I was asked today by an acquaintance why N ever became available for adoption. The person asked, "So could his parents not take care of him? Is that why they gave him up? Did he have any brothers or sisters? Is he healthy?"
I admit, I was a bit surprised at the personal nature of the questions. Of course, all through the process we were told by other adoptive parents to expect it, and I've had similar questions before---but it still took me by surprise. This person asked and was definitely expecting an answer!
I said basically that there are a lot of reasons children in Ethiopia become available for adoption, etc. and didn't give any personal details beyond what we're telling publicly: he was unable to get the care he needed, and his birth mom placed him in an orphanage.
Is there more to the story? Of course. Was it only a matter of money that made his birth mom relinquish him? No. Are we sharing much more than that? No.
Why not? He's only a baby now and can't understand what I'm telling others or what others are asking about him, but the day will come that he will start asking questions about his birth history. The day will come when he understands what the random stranger is asking, and he feels self-conscious, upset, etc. at listening to that conversation.
Additionally, imagine if everyone around you knew about your birth history before you did? Eventually N will be told everything we know about his history, but there are some details he won't be ready to hear until he's older. Those aren't the sort of details we want to be public information, ya know?
Bottom line: please don't be offended if an adoptive parent chooses not to answer the questions/s you're asking. There's a good reason for keeping some things private, and we could use your understanding in this. :)