I am alarmed at how often people ask us deeply personal questions about our future son. It’s always subtle, too; snuck into the ends of other normal (more appropriate) questions about what the next steps are in bringing him home. They know it’s inappropriate, but their curiosity seemingly outweighs our son’s privacy.
So, what’s wrong him?
Every time someone looks me in the eye and asks me this question, it feels like I’m being stabbed in my stomach. Like a swift punch in the gut that knocks the wind out of me. Every single time, I waver between empathy for their desire to know more and anger at their audacity to ask for what’s not their business.
To make matters worse, when this question’s been asked, it’s never been in a one-on-one conversation. It’s always been out in the open, in the presence of others, allowing everyone else within earshot who might have had the decency not to ask — but certainly, the curiosity to know — to linger and wait for a response.
In feeling backed into a corner, I’ve made the grave mistake of sharing bits of information about him that truly isn’t my story to share. I am guilty of wanting to use those moments for education about how the questioner can be better, but opting for the path of least resistance. I am guilty of not wanting to be the rude one in that situation, and I’ve made the mistake of believing that the fool’s choice is the only option; the choice that says I can choose to be outwardly angry, or I can choose to be complicit.
I will not make this mistake again. It is, above all else, my job to fiercely protect my son.
Instead, I’d like to offer a helpful flowchart to easily refer to if you ever find yourself wanting to ask this question again. The best thing about this chart is that it’s easily applicable to any human being you might be curious about.
There are people in the world you will rely on, and undoubtedly desire to share personal information about your loved ones with. It’s probably because you trust them, their motivations, and their judgment enough to know they have the best interest of your family at heart. For these people, you will come to them, sharing information on your terms.
This chart is not for them. They know better.
Chances are, you know right from wrong. You know what’s appropriate. If you’re looking for questions to ask that show your support, here are three you can use:
How are you and your family?
Are there any positive updates you’d be willing to share about your adoption timeline?
How can I support you and your family through this incredible time in your lives?
I’m writing this because someone out there who is deep into this beautifully tragic journey will experience this, and you will, undoubtedly, be brought to your knees by how unaware others can be. I have to believe and maintain that the majority of people you’ll encounter don’t have malicious intent, but I also firmly believe that you have a duty to take a step back, think through your actions, and assess whether or not those actions are appropriate.