Positive Language in Adoption (10 Things NOT to Say)

Adoption is a sensitive issue, and people who have not experienced it, cannot begin to imagine what it’s really like. I want to emphasize that this post is not to make me appear defensive, and I do not intend to offend anyone, but rather to keep it a somewhat light-hearted, comic style satire. As an adoptive parent, I feel that it’s my responsibility to my children to educate others on positive and negative language surrounding adoption. While I believe that people generally are not trying to be insensitive, the words that come out of their mouths sometimes just make me want to smack them.

*Editor’s note: I am not shaming anyone with this post. I do realize that sometimes people really truly are being kind and honestly are curious and have no ill intention. However, some really need to think before they speak. In the same respect, please think before sending me a nasty email or leaving an ugly comment. This post is meant to encourage healthy discussion, not to shame anyone for their thoughts and opinions. Also, I want to make it clear that I actually have heard each of these questions, often by people who barely know me. Thank you!

Ten Things NOT to Say to an Adoptive Parent - A satirical look at the things people say when they don't know any better

I have had strangers, and even friends, ask the following questions or make the following comments:

He Looks Just Like You! Using Positive Language in Adoption

1. He looks just like you, it was meant to be! or even better She looks just like he could be yours!

Actually, he is mine, and so is she. We may have fair skin, or similar noses, but I am completely aware of the fact that they do not share my DNA, and really don’t need to be reminded of it. Just tell me they’re beautiful – I will happily agree even if I can’t take credit for that.

how much did he cost. Using Positive Adoption Language.

2. How much did he/she cost?

Got him on sale, and I had a coupon!!

Babies do not cost money. Adoptions cost money. And it is rude to ask what an adoption costs even if you phrase it correctly. If you are truly interested, ask for some websites to do some research on your own.

do you know her real mother. Using Positive Language in Adoption

3. Do you know anything about their real mother?

I am their real mother. I am going to raise them, sit with them when they are sick, bandage their owies, and pay for college. Their birth mother gave birth to them, and for that I will always be grateful, but they are mine and I am their real mother.

Are you going to have children of your own. Using Positive Adoption Language

4. Are you going to have any children of your own?

See above. They are my own children and I will love them more than you can know.

You'll get pregnant now. Using Positive Language in Adoption

5. You know you’ll get pregnant within a year now.

Sorry, it’s physically impossible, and unless God decides Jesus needs a sister, I will not become pregnant now that I have adopted. Yes, we all know our cousin’s secretary’s sister who got pregnant three months after adopting. But this doesn’t happen in a statistically significant manner. And you have no idea what kind of fertility struggles someone may have gone through before adopting, so it’s better not to mention this to families adopting their first child.

was mom on drugs. Using Positive Adoption Language

6. Was her mom on drugs? Are you worried she might have problems later on?

Darn! I forgot to send in the warranty papers for the money back guarantee! First of all, the circumstances regarding my children’s births are none of your business, thankyouverymuch. He is my son, she is my daughter, and if any medical issues arise, I will deal with them the same as you would your children.

why did they give him up. Using Positive Adoption Language.

7. Why did they take him away? or Why did she give him away/give him up?

Again, none of your beeswax! “They” did not “take him away,” and she did not “give him away” or “give him up.” Parental rights of the birthparents are terminated for specific reasons, because it is in the best interest of the child for their safety and well being. (In the case of open adoptions, the positive language would be to say that the birthmother “chose adoption.”)

are you going to tell him. Using Positive Language in Adoption

8. Are you going to tell him he’s adopted?

The noneofyourbusinessgetoutofmyface response is becoming wildly popular. Adoption is rarely a secret in families in this day and age. It is part of their life story and it’s something we are open about. As is developmentally appropriate, my children will always know that they are incredibly loved and came to our family in a special way.

is she yours. Using Positive Language in Adoption

9. Is she yours? (I haven’t personally heard this one, but other’s have, so it’s worth sharing, and it’s the one I have the best answer to)

Nope, she’s on loan from the daycare down the street. Just taking her for a test drive to see if I want to keep her. (Here’s your sign…)

And my personal favorite…

he's so lucky. Using Positive Adoption Language.

10. He’s so lucky.

Correction, I am the lucky one. They have changed my life in ways you can only imagine.

You want to see how lucky I am?

A little girl and boy is sitting in the grass
If you haven’t already clicked the “unfollow” button, thank you for reading all the way through! Like I said earlier, this was meant to be a light-hearted, satirical post and I hope that it was received as such! I am not attempting to condemn anyone, but to merely shed some light on the feelings of the adoptive parents and children and the issues they deal with.
I welcome your feedback and questions!!

