Non-adoptive parents are not the only one who can play fast and loose with the distinction between birthparents and adoptive ones. In fact, there are times in which you, as an adoptive parent, are left with no other choice.

First, let me tell you something you may not know about my wife Laura. She is not the tallest person you are likely to meet in your life, nor the most diplomatic. She is by no mean short, you may say she is “compact”, and if she doesn’t like you, you’ll be the first to know.

Sometimes the most attentive observer notices that there are some minor differences between our little Ben and us. But when said observer only interacts with one of the two parents, he naturally assumes that the other parent must possess the characteristic the first one so clearly lacks. Reasonable? Maybe, but not always appropriate.

A lady, never met before, once stopped Laura in the middle of a supermarket aisle just to comment on Ben with a smiley voice:

“Oh, what a sweet boy, and so tall! Is the father tall?”

Now, I don’t mean to be touchy, but that’s just rude. To that Laura replied, in a similar smiley voice:

“I don’t know. I have never met him”.

No more smiles.

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