“If You Wouldn’t Say It About a Boob Job.”

An adoptive mom's thoughts on arming yourself with responses to people's inappropriate questions.

Jessie Lundell May 20, 2014

I love this video’s message, which boils down to four simple words:

Think before you speak.

I like to be prepared with an immediate response to people’s questions about adoption, especially when their questions come across as inappropriate.  I agree with Jesse Butterworth– most people don’t mean to be rude, they are just curious about adoption and don’t know what to say, or how to ask.

As an adoptive mom, I’ve been asked all of these questions.  Depending on who is asking, how well I know them, and the intent behind their questions, I usually answer in one of two ways.  As an adoptive parent, I generally try to use these questions to educate people on their adoption language and share our positive adoption story.  If someone asks a question that is clearly rude and makes me feel uncomfortable, I answer it in such a way as to make them feel equally uncomfortable.  (I hate to be embarrassed or uncomfortable.)  Below, I’ll provide you with both of my typical responses for the most common inappropriate remarks I get from people:

Now that you’ve adopted, you’ll for sure get pregnant.  

  • “Yes, that does happen sometimes.  However, for those of us dealing with infertility, when you say things like ‘you’ll get pregnant’, you are sending a message that infertility is not a disease.  Also, not all adoptive families have been built through adoption because of infertility.  There are lots of reasons that people adopt.  Our family chose adoption because…” Feel free to share as much or as little of your adoption story as you like.
  • “Let me give you a little lesson on how sex works to make a baby…”  Feel free to share as much or little of your infertility story as you like.

Where is she from?

  • “She was adopted from ________.  She is from the city and state that we live in, just like the rest of her family.”
  • “Probably the same place as you, depending on how far back you want to go.”

Did you adopt because you couldn’t have your own kids?

  • “However children come to all of us, it is a journey.  Our family came to us differently than yours, and I love it.  My daughter is mine, she is her fathers, and she is her birth mom’s daughter.”
  • “I adopted to have my own kids, you had sex to have yours.  To each their own.”

How much did she cost?

  • “Our adoption agencies charge for their services of paperwork, lawyers, adoptive parent/ birth parent education, and counseling.  My daughter was not something that I paid for.”
  • “How much did you pay to push a baby out of your vagina?”

Who is her “real mom”?

  • “I am her real mom.  Her birth mom is a very dear friend of ours, and she is amazing.  We love her!”
  • “Wait!  I’m not real?”

She is SO lucky to have you adopt her.

  • “We are lucky to have her!”
  • “Bet you wish your kids were that lucky.”

What made you want to adopt?

  • “I believe that adoption is how my husband and I are supposed to build our family.”
  •  ”Probably the same thing that made you want to get pregnant– we wanted a family.”

Again, most people are just curious about how adoption works.  Try to be charitable.  I’m sure we have all asked rude questions without meaning to.

author image

Jessie Lundell

Jessie loves CrossFit, competitive waterskiing, cooking, and eating dinner as a family every night. She is the mother, through adoption, of one very active 2-year-old and a new baby boy! Jessie and her husband are the chairs over a local adoption group, United for Adoption, and enjoy advocating for open adoption and educating the community about adoption.


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