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. We have 4 biological children and are in the process of being licensed for foster-to adopt and in the future would love to adopt internationally. We learned very quickly to be private about our process, because not everyone can tactfully handle the idea of our family doing this. Some of the questions in this reading we’ve already heard and our child hasn’t even come home yet! He is already loved so much, we can’t wait to meet him. Blessings to you and your beautiful kiddos.

  2. I have had quite a few of these comments said some were meant kindly and a few didn’t know my girls were adopted but I had a photo of them on my desk. So many used to say Don’t they look like you . I always replied your not the first to say that and thank you . Some of the other comments were just acknowledged .

  3. Wow, I must be a super chill adoptive parent because 90% of these comments/questions don’t bother me at all! I know people are curious and I’m more than happy to give them information if they’re coming from a place of love. Good to see other perspectives though!

  4. I am truly sorry that we are so inconsiderate. I think its from being uneducated. We on the outside lookjng in. We are so curious about you and why you have made those decisions.
    I truly admire you. I’m just here because you are an amazing cook and I’m all out of ideas.
    Love to you. Yes! Tell us off when we need it! I am impressed with you! And your pretty too!
    I look forward to you helping me feed my family. Take care. Laurel

    1. Hi Laurel, Thank you so much for such a sweet comment. I appreciate your willingness to read this article and share your feedback. Have a great day!

  5. KRISTIN MAXWELL, I have been heard all these comments and didn’t realize why I was feeling upset when it was said. It’s not nice to say these things, but people don’t know it. I’m learning to respond the right way. Thank you for sharing. I’ve enjoyed reading what is inappropriate.

  6. Wow this is exact I’m fostering to adopt now the adoption is in a couple days and I’ve heard every single one of these at least 10 times each it’s so crazy to me and i feel exactly the same way i felt like you were answering for me great article !

  7. I am a birth mother, and there are a few things an adoptive mother should never say to the birth mother of their child. “You already have 5 children, you can’t have her” I wasn’t planning on taking her away, just adding more people to love in my life. “Did you love her?” No, I placed for adoption because I didn’t love her…..
    “Did meeting her bring closure?” No, it just brought the hurt closer to the top, and now I have to figure out how to help her mend as well as me.
    Adoption is a wonderful thing, and I appreciate my daughters adoptive mom for her kindness and love. But just because the birth mom didn’t raise the child, it still is her child as well as yours. It is called a triad, and all three should love and appreciate what the other has done for each. We all have a lot of hurt, but love, genuine love will help each mend. This is a good article and I read it hoping I have never said these things, because I know how hard it hurts when people say things to me.

    1. Hi Danette, I am so grateful for your point of view. It’s so important to see things from all sides, and I’m sorry for the hurt you experienced. Every adoption is different, and unfortunately my children were not placed for adoption out of love but they were removed from their birth parents care out of necessity for their safety. There are so many layers and emotions around my and my children’s stories and obviously with yours as well. Truly, I am grateful you felt comfortable to share your story here.

  8. I am a mother who chose to give my son a better life through adoption. His mother is amazing and we have a great relationship! I’m truly blessed. Even though I’m not the parent of an adopted child I do know what a miracle adoption can be. I love your article! And you are right about most women don’t just give up their children because they don’t want them. They choose adoption because it’s in the best interest of the child. It takes strong women to put the child first and even stronger women (and men) to raise these children. I admire you for your strength!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Samantha! It’s so important to know your side of it as well. I appreciate you, and I appreciate your loving decision.

  9. Your post is perfect! I’m not an adoptive mom so I can’t possibly understand all of the emotions surrounding that, but obviously I know plenty of people who have chosen adoption and this wasn’t the least bit offensive or shameful to me. When you know better, you do better. I appreciate your honesty! I will always try to keep these things in mind and do my best to never hurt a fellow parent, regardless of how they got that title!

  10. I have adopted 3 boys via International Adoption and I’ve heard most of these comments. One doesn’t offend me, “he looks just like you” but that’s just me, for me it brought us closer. Most of the comments I’m just floored, people just don’t have manners I guess. Number 10 is most common and I always say these boys have truly saved my life … and I mean it. Great article, thank you for writing it!

    Huck

  11. Just found this post – You are so truthful! Can I contradict you? here goes: your kids are so lucky to have such an honest mommy 🙂
    Love your website and all your recipies.

