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

Kewcumber Tue 09-Oct-12 15:47:25

Kendodd - don't get too paranoid about it as I said most of us are pretty well aware of when people are just being pleasant and interested. Its also generally different being asked by someone you know quite well in a private situation about the adoption than the nosy parker whom you hardly know asking you in the school playground. I have found the people I know reasonably well to be quite reticent and will only start asking questions when the subject comes up naturally (which is rare these days).

It also depends on the stage you are at. When I first brought DS home I could bore for England on the subject of adoption whereas now I see it as more irrelevant in general. Its a bit like asking people about their birth stories when they have a 7 year old, yes there will be situations in which its appropriate but not something that you would normally raise as its just not relevant 99% of the time.

If people really are just trying make polite conversation, I'd rather they talked about the weather!

Hayleyh34 Tue 09-Oct-12 15:55:57

I agree Kew - when I first bought my daughter home, I told anyone and everyone that she was adopted, I couldn't stop myself. It was only because I was so excited and couldn't believe that she was mine. I've calmed down alot since then!

MaryZed Tue 09-Oct-12 16:11:50

There is a nothing wrong caring and being interested in the hows and wherefore of adoption, the mechanics of it and taking an interest in how adoptive parents are coping with their new children (just as you would take an interest in a newborn baby).

The thing that many of us don't like is the rampant curiosity about their background, which isn't anybody's business but theirs. And as a parent it is awkward to be put in a position of sounding (to the child) as though you are trying to hide something, or dodge questions in some way.

Asking about their background is as relevant to their life now as asking about other children's conception grin

Moomoomie Tue 09-Oct-12 16:55:37

Oh yes, many times I have fielded the nosy questions, especially when we adopted dd3, the older two were already at school and not many people didnt know they were adopted. The amount of " OO I didn't know the girls weren't yours" and " you never said they were adopted" from acquaintances at the school playground was unbelievable.
Also I had many people ask me if they all had the same dad, to that I answered Yes, DH is daddy to them all.
You do have to grow a thick skin, I have said before the general public seem to think they have a piece of our children because they have been in the care system.
TBH I would not have relished the thought of having a three year old child placed about the time Madeliene McCann went missing, or a five year old in the last week, imagine the questions then! ( I do not mean to be flippant with this comment, it is something I have thought a lot about over the years. )

Lilka Tue 09-Oct-12 18:39:56

Yes, 'Why do you ask' is good because it gives the benefit of the doubt to the asker

But I can judge tone pretty well - there's the specific tone and facial expresion used when they want salacious gossip, eg. drugs woman. I'm sure these questions were asked lots in years gone by, but I still think it reflects on our society's obsession with knowing the 'gory details' about everything and everyone's most personal secrets a la Jeremy Kyle. The thrill people get from getting some juicy information...

And China woman was rude. She is a school playground mum I have spoken to a couple of times. She had just watched me drop DS off at school when he was upset and angry with me and showing it. Then she says 'He's adopted, isn't he?' and I say yes warily, and she asks me why I didn't adopt a nice girl from China instead!! Because naice little girlies from China don't have tantrums, don'cha know? hmm I just turned and walked off. I was fuming so much I didn't even answer her

I'm happy to answer any polite questions about adoption, as long as they are genuine (not asked just to get gossip or not asked in a snidey tone) eg. How long did the process take, I'd be fine with 'Why did you choose UK adoption and not international?' but some people are so rude about asking - of course they want conversation, but I'm amazed people don't realise how rude some questions are. Childs background questions especially

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 09-Oct-12 22:37:46

I'm happy to bore for England on the process and mechanics of the adoption process and our experiences of it. I'm also happy to talk to random people about my views on adoption and fostering. And obviously I'm happy to be the proud mum and talk about just how wonderful DD is.

But it is just nosiness to ask me about DD's life before she was with us, and I will give pretty short shrift to anyone who pushes those questions.

OP, DD looks so like me that we usually get the "I can see where she gets her hair / eyes / looks from", rather than your question, but I agree the best answer is usually "why?"

Lilka can't belive anyone said that China comment! How rude.

Families what do you say if people say dd looks like you?

Am just curious!! (Nosy!!). When we had fertility treatment with donor eggs I used to fantisise about a baby that mysetriously looked more like me than DD (who is a birth child with my egg but had quite different hair and eyes to me as a baby). I know a few children born from donor eggs and amazingly some do look like their mum. I think for children who have been adopted maybe they can pick up mannersisms etc, maybe sometimes you can just see similarities in people who aren't genetically related anyway. Just curious what you say, (feel free not to answer).

Kendodd Wed 10-Oct-12 10:22:32

The woman I was talking to had adopted a baby from Thailand, the child was about six when I spoke to her, she also had a three year old birth child at the time. I can't remember how the conversation started, I just remember asking lots of questions about it.

