I truly believe that most people mean well, I really do. Unfortunately, too many people speak before they think.
Today, a stranger at the grocery store (grocery stores make people BOLD, y’all!) was talking with my sweet baby and telling me how beautiful she is (because she is, of course!). But then as we walked away, she asked, “Where did you get her?”
I’m sorry, did you just ask where I got my CHILD, as if asking about the cute pair of shoes I was wearing? She is not an object to be bought, traded or sold. She is a tiny person with a right to privacy.
While I can understand that you are curious, you have no right to our personal family information. I promise I won’t ask you, Stranger, about intimate, private details of your life, so please respect my right to the same.
Growing up as an adoptee who looked very different from her family, I was constantly asked, “What race are you? What is your background?” or “What do your parents look like?” These questions are okay if you are close friends with a person, and the conversation leads itself that way (naturally, not with your prodding).
But y’all … if you’ve never met the person, it is none of your business. Zero.
Whether you are asking about a woman’s pregnancy, their special needs child, or anything that you see as interesting, I ask you to truly consider your question. Are you asking a stranger to share private information with you to satisfy your curiosity? Please don’t do it. It is like someone asking how many sexual partners you’ve had while standing in the checkout line at Whole Foods. Personal details are just that, and it’s not your place to ask about them.
As a child, I felt the need to uncomfortably share intimate details of my story with complete strangers. I would often go home and cry after what the other person would assume was a friendly conversation. Talking to strangers about hard subjects left me feeling overwhelmed and confused. “They were just being curious,” I would think, but it left my heart hurting as it brought up all kinds of emotions as my inquisitor walked away.
As an adult, I have learned that it is not okay for people to put me in a situation where I feel pressure to expose intimate and emotional details of my life. I do not have to answer the questions just to be polite, and I want my children to learn the same. It is their choice as to when and if they share pieces of their story, and I hope to empower them with the ability to maintain their privacy.
So in order to protect my child’s story, and her right to share it if/when she decides to, strangers who get too bold will hear me say, “We do not share private information with strangers.”