  12. I loved this post! We are adopting our 5th and 6th child officially next week. We have 6 total: 4 came to us through adoption. We are not all the same race, so we get a lot of stares and confused looks because it’s our middle 2 that different skin color. I have 2 kids – eight days apart; both adopted separately and you can tell when people are trying to figure it out. I was in the grocery store and the cashier said, “I’ve heard that if the parents are different races, twins can be born where one is black and one is white.” I’ve just learned to smile. But yes, I get these question, a lot!

    I also saw the comment about the name change below. Our youngest adopted daughter was 2. We kept all the first names the same. We’ve changed weird spellings, but we also gave them new middle names sine most of them didn’t know their middle name anyway. The exception was our oldest adopted son who was 6adopted at the time.

    But thank you for bringing awareness to this topic. It’s so important!

    1. I love your beautiful story Kayla, and how each adopted family is so unique. Thank you for sharing!

      Oh, and yes I did change her middle name. I had completely forgotten about that!

  13. Thank you, Kristin. You have summed it up very well and your responses are so good that I have written them down and I’ll practice them. Especially the NOYB, TYVM.

    I wanted to ask you about name change. Did you change the names of your little ones? How did you tell them to justify the change. I am at that stage and in little over a month I’ll be home with my toddler and I am struggling to find words for it, apart from my truth which is: I am the mother and I really wanted to give you your name.

    1. I did change my son’s name because he was only a few weeks old. My daughter was 2 though, and I didn’t want to make it confusing for her. I did change the spelling because it was unusual and I wanted her to have a more common spelling.

      I would encourage you to think about it this way. Kids in adoption suffer great loss. They come to you with only one thing that is their own – their name. If they are old enough to know their name, I would have reservations about changing it. Could you maybe make it their middle name?

  14. My adoption for my little 2 year old boy is going to be July 29! I am beyond excited. He came into my life last January, and I was in no way thinking I would have him forever, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. My daughter is 18 and my other son is 13. I have been asked so many of those questions and more!!! People in general just don’t get it. Did I mention he is mixed? So that in itself raises more questions to the wondering eye. He is perfect, and he is mine!

  15. Love this we recently adopted April 23 2019 to be exact
    We have had her since she was 4 months old
    God choose us to be her momma and daddy she blessed us so much we are the lucky ones
    Thank you God for your amazing gift

  16. Thank you for sharing. We are foster parents and get some of the same questions. The one question I hate the most is, “They are so cute, are you going to keep them?” Right in front of the kids! We started fostering before we had our bio kids. One month after we had our first placement my wife got pregnant, go figure.

    1. Oh that’s an awful thing to say! People need to learn to filter. I’m sorry you had to hear that!

  17. I love this post, it would be so nice if people were more sensitive to adoption. I adopted my nephew by birth and sometimes at family gathering I will get asked “is that Michael’s (my brother) son? “No, he’s my son, I adopted him”.
    I also have family that doesn’t consider me his mother and refers to me as his aunt even though they hear my son call me mom. I don’t appreciate the position this puts him in and felt I had no other option but to cut them out of our lives. Which is also horrible because my son is close to them.
    It would be so nice if their was more awareness of the sensitivity of adoption.

    1. I completely agree, and I’m so sorry for your situation with your extended family. What a lovely thing you did and I’m sure you feel like the lucky one. Have a great day!

  18. So glad to see some honesty! I agree most people don’t realize how “innocent “ or “well meaning” comments can hurt—or irritate lol. I am a soon to be adoptive mom. I am also a grandmother of 6 and one still in the oven. My oldest daughter is 30 and my youngest will be seven in August. I get secret (not too secret—it’s fun) pleasure from people’s faces when I have my B and my oldest daughter’s B and am asked if they are fraternal twins. Yes they are the same age, look similar and act almost identical. I of course tell them the truth—that’s my 3rd granddaughter and the other is my daughter. I have fielded most of the other questions and have my favorite to add: “Aren’t you too old?” ? I enjoyed your article, all we can do is educate and illuminate.

  19. Thanks so much for saying exactly what I thought when hearing these questions! I am a mom, he is my son…can we just leave it as such?!?!

