11 Crazy Things I’ve Been Asked as an Adoptive Parent

Because my boys are members of a visible minority whereas their father and I are not, the fact that our family was created through adoption is always in evidence. We treat adoption as an everyday fact –as natural and as arbitrary as the colours of our eyes — which of course it is, since the practice has existed in human societies for millennia.

But sadly not everyone sees adoption, and particularly inter-ethnic adoption as something both completely wonderful and utterly normal. I have become oblivious to the slightly puzzled looks strangers give us as they try to work out our relationship. The vast majority of people we meet are polite and positive. A few though have been inopportune, presumptuous, or downright derogatory.

At first I got upset about these encounters. But I’ve found the best way to deal with this kind of ignorance is to laugh about it otherwise it will leave me seething for days!

So here are a few of the most I-can’t-believe-you-just-asked-me-that statements I’ve heard and, when I’ve pulled my jaw off the floor in time, my responses:
Couldn’t you have kids of your own?
They are my own.
No, but biologically …?
My uterus thanks you for your concern but it’s just fine.
Aren’t you worried that his mother drank or did drugs?
No. But judging from that remark, I’d be a little concerned about yours.
You just wait, now you’ll get pregnant with one of your own!
Wait, you mean I could’ve just made one myself and saved all the paperwork?
(In a supermarket) Where’d you get a Chinese boy*?
Aisle 17
(* extra layer of weird: neither of my boys are of Asian descent)
Wow! His dad must be a HUGE football-player or something!
No, actually he’s a slightly vertically-challenged lawyer. Why do you ask?
There’s no way that came out of you.
Why aren’t you breastfeeding?
He’s adopted
That’s no excuse! You should take lactation drugs!
Um … Are you on drugs?
Can you get me/my friend/ my cousin’s best-friend’s sister one too?
I can direct you to the agencies I know of?
Oh no, I don’t want to jump through all those hoops.
So you only want to adopt if it’s easy?
Are they REAL brothers?
No, we hire actors.
I really admire what you did. I always tell my husband, if we ever get another dog, we’re going to adopt!
(In my head) WTF!?!

Have you put in for a girl for the next one?
Yes, that’s exactly how it works. Just like with pregnancy.
Do you have any OMG stories? I’d love to hear them, and even more about how you handled it!
For a response that doesn’t deflect with humour, sarcasm or further rudeness, this article on the wonderful phrase “I’ll keep that in mind” is a fantastic read.
adoption parenting mum mom mother motherhood
link to my favourite quotes and articles about adoption
No Bohns About It




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  1. Ahh I actually do not know any adoptive parent’s but I can’t imagine some of those questions being asked! Why aren’t you breastfeeding HA! I’m really sorry but I think I would be curious as to your thoughts of adopting vs having biological children. I don’t think I’d be asking it in a grocery store to someone I didn’t know though! Don’t hate me!
    ps. the page keeps crashing as I’m trying to post this comment so I’m sorry if I just posted 18 of them!

    1. It’s funny because I didn’t think I knew a lot of adoptive parents either, but when we had our first son, we discovered so many parents who had adopted too. In person, it’s a bit more obvious that my boys and I don’t share the same ethnic background, but because my hubby is quite olive-skinned no-one bats an eyelid. And he’s never been asked why he didn’t breastfeed either although I love to hear his response! Haha!

  2. We have definitely gotten some of those comments before! If my kids aren’t around I can deal with it, but when they are right there it is so hurtful.

    1. Thanks Erin! As crazy as it makes me when I have to cope with these comments, it does help to know I’m not the only mum who deals with this sort of thing! Thank you for hosting such a great link-up!

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