted as negative- she told Tom that Gracie would absolutely want an American sister. Tom smiled and moved on. In general I LOVE LOVE LOVE when people ask where Gracie is from and about our adoption story. I think I am this way because I have lived my life with a somewhat obvious disability, and have always hated how people would never ask me about it and just stare instead. Trust me, that’s so much worse than having someone approach and ask polite questions.

I am so proud of our adoption, of Gracie, and of her Vietnamese heritage. To be honest, we have learned more from other people through these discussions than any other. We have met a ton of people who were either Vietnamese, had lived in the country or who had close family who were connected to the country. It’s been amazing to meet so many new people and also to give Gracie a chance to see how incredible her journey has been. We’re not a family who intends to downplay the adoption or Gracie’s heritage. To us, it was a monumental event for all of us, the most important and happiest decision and process we have been through. We want to celebrate that.

Next: “Re-Adoption, Culture and Community”

Related Reading:
How Much Did She Cost?
Saying Too Much
Relationship Assumptions

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