  20. Dear Kristin. Thank you so SO much for posting this AND I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve said. My husband and I have recently been approved as adopters here in England and it’s been a whirlwind of a child placement time when our little girl found us within the first 11 days of our approval panel. It’s been two and a half months of meetings with her medical adviser and foster carer and we go to matching panel in less than 2 weeks. Like you, I’ve been perplexed by what others have said — from the uneducated words to down right rude. Mine that’s not on your list are if my husband knows how to change nappies and this one well wisher hoping my daughter would like her name. The former, well…d’uh obviously we’ll both be getting hands on experience at the FC’s over the 8 days introductions and the latter, we have elected to keep our girl’s first name as it is part of her identity plus who’s child (birth or adopted) has an awareness early enough to be able to say that they rather have another name unless you’re Zowie Bowie that is. I have to add that said friend just assumed we had given our girl this name but still its bloomin rude to judge our tastes (regardless) to say she hope our girl will like her name. Just do NOT go there. So thank you for your eye opener, mini education and echoing what all adopters face. Wishing you much love from across the pond. Happy Easter.

    1. Congratulations on your adoption, Geraldine! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I do get asked from time to time if I named my kids. My son was 9 weeks old so I gave him a different name than the one he was given at birth. But my daughter was 2 so I elected to keep her name, although I did change the spelling to something less complicated. I have cousins on each side who have Rileys and they both commented that I stole their child’s name. Good grief, right?! Anyway, I wish you the best with your new family!

  21. I just have a question. I haven’t ever adopted a kid but my bf has adopted three. Why is saying she looks like she could yours offensive? My friends daughter really looks like her. We tell her that all the time and she seems to love the fact God gave her a mini me. Anyhow I just want to understand so I can be more sensitive if need be. Lastly I’m sorry that people say things like how much did she cost?. People are idiots!

    1. Hi Carrie, I appreciate your question and that you want to be more sensitive. I’m not sure how old the child is, but as she gets older, biology may become more and more of an issue to her. My kids get a little uncomfortable when someone says they look me because they know it’s impossible. I think it also makes them wonder if there is someone out there who they are biologically connected to who DOES look like them. I think that particular statement can be a gray area because even best friends may hear that kind of thing. But if there is already a sensitivity to biology it can cause uneasy feelings. I hope that makes sense. I think in your case if the child had been adopted and raised by you, she might feel different.

  22. I just have a question so I can better understand parents that adopt. Why is saying they look like you offensive? My bf adopted three kiddos and her daughter really looks like her. We say it to her all the time and she always seems grateful to God that she has a mini me. Anyhow I wouldn’t want to offend anyone esp my bf. I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was at some of the things people have said to you!! I’m sorry people are idiots.

  23. I am an adoptive mom also. Thank you so much for this post. I can’t tell you how many times that “real mother” line has been spoken and I bristle every time. Since no parent is imaginary, the parent who is there to raise, guide, nurture, and love is most definitely the child’s REAL mother/parent. Thanks again for this post.

    1. It’s definitely a tough one – my daughter used the term the other day in fact, talking about the woman who gave birth to her, and that was hard to swallow. We talked about how we are both “real” mothers, and that seemed to help.

      1. My husband and I have adopted 6 children. 3 boys – brothers, and 3 girls – sisters. The way we explain it in our home is similar to what Wendy says above with the addition that all moms are “real”. In our case, you have a birth mom, a foster mom/family, and a forever mom. We believe that God intended the children we have now to be with us from the beginning, however had to find a different way for them to get to us since I wasn’t able to have them. Our children have all embraced/understood this really well.
        Enjoyed your article Kristin. SO true! I’ve heard all 10 at one point or another. If you can’t laugh at it, and roll with the punches then you probably shouldn’t do it.

        1. Congratulations on your forever family! I love your sentiment about taking time to get to you.

  24. I love this post and I can completely relate as an adoptive mom. I get these types of comments a lot! It’s so annoying, but I try to remind myself that they just simply don’t know any better. Thank you for educating.

    I would also add “bad-mouthing” the birth parents like “Wow! That’s nice of you to adopt, but I just can’t imagine ever giving my kid away.” Or “was she young and troubled?” Actually, “she” is an amazing woman and it was a very difficult decision for her to make. She was a good person just in a bad season of her life. Life is complicated, but this momma is eternally grateful.

  25. Loved your message. Our oldest daughter came to us through adoption.
    When she was 5 months old we found we were expecting,
    We have been blessed by Stephanie in more ways than I can remember.
    and now our youngest daughter is blessing us with grandchildren in much the same manner.
    Here’s to building loving families, with all love we can muster.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. Yes, families are built in all kinds of ways, each story unique and beautiful!

