The correct answer to 'are your children adopted?' question

(47 Posts)
Glenshee Mon 08-Oct-12 23:06:40

I met someone last week who told me about his family and how when people ask whether some of his children are adopted he replies 'yes, but I can't remember which ones' smile

Must be a known line in the adoption 'club' but so sweet nonetheless... smile

Themumsnot Mon 08-Oct-12 23:14:22

I am one of four adopted siblings (unrelated by birth). I find that Why do you ask? coupled with a Paddington stare generally sees off the nosey. If you say yes, then you get 'Are you all related to each other?' 'Weren't your parents great to take you on?' and on and on. I often wonder whether they would ask such intrusive questions of birth children.

Kewcumber Mon 08-Oct-12 23:16:48

Why do you ask?

Yup that works for me everytime too!

Themumsnot Mon 08-Oct-12 23:19:06

Oh yes, and the classic 'Have you ever thought of searching for your birth mother.'
Because I am really likely to want to discuss this sensitive topic with a person I met five minutes before at a coffee morning.

Kewcumber Mon 08-Oct-12 23:46:45

I get "what do you know about his birth mother?" generally over the jumpers at M&S.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Mon 08-Oct-12 23:48:31

It's amazing what nosy idiots some people can be!

Lilka Tue 09-Oct-12 08:38:01

Why do you ask - works for me too! In fact, it works for many many questions, and sometimes I even get a sensible enough answer eg. Did you change any of their names? Why do you ask? Well, my husband and I are thinking about adopting but we're worried about names etc

The most recent stupid questions were
"Was their real mum on drugs?"
"Why didn't you adopt a nice little girl from China instead?" - Just what?

Yes, the 'was the 'real' mum on drugs?' crops up here too. Wierd.

But, bizarrely, our adopted child likes more like me than my birth child does, so it's not asked very much by total randoms! I often get, 'doesn't your daughter look like you' instead .....

Themumsnot Tue 09-Oct-12 09:01:56

When I was a child I never minded the nosy questions from other children, mostly along the lines of 'What happened to your real parents' but the things adults used to say were awful. I would burn with rage when people would say things like 'Oh you must be very grateful to your parents for taking you in' or 'Of course XX isn't your real cousin'.

MaryZed Tue 09-Oct-12 09:26:31

Are they really siblings? is another one I used to get about ds1 and dd.

My reply is "yes, all three of them are siblings". To which I get "but I mean real siblings", the answer to which is an innocent "yes".

Some people actually go to the lengths of explaining that they want to know whether they have the same parents, so I just continue saying yes. It flummoxes them a bit.

mumsnot, I hate the word "real" when used in relation to adoption. It's the one word that gets to me. It's like using the word "normal" when talking about children with SN. The implications of being not real or not normal aren't nice at all.

Hayleyh34 Tue 09-Oct-12 09:30:35

I get asked "do you know about the REAL parents"?! most of all. It makes me stabby

I remember hearing a radio piece about a couple who had adopted from China. A lady walked up to the mum and two toddlers in the street and said "ooh, were they really expensive?"

The mum's reply was "what an astonishingly rude thing to ask!". That worked.

Might not work so well if you'll be stuck in the same room as the peson for a period of time rather than just waltzing away.

badmumalert Tue 09-Oct-12 09:42:48

I think people are just making polite conversation.

Themumsnot Tue 09-Oct-12 10:01:56

Conversation perhaps, Badmum. Polite, not so much.

MaryZed - yes, real is a killer word for me. One of my lowest moments was when a friend I have known for many years was talking about a family she knew whose adopted child had gone off the rails. She said: 'Well of course it shows their real background will always come out.' I said: 'Oh, so you knew what her background was then?', knowing that she hadn't a clue.
She suddenly remembered who she was talking to and quickly changed the subject, but my god that hurt.

Hayleyh34 Tue 09-Oct-12 10:10:38

Themumsnot - that's AWFUL!

Themumsnot Tue 09-Oct-12 10:15:42

Yes it is Hayley, but a surprising amount of people think that way. Never mind that she had no conception of what might cause an adoptive child to go 'off the rails'.

MaryZed Tue 09-Oct-12 10:38:44

I've had that a few times with ds1 - I know for a fact that one of his classmates mothers said "Oh, I'm not surprised he's a druggie, what do you expect taking a child from that type of background".

Stupidly another "friend" repeated the comment to me; she was shocked, but I would have preferred not to know it had been said sad.

Hayleyh34 Tue 09-Oct-12 14:11:28

Good god, looks like I've always got off lightly!

Fishwife1949 Tue 09-Oct-12 14:28:06

Thank you sooooo much op i wanted to ask what i should say to people that we know if they ask us but been to shy i feel so much better know

Kewcumber Tue 09-Oct-12 15:00:41

"I think people are just making polite conversation"

I'm all grown up now - I can tell when people are making polite conversation and when they are being intrusive nosy parkers!

"Was (not IS!) he adopted?" - may be polite conversation perhaps I will start asking "was she a drunken shag in a car park baby or was she planned?".

Its actually why I quite like teh "why do you ask?" answer because it gives people the opportunity is they (as Lilka says) actually have a sensible reason for asking. Otherwise depending in situation I either answer or just change the subject.

The problem with the "polite" questions is they they are often overheard by their children who then think its fair game to ask DS in class. "Why did your real mum give you up?" is quite a difficult question to deal with when you are 6.

My favorite was actually from someone who didn't realise DS was adopted and obviously assumed (as many people do) that I'd had some wild tempestuous affair with a dusky gentleman from the Orient:

Batty old Lady: "Did you want him?"
Kew (startled): I beg your pardon!?
Batty old Lady (persists): "Did you want him?"
Kew through gritted teeth: "Oh yes very much"
Batty old Lady (obviously thinking she wasn't being clear enough): "I mean did you plan to have him?"
Kew (smiling sweetly thinking how very planned he was): Oh indeed he was carefully planned.

This was in front of DS - who have have been only 4 but he wasn't deaf!

Kewcumber Tue 09-Oct-12 15:02:10

Oh and I couldn't get away from her as we were in the same hosptial ward at the time!

MaryZed Tue 09-Oct-12 15:03:04

Arf at batty old lady: which is worse I wonder; a strange baby with an unknown background or a shag with an oriental stranger grin

Greythorne Tue 09-Oct-12 15:06:13

Well, some people do find it fascinating. Justlike they ask of people who get pregnant with number 2 when number 1 is only 2 months old: " was it an accident?"

Human interest stories fascinate people. I am not sure all the people who mention adoption are being rude.

Kewcumber Tue 09-Oct-12 15:10:09

I am not sure all the people who mention adoption are being rude.

No I'm sure they're not - I'm equally sure some don;t mean to be but say pretty bloody rude things none-the-less.

I have told DS that people will be curious and that its OK for them to be curious but them wanting to know something doesn;t mean he has to tell them.

Kendodd Tue 09-Oct-12 15:13:00

Oh dear.

I asked somebody I know quite well (but not really a friend) all about her adopted child once. How she did it, was it very difficult, did it take very long etc. I did ask her (although right at the end) if she minded me asking, she said 'no, not at all' but she may have just been being polite.

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