Ah, the questions people ask, and think they have every right to ask. Adoptive parents have dealt with these questions for ages.

How you respond is up to you. Some people truly don’t know that the question that they are asking is offensive or can be seen as rude. Others are just downright nosy.

One easy way to deal with this question is to ask “Why do you want to know?” They may be interested in foster care or adoption themselves, or it may help them to realize that they have asked a rude question, such as “Are they your real kids?”

If you adopt transracially, you may get questions about your child’s paternity. Things like “Are you married to her father?”

Formulate responses to questions, so that you are prepared when someone asks. Here are answers to some common questions that can help to extinguish other questions, or help establish that you are a family.

Q. Where did she come from?
A. From her mother. From God.

Q. What is he (usually referring to race)?
A. My son. My child. A gift from God.

Q. Did her mother do drugs?
A. No, I did not.

Q. Is he your real child?
A. Yes, he is a very real part of our family.

Q. How much did you pay for her?
A. She’s worth more than I could have ever paid.

Q. Are they “real” brothers and sisters (usually referring to all of your children)?
A. They are now.

These are just some samples to help you craft your own answers. Being prepared with answers will help you when the time comes.

Using Positive Adoption Language

Positive language Negative language
Birthparent Real parent
Biological parent Natural parent
Birth child Own child
My child Adopted child; Own child
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Terminate/Relinquish parental rights Give up
Make an adoption plan Give away
To parent To keep
Waiting child Adoptable child; Available child
Biological father Begetter
Making contact with Reunion
Parent Adoptive parent
International adoption Foreign adoption
Adoption triad Adoption triangle
Permission lo sign a release Disclosure
Search Track down parents
Child placed for adoption An unwanted child
Court termination Child taken away
Child with special needs Handicapped child
Child from abroad Foreign child
Was adopted Is adopted

Using positive adoption language can help to better understand you, your child, and the decision of your child’s birthparents.