  26. These are some hilarious responses, thanks! Personally, I’ve heard most of these questions in 29 years of parenting, ppl are nosy by nature, I think, but you would think common sense would kick in & at the very least, ppl wouldn’t ask such things in front of your kids. I get still get seriously annoyed when perfect strangers, in line at the store, for instance, decide I MUST need their expert, condescending, long winded hair care lessons because I couldn’t possibly care for hair unlike my own. I can’t get used to that one. Lol

  27. I just ran across your site while searching recipes on Pinterest. I am an adoptive mom of a beautiful girl from China. I too have heard a lot of these comments. The one that left me speechless was “It is easier to leave your child at daycare if you didn’t birth her yourself”. WHAT?? By the way, the answer to “How much did she cost?” is PRICELESS! God bless!

  28. You are absolutely correct in everything you have shared. Here is another one for down the road when they are older:

    Sometimes people like to interfere by saying things like, “You don’t have to do what they say. They aren’t your real parents.” If your child is at a vulnerable age, this can be hurtful to them and everyone in the family. This undermines your authority as that child’s parent. Nip it in immediately.

    Or the other one, a variation of one of the points posted. When someone feels the need to say something to y our child like, “Where are *your real parents*.”

    Maintain open lines of communication with your child at every step.

    I know that this may sound negative, but it isn’t really. It is just something to be aware of.

    1. It’s totally NOT negative!! It’s what we have to be prepared for as adoptive parents who want to protect our children. Thank you for your insights.

  29. As we struggled with infertility, the one that bugged me the most was meeting the friend from high school who now had four lovely children. Unfortunately, my mother had blabbed about our difficulties in getting and staying pregnant, and the first thing this friend said was, “Well, you could always have one or two of mine!” You are right. People need to pass thoughts through their mental filter before those thoughts get spoken by their lips. Your story is wonderful, and I found it very uplifting.

  30. Your post is so close to my heart! Our son came into our lives 26 yrs ago. I think I have herd every single one of those comments but the very worst one was “let me see that rented baby”. I couldn’t even think I was so taken back by what the man said, But a man stepped in and reached and took him and “let me see this beautiful little boy” and got me by the arm and walked off with us. I have had the dumbest things said to me. I’m very proud of our adoption, we would not be a family without it. I really am his mom because I really cleaned his poopy butt, woke up all hours of the night, I hurt when he hurt, I really did just as much as “birth” parents but the fear that lives in the back of your mind “what if they want him back” is always there. I now have a mini-me that is 6’7″ and I’m 5’2″ and we couldn’t be more alike, its like we were cut from the same cloth. thanks for letting me vent. MANY BLESSINGS ON YOUR FAMILY.

  31. I am glad you posted this. My husband and I are trying to adopt and are still waiting for a connection. While that is painful enough the questions and comments only make it worse. Thanks for the humorous break.

    1. We adooted through foster care. Im not trying to get in anyones personal business and you may have already considered that option but i am a real advcate for it so I thought I woukd mention jt. Best wishes to you and your family. Meeting your chimd for the first time is breath taking.

  32. I stumbled across your thoughtful and very relatable notes when I clicked on your site for thanksgiving recipes on Pinterest. I related because 26 years ago a friend and I tried to address the same questions/ responses/ and rude assumptions imposed upon us by strangers and friends. We didn’t have the internet then and we couldn’t figure out a way to broadcast our feelings. Life went on!! Happily! The language and questions never abated though. Just last night an old friend who I’d not seen in years asked me ” So how’s Jessica?” I told her all about how and what Jessica is doing lately and then she asked “does she ever see her mother or siblings”. The answer is yes, but it still stings to hear the question. My daughter on the other hand thinks of that DNA side of her life as relatives but We are Mom and Dad
    There is a long, long story here but I think I can say that it would take a national awareness and promotion of adoption campaign to change people’s ( especially women) visceral and emotional feelings about adoption. How could one woman hand over her baby and how could another view that baby as her own? You and I know, it’s all about the love all the way around. And yes, it’s very complicated!

  33. We adopted two Hispanic girls and my husband and I are African-American. How do I respond to the question, did you do foster care? Or are they adopted?

    1. What a question, right? I guess it depends on how much information you are willing to share. But I’d maybe say, “Actually we picked them up at the farmer’s market last week – 2 for the price of 1!”

  34. It was good talking to you for a short time at your mom’s table Friday night. Loving the things you put on Facebook and looking forward to seeing more.

  35. “Definition of SATIRE: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” That’s what I did, no?

    Also, I do defend adoption. All the time. I think it’s sad that you aren’t able to see the humor that obviously the other thousands of people who have read this article have, including many, many adoptive parents. Everyone handles their life situations differently and kudos to you for being perfect.

