Insensitive Adoption Questions Need Sensitive Response

Ever get inappropriate or insensitive adoption questions? See how one adoptive mom handles some real awkward questions from people unfamiliar with adoption.

Take insensitive adoption questions with grace

When you become an adoptive parent, there seem to be an endless amount of curious people. Most of them are harmless, just nosy and sometimes a little invasive. Some of their adoption questions are annoying and some of them I may be over sensitive too. However, what I have learned is to take each adoption question with grace. I don’t have to answer every question (and don’t if my kids are around). Yet, I do like answering questions because I feel I am educating people on adoption. I’ve decided that most curious people who seem to ask rude questions, really aren’t rude—they just don’t understand adoption. So, I try to give them some information about it, only when they ask though. I don’t go around with my soap box! My point is, if you are an adoptive parent, you will probably get a lot of crazy or invasive questions.

Take for example what just happened to me within a 30 minute period, in the waiting room at my daughter’s gymnastics class.

The parents of the other children all knew my son was adopted (it’s obvious since he’s black and the rest of the family is white). However, they didn’t know my daughter was. So during the normal gymnastic parent “chit-chat,” when one mother asked if my daughter got her height from my husband, I said, “No, she’s adopted.” Then the onslaught of adoption questions started and I tried to answer politely and quickly to each one.

The conversation went like this:

“Oh, I thought she was your real daughter.” My response, “She’s my daughter, but we did adopt her.” Her response, “Uh um, I meant, what’s it called when you give birth…biological?”

“Is adopting fun?” I had to refrain from laughing out loud. I was thinking, Was labor fun? but I answered with, “It’s emotional, but it was our way to start a family.”

“Is there a ‘baseline price’ for a child?” I may have rolled my eyes at this one. It gets to me when people ask me if I bought my child, how much I paid for my child, or calls me a baby buyer and/or stealer. I responded with, “I didn’t buy my children. There were adoption fees, lawyer fees, birth mother expenses, etc., but I didn’t buy my child.”

“You can’t really adopt from Africa can you?” I was a little baffled by this one. I told her you could and she told me she thought you could only send money, unless of course, you were Madonna or Angelina Jolie! Wow…enough said.

“I really want a mixed race baby, they are gorgeous and my husband and I can’t produce one that looks like that.” I didn’t respond. I probably should’ve but another parent stepped in with another question.

“It’s so nice of you to take unwanted kids.” I responded, “My kids were wanted. It just wasn’t the right time in their birth mothers’ lives for another child.”

“Why do birth mothers get the right to take their kids back?” I understand this question, but what they don’t get is that the child is the birth mother’s child, and she has every right to parent. It is hard on adoptive parents, but it’s about what the woman who gave them birth wants for her child.

“Haven’t some people heard of pregnancy prevention?” This question I didn’t have to answer, because the one lone dad in the group said, “We thought we used prevention, but my daughter in there proves protection isn’t always fool proof.”  I loved the looks on the other mothers’ faces. Then class ended and so did the questions.

I don’t normally get bombarded with this many insensitive adoption questions at once, but I get similar questions all the time. I’ve learned that answering nicely is really the best way to go, no matter how annoying the questions can be.

What insensitive adoption questions have you been asked that really get under your skin?

Written by Jason Granillo

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