Saturday, November 24, 2012

Responding to Rude Questions, Part 2

If you have not read Responding to Rude Questions, Part 1, you may want to read it first.

Before you read this post, I want you to know, you can feel free to ask me questions about our adoption. I love to talk about our adoption.  I love when people ask questions.  But it is one thing to be asked questions by friends who are excited for us and are asking because they care.  (I also don't mind talking about adoption with strangers, if they have genuine interest in adopting.) But it will be a completely different thing to be asked rude questions in front of our children by complete strangers.

Typical Questions and Examples of How to Answer Them 

The Money Question: 

"I bet they cost a lot. How much did you pay for him?" or "How much did she cost?"

Our planned response:
"Of course, children aren't bought and sold.  That is illegal. But there are expenses in adopting, just as their are expenses in birthing a child. There are document fees and court fees, as well as the cost of travel and airfare. If you are interested in adopting, I know of a great adoption agency."

The "Real" or "Own" Questions 

(What people mean by "real" or "own" is biological.  This is offensive because it insinuates that we aren't a "real" family and adopted children aren't our "own." News flash: DNA doesn't make a family, love does!)

"What is her real father like?" or "Do you know anything about his real mother?"

Our planned response: "My husband Andrew is..." (Then give a description of Andrew. Hee. Hee.) or "I am his real mother."

"Are they real brothers?" or "Are your children real siblings?" or "Are they related?"

Our planned response: "Yes, of course." (Said with a look of confusion.) Next, say something to change the subject.

"Did his real mother give him away?" or "Was his real mother married?"
(Um. Hello? I will be our children's real mother! Of course birth parents are also real.)

Our planned response:
"I am his real mother.  Did you mean his birth mother? That is personal information. But children are adopted for many reasons. Sometimes it is because a birth parent is unable to parent a child, other times it is because of the death of parents or because parents' rights are terminated." Time to change the subject!

"Are you ever going to have real children?"

If we ever get this I will be so tempted to say "No, we are perfectly happy with our plastic ones." But I know I shouldn't be rude just because someone else is rude.

What I will probably say is: "Our children are real." (Said with look of confusion.) I might also add. "Did you mean to ask if we are going to have biological children? We have talked about it. We have also talked about adoption again. Why do you ask?"

"Did you adopt because you can't have your own children?" or "Can't you have your own children?"

 Our planned response:
"All our children are our own no matter if they come into our family by adoption or by birth. We have talked about having biological children. We have also talked about adopting again."

"What if she wants to search for her real parents?"

Our planned response:
"We are her real parents. If and when she wants to search for her birth family, we plan to support her." Time for a subject change, again.

The So Lucky Comments

"He is so lucky!" "She is so blessed to be adopted"

I understand that people think our children will be blessed or lucky to be adopted into our family. But I don't consider children whose parents died or abandoned them or who had their parent's rights terminated due to neglect or abuse to be lucky children. I also don't consider it lucky to be a part of a family. I consider it normal. Having family is a basic need, not a prize like winning the lottery.

Planned response: "Actually, we are the blessed ones to be privileged to parent these children."

The Pregnancy Comment
"You'll probably get pregnant now that have adopted."

I have a problem with this comment for four reasons. First, this comment assumes that the only reason people adopt is because of infertility. (People adopt for many reasons.) Second, it also insinuates that children by birth are superior than children who join a family through adoption.  Third, this comment is insensitive to couples struggling with infertility. And last, adoption is never a hoop to be jumped through in order to become pregnant.

Planned response: "Actually, my husband and I did not adopt because of infertility. We chose to adopt because we wanted to. We are considering having biological children someday. We also may adopt again." Change the subject.


  1. These are great posts! I have already been asked the majority of the questions you have highlighted. Your responses are honest and effective in getting the point across. Thanks for posting!

  2. Awesome posts!! Yes, we get those questions... the last one has really started to bother me. I think people feel like they should say this to make us "feel better" because they know we have been struggling with infertility. BUT we are adopting because we feel this is God's way of building OUR family. It may not be the way we thought it would be initially, but it is still a "real" family.

    I also love your "Why do you ask?" response! I am going to keep this one on hand... good way to put the ball of discomfort back in their park! (Especially if they are a stranger and it isn't really their business to know certain things...) :)