    1. We sound like we could be sisters!! Lol!! Agree 100%!! My son is adopted and I have heard almost all of these. I am getting better with my answers, at first I wanted to rip some heads off for their ignorance! But people are curious and I find that most of them that ask stupid questions just have no clue on adoption and how it all works. So I’m trying to be a better advocate and less of a B*{<#!!! The more ya know the better you will understand. Thanks for sharing!!

  36. Thank you for this wonderful and well written article. I loved the comedy too! I’ve experienced every one of those.

  37. As the mother of 4 foster-adopted children, I think I’ve heard all of these questions multiple times. You hit the nail on the head with this. It doesn’t matter where they came from, they are my kids. Thanks for sharing.

  38. i can see how all of these can be offensive except the one you havnt experienced. i get it can be hard to hear that question but its not something people purposfully direct at adoptive families. ive heard that question from many people to a lot of different families. its like saying is that your child. its directed by anyone with a child around them. like for example they can say is she yours, and if the childs your neice you reply no shes my sisters. if your baby sitting you say that. if the child is your child you say yes. Theyre curious if thats your child or if your babysitting ect.

    1. I think in that case, perhaps it’s innocent. But a lot of times these questions are from complete strangers who really have no business asking the question in the first place, so they wouldn’t be curious if you’re babysitting. It may not be intentionally offensive, in fact I hardly think that at all. But people do ask questions quite often that are inappropriate. The point of the post is to make people aware that sometimes their seemingly innocent questions, can in fact be offensive, regardless of their intent. And even the best of intentions can be hurtful.

  39. We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, and have had infertility struggles (not why we chose to adopt, we always wanted to adopt) and yes SOOO many people keep saying “oh be careful cuz I know someone who adopted then got pregnant” and other related stories. I am sick of people telling me like they know more about my body’s failure to produce eggs than they do, or that adoption somehow causes pregnancy.

  40. omg…..thank you for adding humor to this because when it happens you sometimes wN to cringe or like you said, smack them. Even though adults understand and can read between the lines, what children hear is quite different.

    I have corrected many people when they say are they yours? I actually had someone tell my son, (who told someone that he was adopted), “well that’s wonderful sweetie …. You got two families, the “home grown kind” and the “store bought kind”.
    I told my husband I guess we’re the store bought ones!

  41. Thank you very much for this article!! I will be an adoptive mum in a while and i have already heard some of this comments. I really love your answers. I would love to translate your post into Spanish and publish it in my blog http://1diamases1diamenos.wordpress.com/ (of course i would add your link as well). Is this posible?
    Thank you very much!

  42. Haha! I love this and yes, as an adoptive mom, I’ve heard all of these. I too don’t take a lot of offense to the curiosity, but think it’s important to educate people.
    After battling infertility for 8 years, we actually did end up with a miraculous pregnancy when my son was 8 months and my biggest pet-peeve was hearing, “this always happens.” I am thrilled for my miracle, but I’m not crazy about being one of those pregnancy after adoption stories that validate people’s belief that adoption cures infertility, as I also know first hand how insensitive those comments are.

  43. LEGACY OF AN ADOPTED CHILD

    (Author Unknown)

    Once there were two women
    Who never knew each other.
    One you do not remember,
    The other you call mother.
    Two different lives
    Shaped to make yours one.
    One became your guiding star,
    The other became your sun.
    The first gave you life
    And the second taught you to live it.
    The first gave you a need for love
    And the second was there to give it.
    One gave you a nationality,
    The other gave you a name.
    One gave you a seed of talent,
    The other gave you an aim.
    One gave you emotions,
    The other calmed your fears.
    One saw your first sweet smile,
    The other dried your tears.
    One gave you up –
    It was all that she could do.
    The other prayed for a child
    And God led her straight to you.
    And now you ask me
    Through your tears,
    The age-old question
    Through the years:
    Heredity or environment
    Which are you the product of?
    Neither, my darling — neither,
    Just two different kinds of love.

    – See more at: http://www.friendsinadoption.org/adoption-in-the-media/adoption-quotes-poems/poem-legacy-of-an-adopted-child/#sthash.L5MsF4Do.dpuf

  44. Neither of my children is adopted, but my youngest son looks NOTHING like me. I have black hair, black, almond-shaped eyes, and fair skin with olive undertones. He has white-blond hair, big, round blue eyes and a pink, freckle-y complexion — but he was born with bright red hair. Everyone just assumes he’s adopted or that I’m his nanny/babysitter/aunt by marriage. He was screaming at me at the city pool one day last summer and some crazy b*tch tried to tell the lifeguard I was trying to abduct a child.

    So though I am not an adoptive mother, I get these crazy comments and I just cannot believe the stupidity and tactlessness of people.

