My sister called tonight. While we were chatting she mentioned she went on a date with a nice guy. "He is a lawyer and 'a little quirky,'" she said. "Oh he is adopted" she mentioned. I told her I thought that it was interesting he shared that on a first date. She said it was because he showed her a picture of his parents and while they were white and he was asian he mentioned that he was adopted. I responded by saying "Doesn't the picture imply that he is adopted then?" She paused "I don't know. It was just something he said. Adoption is normal I think."
I paused again. "Well if adoption is normal why did he need to mention it? Did you share that your niece is adopted?" She went on to say that it was just a fact he shared about himself and that no she didn't share that her niece was adopted.
I tried to challenge her thinking and told her that I once thought "adoption was normal." Until I had a daughter that was adopted. While I personally think adoption is perfectly normal and adoption is the only context my daughter will ever know. Adoption in the world is still not "normal." If adoption was normal people wouldnt ask me "how do you love someone elses child?" She responded "People actually ask you that?!"
My guess is this man showed my sister a picture of his parents and mentioned he was adopted to gauge her reaction. To my sister adoption is a normal way to build a family. My sister though has never experienced adoption on a daily basis. While she may feel adoption is normal she has not lived the adoption experience. No one questions her love of her mom and dad or our parents love for her. No one wonders why her "real mom" didn't want her. No one asks her why she doesn't look like our parents (though this one she might get since she is the blonde in a very brunette family).
I do think she gets adoption more then the average joe between growing up with lots of cousins that were adopted and being an aunt to an exceptional niece who also happens to be adopted. If she goes on to date this guy I think she might go on to learn that adoption is so much more complex than "normal." I just hope he is the one so she can hurry up and get married!