My family looks pretty different, and it gets a lot of attention. The vast majority is positive, and most of the rest is just curious or wondering - but every now and then someone says something REALLY stupid, unkind or offensive. A lot of the time, if the kids don't hear it, I let it go. If they say it in front of the kids, I sometimes take them to task. And sometimes, I give free rein to my sarcastic side.
(Note, some of these questions are not, in and of themselves, that offensive, and so don't worry if you've asked them. It is HOW people ask them - in front of the kids, loudly, thoughtlessly, as though they have a right to know things that are private.)
1. I always think <Black/biracial/hispanic> children are the most beautiful children in the world" (Usually said loudly, in front of all my kids).
My evil favorite answer: "Yup, after I gave birth to four ugly white children, I had to go get me some pretty ones."
2. "I guess having all these rainbow kids is trendy now that Brad and Angelina are doing it."
My evil favorite answer: " I always have been a style leader. I just wish they came in more colors, because these guys don't look good with these shoes."
3. "Are they identical?" (Asked of my BOY-GIRL twins)
My evil favorite answer: "We can't afford the surgery to have them made identical yet."
4. "Where did you get them all?" (said incredulously)
My Evil Favorite Answer: "They are Albanian." (This is only funny because we live near Albany, NY). I've also been known to say that we downloaded them from the internet.
5. "He/She is so cute. I don't understand why you haven't adopted him/her already.
My Evil Favorite Answer: "I know, it is SO UNFAIR of their parents to love them and try and get them back - I mean, how dare they? If it was you, I'm sure you'd just sign them over. But then again, they ARE cute..."
6. Don't you worry that the kids might have...welll....PROBLEMS down the road?" (Usually said in a stage whisper in the children's hearing.)
My Evil Favorite answer: "You mean they might grow up to be officious busybodies who have no idea what's appropriate or inappropriate? Yes, that is a worry."
7. How much did they cost?"
My Evil Favorite answer: "Four liters of blood, my left arm and my immortal soul. And it was totally worth it."
8. Some people just shouldn't be allowed to have children." (Referring, of course, to my children's bio parents)
My Evil Favorite Answer (best said totally deadpan): "I definitely think you should be the one to decide who those people are."
9. "Are you going to tell them they are adopted?" (Said most recently in front of my black twins who came to me at 3 1/2).
My Evil Favorite Answer "No, why, do you think they'll guess?"
10. Don't your REAL children pick up bad habits from THOSE kids?
My Evil Favorite Answer: "Actually, I've been raising homicidal maniacs all along, I'm just worried the foster kids aren't learning to be sociopaths fast enough from my boys. We may have to bring in tutors."
11. "How many fathers do they have?"
My Evil Favorite Answer: "It is hard for me to remember those sorts of things. We've had a LOT of pool boys."
12. "I couldn't love a child that wasn't related to me by blood. How can you love them?"
My Evil Favorite Answer: "Good thing that prohibition on incestuous marriage isn't enforced too strictly if you couldn't love anyone who isn't biologically related to you."
13. "How much do you get paid?"
My Evil Favorite Answer: "They reimburse us enough to be able to take care of the kids. But they don't pay enough to make talking to idiots worthwhile."
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LOL Sharon! I can understand your frustration with that kind of thoughtless questioning. My son's behavior often gives the impression he is autistic, and over the years it has generated many comments from total strangers that I have found bewildering. I wonder why nosiness and voicing unsolicited opinions is considered acceptable these days? Isn't it more polite to not assume that level of intimacy even with close friends, until you've established your boundaries with each other?
You need to perfect the Gabe move. When my grandson Gabe was 3 we were shopping together and someone made a seriously stupid comment about the superhero costume he was wearing. Without missing a beat he looked right at them and said "Stop talking to me" and walked into the store.
Number 11 is superb
People really ask these? Wow.
You've made this poor asthmatic laugh until she coughs. I really love the answer about the pool boys.
This is a great article! Amazing how inconsiderate people can be. The lack of compassion in the world astounds. It is good to hear your voice again Sharon. I love the articles about fostering.
My middle daughter is adopted from China, I've heard most of these personally,and I have no patience for answering rude questions politely. If someone asks politely, they get a polite answer, if they don't they either get no answer or as rude an answer as they deserve based on the offensiveness of their question and tone. 9 and 12 are my "favorite" ones.
Go ahead and give them #7. It's totally pro-social. (of course, best case scenario this person is trying to figure out if they could also manage that particular aspect of the logistics)
From Dear Abby - "If you will forgive me for not answering your question, I will forgive you for asking it."