    Your kids are gorgeous!

  45. Very interesting perspective. My family loves it when we are told my sister looks just like us she fits right in! I feel that it’s all what people decide to take an offence to. Yes, some of these questions are nasty, but, personally I don’t see why everything has to be a big secret. We also have an open adoption. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and everyone views thing differently. The way I handle questions I feel uncomfortable with is, people don’t know what they don’t know. My sister is the biggest blessing in my life and people most of the time don’t understand the situation. I’ve always been very open about things. I will be more cautious when asking questions about others adoptive experience. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi Brooke! Thanks for your comment. I definitely don’t feel like everything needs to be a big secret, and I’m personally an open book when people have questions, but I also feel like there’s a fine line between secrecy and privacy. This post was written from my own personal prospective as an adoptive parent, after talking to numerous others who have been hurt by the questions from people ask. It’s my hope that my post will just help people to think twice before asking very personal questions. 🙂

  46. I’m so happy that you wrote this post. I am adopted, as is my husband. My niece, my husband’s cousins…. I think we have heard them all. My favorite is “do you know your ‘real’ parents?” Why yes!! My real parents… Bandaged my scraped knees, took me to work with them, put me through school, endured my teenage years, watched me become my own person and supported me through all of it good, bad and sometimes ugly.
    A second favorite is when or how did you find out… To me this is not a big deal. I have known since before I even knew what the word meant. It was part of my birthday, every year (still, I’m 39!) they recount how they picked me up at the hospital and even the neighbors came and who watched my siblings etc.

  47. As the father of two wonderful kids, and yes they are adopted. My wife and I LOVED IT! We have gotten most, if not all of the questions at one point or another. We laughed at most of your answers and plan on using others if, or should I say when, we get them! Thanks for the laugh’s!

  48. People should get slapped for what they sometimes! I love this post and your light heartedness of it even though I am sure it comes from a truthful place in some ways.
    Love you girly!

  49. I have to say getting the opposite to #1 makes me want to slug a person. I KNOW my kids don’t look like me. I don’t need you reminding me – or worse – reminding THEM that “we couldn’t possibly” be related. I had one woman in a store ask me TWICE if I was married to a “Mexican”. Awesome.

  50. Your post had me cracking up. I have heard and continue to hear these stupid comments. We adopted our little boy in December 2011, and I can’t describe the joy in my heart. Thank you for making my day!!

  51. Love this post. I’ve heard them all. The most offensive comments that I get are from children just trying to figure it out. I don’t get upset with them but praise them for their interest in trying to understand the beauty of adoption and how best to talk about it. These kids won’t grow up and make these blunders. Education is the key! Thank you for taking the time to educate!

  52. Growing up the only white child in a Mexican family, I have to say that surprisingly comment #1 was quite the popular comment that has been said to me and my Mom. It’s actually quite funny. I kind of get a kick out of it. 🙂

  53. LOL ! I heard all of them too : as a child AND as a mother ! I’m glad that that kind of comments make me laugh now…
    Your kids are cute 🙂

  54. Well, they are beautiful and it looks like you get the thumbs up too.

    I have six kids and some times well intentioned people would ask “are they all yours?”. Which isn’t so bad, but it would be followed by “Are they all from the same father?”. Hard for me not to give a sarcastic answer back like “GOSH no, I used to be a hooker”.

    ~Bliss~

  55. Such a great and also informative post Kristin! My sis was adopted and I remember all those ? growing up. I do however think I am guilty of one, Lucky….is it ok to say you are both lucky, blessed and fortunate 🙂
    XO
    Kristin

  56. Well done Kristin!
    A lot of people are sometimes just unaware of how they might offend! But good for you for sharing in quite an amusing way.
    You kids are absolutely gorgeous!

  57. I think this is beautiful! I just love your response to number 6. I’m an adoption social worker for the public agency where I live and i think I have said some of these things! Shame on me.

  58. I loved, and laughed at your list. I’ve done that! Yikes!!! Thanks for keeping your sense of humor about how stupid some of us can be.

  59. What an awesome post! I have friends whom are adopted and who have adopted. I think I may be guilty of the lucky, however I said How lucky they are to have come together as a family. You are right though, we should all stop and think before we say something that may be very insensitive. Thanks for this post. Your kids are soooooo cute! I love how their personalities just brighten the screen!

