5 Things Not to Say to Mothers of Transracial Adoption

Somethings are just better left unsaid to families of transracial adoption.

Meghan Rivard June 12, 2015

Have you been the recipient of a rude comment or been out in public and heard someone make a rude comment to an interracial family? Most of the time, they are not intentionally being rude, they are just not informed. As an adoptive mom, I’ve been on the receiving end of some of these awkward questions and statements, and I’m here to tell you, if you don’t want to offend, it’s better to avoid saying these things to families of transracial adoption.

How much did she cost?
1. How much did she cost?

Please do not ask


who has adopted this question. As an adopted mother myself, I would find this question extremely rude. My daughter is not a thing we purchased, she is our daughter. No one asks how much your medical bills were when you delivered a baby at a hospital.

Where are her "real" parents?
2. Where are her "real" parents?

Please do not ask where her “real” parents are. She is my daughter. I was caught off guard once when I was asked this. Doesn’t the person you’re talking to look real to you?

How will she grow up not knowing her culture?
3. How will she grow up not knowing her culture?

In most transracial families, the heritage of an adopted child is very important and will be incorporated into the family through ethnic foods, artwork, attending cultural events, and meeting other people from the child’s culture. Some families will even travel to the child’s birth country for a visit when the child is older.

Our neighborhood isn't cultrually diverse enough for your child.
4. Our neighborhood isn't cultrually diverse enough for your child.

If a family living in a neighborhood that is predominantly one race adopts a child of a different race, don’t tell them they should move so their child is not the minority. There are many other ways to accomplish this goal. They might find a church or community where the child’s race is in the majority. They may develop a relationship with someone who can be a mentor to the adoptee.

Why do you look different than your mom?
5. Why do you look different than your mom?

Kids in school with your child may make inappropriate comments or ask hurtful questions. Obviously this isn’t something YOU can’t say. Talk to your children about adoption. Explain to them that families come in all shapes and sizes, that sometimes they’re made through birth and sometimes through adoption. Explain that adoption means sometimes kids won’t look like their parents, but teach them to celebrate diversity and to approach peers who don’t physically match their parents with sensitivity.

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Meghan Rivard

Meghan is an adoptive mother and a big advocate of adoption and foster care. She resides in Indiana with her husband, their one-year-old daughter who is the center of their lives, and their dog Max. She has a Bachelor's and Master’s Degree in Social Work. Meghan stays at home with her daughter but is so happy she found this outlet to share her personal adoption story and educate about adoption!

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