I do remember saying how much I thought her adopted daughter actually looked like her even though they were from different racial backgrounds (and they really do!). Another question I asked was why they chose international adoption rather than UK. She said (amongst other things) that her sister was adopted from China so it felt natural.

The reason I was so interested is because I would love to adopt a child (a baby or very young child). I have three DCs myself and would really love a forth. For me it's just a fantasy though, DH doesn't want any more, I don't think I'm tough enough for the selection process, and I probably wouldn't be suitable anyway. I do dream about it though.

Shes the only person (with an adopted child) I have asked about it though so I haven't been going round offending loads of people with nosy questions. I remember speaking to another mum about it who said people who already have children (like me) shouldn't be allowed to adopt so that people without children get first dibs. hmm

ScaryBOOAlot Wed 10-Oct-12 10:35:30

Some people are so bloody rude shock

FWIW, entirely different, but I have endless comments about my age / the fact I'm disabled and have a child. "How do you cope?" "Doesn't he get upset that you can't do normal things?" and of course... "But you didn't get pregnant on purpose, surely?".

I think some people are incredibly rude, and some people also have no idea of social protocol.

You all sound like you handle things wonderfully.

TiAAAAARGHo Wed 10-Oct-12 10:49:08

"I remember speaking to another mum about it who said people who already have children (like me) shouldn't be allowed to adopt so that people without children get first dibs."

shock

Kewcumber Wed 10-Oct-12 15:17:11

The "first dibbs" comment comes from someone who doesn;t understand that adoption is about finding homes for children not finding childrne for parents. Now of course we adoptive parents go into it to find a child of our own but I think we do understand all teh way along that it is (or is supposed to be!) the childs needs that are paramount.

Sometimes older siblings will be considered a more suitable family set up, or more experienced parents or someone of a closer racial match or a single parent. It isn't like some kind of inverted frequent flyer programme where the more you fly the lower down the pecking order you get!

FamiliesShareGerms Wed 10-Oct-12 21:31:06

Italian, I say "yes, doesn't she!" or "but she's far prettier than I ever was as a child". Both true, but without directly lying that there's no reason why she should bear any resemblance to me. Same as if people comment that she's tall for her age - I say "well, her dad's very tall, so her's brother", as I figure that's a true statement (and also part of the reason why DD was placed with us)

I was with two friends, one who had adopted twins (now 19 - HOW did they grow so fast?...anyway..) The other was askign so many rude questions that I said "wWould you liek to know how me and my husband got our DD. he was dressed as Heflick off Allo allo as he was doing a show that wek and we boncked so much because i was off work and etc etc.". I was so annoyed..... I'm bad aren;t I? But do you know what i mean? I just don;t get it?

Its beautiful adoption.... and I suppose it is natural curiosity.... but seems a bit rude...

Uppermid Wed 10-Oct-12 21:47:13

I'm not adopted but grew up with my step dad and lots of people don't realise this, the amount of comments along the lines of doesn't she look like you he gets are quite amazing (we don't btw!) but he just smiles and says thank you. Not sure if that helps or not.

On another note, can't believe how rude some people are - shocking!

MaryZed Wed 10-Oct-12 21:49:41

That was probably a good way of answering her mumble grin

I do the "she looks like dh" a lot too, when I'm with dd. In fact she looks incredibly like dh a lot of the time. ds1 is more like me, colouring and personality wise. But mine are both Irish, so don't look "different" in any way, which means that most of the time people don't ask any more.

Families great answers.

Devora Thu 11-Oct-12 00:06:28

The first dibs thing is irrelevant now - it's about what you can do for the child, not what the child can do for you.

My children have different skin colours so people either think I'm childminding or that I'm a hoor.

mymatemax Thu 11-Oct-12 00:18:48

My friend has 4 children, two of whom adopted from a family member as babies....anyway I didnt have aclue & when we were talking about childbifrth she said "i couldnt go through it a third time" I rather stupixdly accused her of having forgotten giving birth to two of her children. she thought I knew, it never occured to me & as the conversation was after a couple of bottles of wine it took us ages to realise why we were both confused.
It was only the next day I phoned with a foggy head & she said "well arent you going to ask which two were adopted"

justabit Thu 11-Oct-12 10:18:21

Heyley34. Love the stabby word. Can I use it?

Hayleyh34 Thu 11-Oct-12 11:57:55

Anytime justabit!

justabit Thu 11-Oct-12 14:57:44

Thanks.

I'm adopted. Have loved this thread.

runamile Thu 11-Oct-12 21:14:49

I have the opposite experience from many of you. It is amazing how few people ask questions or make comments about the fact my children are adopted. Only people who are very close ever ask anything and then only when I have opened up the conversation. Sometimes I feel I would like people to say what they are really thinking!

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