  60. My husband and I adopted 2 girls from Korea and we’ve heard all of the above. How about this one? We were in Newport, Rhode Island touring the mansions and one of the workers said, “I see you have 2 cuties.” (We had the 2 girls and our older son.) I said, “THREE cuties.” Then the person sputtered out, “Yes, three cuties”.
    People just don’t think. Know what I mean?
    Best wishes, Linda

  61. Yes, Kristin you are the lucky one to have such beautiful children. But they are also lucky to have you as their wonderful mother. Love the picture you posted.

  62. I love these posts-especially since I’m a mother through adoption. Posts like these go a long way in educating people. I am very difficult to offend and usually respond in a silly way to these comments since most people do not realize what they are saying can be offensive. I know I’ve said offensive things to others without realizing it more times than I know!

    I always love that people ask if we will tell our daugher if she’s adopted. Um, she’s a different race. I think she may catch on eventually. Another comment that always gets us is when people tell us our daughter looks so much like Daddy. My husband usually responds with something like, “WHAT? I looke like a little asian girl????” We don’t care what our children look like and forget that our family is a conspicuous family adoption to others. We do find humor in *most* of the comments.

  63. Good advice. Heads up, all mothers get asked stupid questions – why does the world need to know our business? Thanks for saying this as graciously as you did. Enjoy your babies.

  64. I’m sure I have been guilty in the past of saying #1! I will be more careful in the future!

  65. Sometimes people just don’t think before they speak. As adoptions become more and more open and public, hopefully the comments that are hurtful will stop.
    I will add that I’ve been told my children were lucky to have me as their mom ~ and I’m their birth mom. I take it as a compliment and then reply the same way you did ~ No, I’m the lucky one!

  66. I’m so thankful for this post! Good friends of mine are in the process of adopting… and I’m glad to know what NOT to say when their new child arrives 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

  67. Thanks for the post. My daughter is heading down that road so it was fun to read. We have 6 children and get comments like “don’t you have a tv”. My husband was asked at an interview once “what are you catholic or mormon”. I think we all need to just think before we speak sometimes.

  68. Thanks for laying it all out there for people who don’t think or may not know the right things to say.

  69. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this. We all say dumb things and although we all need more grace I totally agree with your response to most dumb comments or questions…which is the blank stare. We refer to this in my family as the “tree full of owls” response. Feel free to borrow!!!

  70. Your children are beautiful. I am an adoptive mom of an amazing 4 year old boy and I have heard every one of those comments, and more! Thank you for such a great post!

  71. Wow and I thought the questions I got because I am a single mom were bad. People just don’t think sometimes.

    PS. Your children are beautiful. 🙂

  72. I enjoyed reading your post, Kristin! There are some things that you have mentioned that I may have been guilty of saying in the past. I agree with a previous poster you are all lucky to have one another. 🙂 Megan

  73. Wonderful and informative post. Our youngest son is adopted and so far the comments people have made to me have been fine and very supportive, but my oldest sons PE teacher(when she found out his younger brother was adopted) asked him “is he white?”. I was flabergasted that someone would ask that!

  74. Beautiful, well written post! I think sometimes people just let words “fall” out of their mouth without any thought process behind them. You are a wonderful, loving Mom with wonderful loving children. It was nice seeing you today!

    Take care,
    Sue

  75. We have been asked ALL of these and have had sarcastic comments in reply before. The worst is when I introduced my baby as “this is my daughter Jasmine” and the park stranger said, “Well she is NOT totally yours!” To which I of course replied, “she is 100% my daughter.”

    DO you need my life story?!!!

  76. thank you for sharing this. my neighbor is in the process of adopting a little girl. I consider myself discrete and polite, but it was good to see how something I may think is “nothing” may be a big “something” to her. Thank you!!

  77. This was a very interesting post. I’m adopted myself, so I heard many of these kinds of comments from the child’s perspective as I was growing up. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  78. Sorry if I’ve ever said any of those things to you. I think yall are lucky to have each other b/c your a beautiful family with a lovely story. I will never know what is like to be an adoptive parent, but I do know what it’s like to get stupid questions. Like where did I get Holden??? Or the blank stare and is he mixed with something??? I answered that one with yes PITBULL and he gets it from his moms side….with a smile on my face…Yall love each other and trust me no one can question that love.

  79. Your children are beautiful! I can’t imagine anyone feeling the need to say any of those things. You’re a better person that I am because I would have thrown water/bricks at them at the very least. In many cases adoptive mothers have to fight much harder for their children and shouldn’t be put down for it!

  80. Yikes…I’m 100% positive I’ve told you how lucky they are to have you as a mom…sorry about that…what I meant to say was how lucky you are to have such wonderful children…now please don’t hate me…;)