iVillage: What NOT to Ask Adoptive Parents

A few weeks ago, I wrote several blog posts in recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month. And as part of those posts, I tackled the topic of what adoptive parents wish that people wouldn’t ask in public. To further this message, I created a web cartoon which hopefully demonstrates the absurdity of some of these intrusive questions. I was also given the opportunity to create a video and a blog piece for iVillage, as a way to get the word out to the general public. Fortunately for me, I had the help of a few fantastic friends- Ann, Joanne, Penny, and Lynne (as well as my pal Toni who didn’t appear in the video).

Here is the video piece that played on iVillage, and was also featured as this week’s “Must Watch Video”!

And here is a link to the blog post that I wrote for iVillage: “What Not to Say to Parents of Adopted Children

And in case you missed my full web cartoon… here it is again:

You Might Also Like:


  1. Rebecca Matthews says

    ….I know the intent of the cartoon is to ‘lay out’ what may be ‘inappropriate’…but…instead of appearing ‘judgmental’ or ‘nosy’….I think some people are really trying to ‘take an interest’ and really appreciate you and understand.
    I think to say ‘go home and google it’ is actually insensitive as well. I have for a very long time wanted to adopt – any children — but my spouse is opposed to having any ‘other than his own’ so I am definitely interested and very passionate about adopting and would be open-minded that others who choose to speak or ask questions are as well.
    I wouldn’t dismiss them as being intentionally ‘intrusive’ or ‘ignorant’ (well…yes, ignorant in the sense they don’t KNOW.) But….it’s also sad that the opportunity to ‘share’ isn’t welcomed and instead people (parents) are ‘off-put’ by curiosity of what is clearly a different-appearing family make-up. To feel that people wouldn’t be curious is really expecting the unexpected.
    I would RELISH the opportunity to adopt children — from anywhere — and be able to openly share a multitude of information hoping that others would begin to open their hearts to adopting as well.
    I wish you well with your blessing of children. Happy Holidays
    Rebecca Matthews

    • says

      Hi Rebecca-
      Thank you so much for watching and taking the time to comment. It’s not that I do not understand the natural curiosity of others…. but my point is that someone’s curiosity does not take precedence over the protection of my children. The whole point is that these questions should not be asked in front of my kids, period. If someone is interested in adoption, I welcome the chance to speak to them privately… but not when my children are standing there feeling uncomfortable by the attention and the direction of the conversation.
      I wish you well too- and the warmest of holiday seasons. I can understand your feelings now about imagining you would be open to share information in an effort to encourage others to adopt as well….. but once you are walking in my shoes- you might feel differently. I know my feelings changed the more crazy questions I was faced with…. in front of my children.

  2. Susan M. says

    I just found your site, so am 3+ months late in commenting. 🙂 As an adoptive mom (of 1 only [6??? ohmygosh]), I have been asked a lot of interesting questions. I welcome the opportunity when the question is, obviously, coming from a place of curiosity, and I gently correct “incorrect” wording (e.g., “Are you her real mother?” will get my standard answer of, “I sure am–but if you mean, am I her *birth* mother, no, I’m not). We have had some incredibly rude questions (“Was there a sale on babies today?”), and those I ignore or play dumb and say something like, “I’m sorry, what do you mean?” But, the caveat here is that my daughter was an infant when the rude questions came, and so she didn’t really hear/understand them. Now when we are asked where she’s from, I’ll turn to her and say something like, “Where are you from, honey?” and she’ll answer either “California” or “Guatemala,” depending on her mood. Both, of course, are correct. I love, love, love talking to people curious about adoption, but like you, Sharon, would want to do it adult-to-adult, not in front of kids. Thanks for your great blog…which I’m about to subscribe to.

    • says

      Hi Susan! Yes, I had one of those odd “baby sale” questions one time… I was pushing the grocery cart and two of my youngest ones were in it, and an older man stopped me and asked what aisle I got them from. I felt my shoulders tense up and was about to say something flip back, when I realized that he probably wasn’t commenting about the adoption at all… but the fact that I had two cute little kids in my cart, sitting where the merchandise goes. But the association of my kids and buying them got such an instant (and angry) reaction from me, that I almost was rude to the guy. Luckily, my brain caught up with my mouth and realized that this was probably an innocent comment from a sweet man who was just being nice….
      So I know that I am quite capable of being too defensive…. but the Mama Bear in me is always looking to protect her young….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge