Gracious Answers to Awkward Questions about Our Adopted Kids

by Parenting, Wisdom0 comments

The following advice is from Deborah McCurdy, MSW:

When we adopt a child who looks different from us, we generally feel we can handle the stares and loss of privacy that go with the territory.  We may find, however, that the frequent questions and comments of strangers and relatives sometimes annoy and worry us.  At the heart of our anger and anxiety is the fear that our adopted child will be hurt by thoughtless questions, or that their older siblings, who look less exotic, will feel neglected, but this need not happen.

It is reassuring to realize that even seemingly insensitive questions are nearly always well intentioned, and that they actually provide AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS OUR DELIGHT AND PRIDE in our adopted children as well as in their siblings who were born to us.

Q:   Where did you get this dear little one?  Where is she from?
A:    She was born in Korea, and her brothers here were born in Michigan

We can start early to practice answers that will AFFIRM THE CHILDREN, preparing for the day when they will be old enough to understand:

Q:  Isn’t she a lucky little girl?  What wonderful people you are!
A:  We’re the lucky ones, to have such a wonderful child!

Q:  And do you have children of your own?
A:  Just these four.  (This affirms adopted kids as our own.)

Q:  What do you know about the real parents?
A:  Well, we’re his real parents, actually, since we’re bringing him up.

Q:  Oh, of course–I meant the natural parents.
A:  We don’t know very much about the birth parents.  How have you been? How was summer?

Q:  Do you have any pictures of her parents?
A:  Oh, yes, we’ve got albums of our whole family.

Responses such as the above can gently educate others, especially if said with a smile.  BUT WE ARE ANSWERING PRIMARILY FOR OUR CHILDREN’S EARS.

The above wisdom is from Deborah McCurdy, MSW.  She is Adoption Supervisor at Beacon Adoption Center in Great Barrington, MA.  She is also an adoptive mother.  You can read more of Deborah’s insights as well as other helpful articles about adoption by going  to Melaine Strobel’s website: and pull-down “Adoption”