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What to do When People Comment on Your Adopted Child Looking Different than You

A few weeks ago we wrote a blog about how to talk to your adopted child when they start to notice physical differences between themselves and you, their adopted parents – “Why don’t I look like you?” But what happens when a similar questions does not come from your child, but a stranger? How do you respond to a person who comments on your adopted child looking different than you?

“Is she really yours?” “Is she adopted?”
“Why doesn’t he look like you?”
“Where did he come from?” “What country did you get her from?”

Adoptive parents are used to fielding questions – sometimes rude questions – about their children. Unfortunately, people just don’t realize they’re being insensitive. But once the shock of the question has subsided, you will need to formulate some sort of a response. But what? How?

Developing a Strategy to Respond to Questions about Your Adopted Child

Adoptive families are incredibly intriguing to the general public – the outside world. This interest spurs curiosity, which can lead to some pretty awkward and intrusive questions. And, unfortunately, these types of questions are almost inevitable So, it can be helpful for you and your family to develop a strategy for dealing with intrusive questions. Be truthful, honest, and respectful – even if the other person is not showing you the same common curtesy. Adoption is something to be proud of and you should show your adopted child this pride by being outwardly proud as you describe the adoption story. You can be very clear that when you adopted your child, he/she because YOUR child.  

Adopted Child

How do you respond to a person who comments on your adopted child looking different than you? What do you do?

“I like to use a three choice process when asked about my own adoption story.  It is called the TIP process: Tell, Ignore, say it is Private,” explains Dr. Dean Kirschner, Executive Director and Adoption Councilor at Adoption Makes Family. “I can choose to tell the story of my child’s adoption.  I can ignore the person, or I can say it is private.”  

Some appropriate responses include:

  • “I find your question very personal.”
  • “He is part of our family.”
  • “We love her very much.”
  • “Yes, she was adopted and we couldn’t be any happier.”
  • “If you would like information about adoption, I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction.”

Just remember to stay calm and be respectful. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but it is important to set a good example for your child.

Turn to Adoption Makes Family When You Need Answers

Remember, you are not alone. Adoption Makes Family is here to help! We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our adoption counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience. If you would like our advice or just need to talk, please give us a call at any time.

24-Hour Hotline 410-683-2100

If you have any questions about how to respond to questions about your adopted child, you can contact us by e-mail – dr.kirschner@adoptionmakesfamily.org or use our online contact form. Adoption Makes Family was founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 at 7:55 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.