How I really want to respond to nosy adoption questions

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November means stuffing our faces with pumpkin pie and fake whipped cream. November means three a.m. bargain hunting on Black Friday (or doing the sensible thing and staying home and going your shopping on Amazon). November means leggings, sweaters and poking fun at the people who get all twitterpated over all the pumpkin spice things. But what does November have to do with nosy questions about adoption?

Well, November is also National Adoption Month. The fact that we celebrate children finding families and giving thanks in the same 30-day time period? Well, let’s just say that’s not lost on me.

How I really want to respond to nosy questions about adoption

How I wish I could answer nosy adoption questions|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

Two of my kids are adopted. My brother and several of my cousins are adopted, too. Growing up, adoption was just a normal part of how you get kids. As an adoptive parent, I get asked all kinds of rude, nosy and sometimes really weird questions about adoption. I usually manage to answer semi-politely, although if I really want people to shut it and move on, I find that talking about hemorrhoids usually does the trick. It's funny how people who ask questions about the intimate details surrounding how my family became a family are scared off by talking about bottom troubles but there you go.

Related post: I've always wanted to adopt but…

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But just for fun, here are some of the answers I wish I could give to people who ask nosy adoption questions.

1. Can’t you have any children of your own?

That’s a big no because I have no uterus and my Fallopian tubes are shriveled up. I had Endometriosis and it gave me raging awful periods, so I had some key girl parts removed. Shall I go on? I love conversations about my vagina and assorted lady parts. So fun.

Nosy questions about adoption are one thing but this gets a little personal, people.

Related post: The great big list of adoption gifts

2. One of THE WORST nosy questions about adoption: What happened to their real mom? 

Gosh, I don’t know! These rude little humans woke me up at 5 a.m. asking me if I knew where the remote was. THEN they wanted me to make oatmeal. That seems pretty real to me. Is there someone else that should be handling these buttcrack of dawn requests? Oh, and say! Are those your REAL boobs? Just curious.

3. How much did they cost? 

They were free, but let me tell you the shipping and handling was pretty freakin’ steep. Oh, and say! How much did you pay for that ostentatious gas-guzzling SUV? That's not too personal, is it?

In all seriousness, when people ask questions about adoption, I get that they have questions about cost. But there's a way not to ask and this is it. 

4. Do you know Angelina Jolie? (Probably one of my favorite questions about adoption we get asked TBH)

I totally do. Yesterday I was just saying: “Angie, we need to call Madge, put on our good yoga pants, jump in the minivan and head to Sonic for happy hour.” Of course I know famous people who have adopted. We all hang out drinking boxed wine and snarfing Velveeta cheese dip. Fun!

5. Why did you adopt from China instead of your own country? 

I adopted from my own species. That’s something, right? And… When would be a good time to talk about your made in Indonesia shoes and your Japanese car, hmm? I'm just curious and all.

6. Now that you’ve adopted, do you think you’ll get pregnant? 

Ooooh fun! We’re not done talking about my vagina yet? Just kidding. See #1.

Related post: Everything you need to know about post-adoption depression

7. Are you planning to tell them they’re adopted? 

It depends on how smart they turn out to be. They may eventually figure out that two Caucasians don’t usually produce Asian kids, so if it seems like they’re going to be smart, we’ll have the adoption talk when they’re about 13 and really starting get going with that whole teen angst thing.

Now, I completely understand curiosity and that people have questions about adoption. But this one is just dumb.

And my personal favorite,

8. You’re a saint for giving those poor children a good home.

I work so hard to keep my home a kid-safe little haven of love and harmony. We've even moved the beers to the lower shelf of the fridge so the kids don't need to use the step stool when I tell them mommy needs a cold one.

A version of this post originally appeared on Scary Mommy.



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  1. I am cracking up here over #8…not the ignorant question but your witty response. People say the weirdest thing and would get offended if I asked about their health or personal life. I love that you use humor deal with the crazy!

    1. Thanks, Jenni! I’m now waiting for some pearl clutcher to criticize me for asking my kids to fetch my adult bevs. Not that I’d do that. They’re only six. Maybe in a couple of years. Kidding. Maybe.

  2. People can be really insensitive about adoption sometimes. I love your #1. I am such a introvert that I’d never leave my house if I had to discuss girl parts with a random nosy person.

  3. LMAO.
    Well, I may ask some stupid questions about adoption … really anything I don’t have experience with. Sometimes things don’t quite come out perfectly. But, your responses are funny … I’d laugh my ass off if you responded that way to one of my stupid questions. 🙂

  4. I can’t believe anyone would ask those questions… good grief! It seems like no matter how you become a parent people think it’s okay to ask anything they want! And for the record, I think adoption is AWESOME! I hope to adopt someday to add to our family! <3

  5. Ugh. Yes to all of these! Someone once asked in front of my preschool aged daughter if I was going to tell her she was adopted. I stood with my mouth open, but wish I would have said, “No, but you ruined the surprise!”

  6. I’m so glad I’m not the only one considering responses to these intrusive questions. It’s deeply sad how strangers act as if my children are commodities. How disrespectful. If it weren’t for the fact that I know it would hurt my children (because these questions always seem to be asked in my children’s direct presence), I might be tempted to use your response to #7.

  7. Awesome responses! Each and every one resonated with me. Nope, we won’t have any of “our own” children either, my girlie parts are gone for the same reason yours are! I personally resent the question about my children’s parents, because I know what led to their children being adopted. They are strong people who made poor choices, the same as I do from time to time, that is no cause to speak bad about them. Thanks for writing this and making me smile!

  8. It is funny how us adopters get all the same questions. I’ve had all your questions about a thousand times. I’ve adopted 12 times. Glad to know it isn’t just me getting those questions. : )

  9. But why don’t you answer the way you want to? My daughter was adopted (not *is* adopted) and I got the same nonsense from complete strangers you did. No one who sticks her face between you and your baby in a tiny restaurant bathroom while you’re trying to change the babe’s diaper to ask you what her nationality is (“She’s American) deserves to be coddled.

  10. I’m cracking up over here! My husband and I have no children, so we can’t relate to the adoption aspect, but this sounds very similar to stupid questions people ask about why I don’t have any kids and/or when I’m going to start having kids. Really, people? As if I’m just going to discuss my lady parts and sex life with anyone but my doctor or husband. *eye roll*

  11. Sometimes when people are trying to figure out why child looks different than I do, they ask where we adopted him. I respond with the state where he was born. Then sometimes they follow up with, so what’s his nationality? Um. He’s a US citizen. (Didn’t you hear what I just said?) Oh, where are his birth parents from? The same state where he was born. Oh, their ethnic/racial heritage is from this other country. What about yours? With family this question doesn’t bother me, but with strangers or people I just meet it sometimes really does.

  12. Good ones! My husband and I adopted 2 babies from Korea 3 years apart, and both were 3 months old when they arrived. This is the question we were asked from several people…..”Will the speak English?”
    Seriously, I doubt they’ll be speaking any language at 3 months, and language is acquired, not built into the race. Don’t most kids speak the language of their parents? Oh, that’s right. We’re not their “real” parents. We’re fake, made of plastic or rubber, or something like that.