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Readers Respond: Top Hurtful or Rude Questions and Comments About Your Foster or Adopted Children

Responses: 16


Where did she get those brown eyes, from her birth father?
She's very long legged. Was her birth mom tall?
I don't see how you can stand this kid. Doesn't he drive you crazy?

Why do some rude people assume that they deserve answers to their nosy questions?

Why do some people assume it's OK to say rude or hurtful comments about your child?

I have never heard rude things about my birth child. When it comes to my adopted children or my foster children - the gloves come off! People can be very mean.

Use this space to vent! What rude comment really surprised you?

What did you expect?

My personal favorite after a hard day - "For well you chose to do this, what did you expect?"
—Guest ebeth

But its the way

As a foster child I realized that my life is complicated and I wanna know who my real parents are!! I find that no matter how hard I try to get over it, it is sometimes shameful, but its life and if it wasn't for these people I think some people would be on the streets if it wasn't for people who took their job seriously in finding a home to people who matter. were all special and we foster children are a little more cause we get a little bit more attention.
—Guest jj

Why don't you have a daddy?

I'm a single adoptive mom of 2 girls. Kids in school have asked many times "Why don't you have a daddy?" My oldest would struggle to answer. My little 5 year old answers..." He died!" End of conversation. I've heard her say it many times when asked. We chuckle each time. Once on a plane, I heard the little girl across the isle ask her, Why don't you have a daddy? Again her response is He died! Her parent's response was to stop asking question, being embarrassed. I truly think it's a cleaver response.
—Guest Jeanene

Your so lucky, little girl...

An older woman approached my 3 yr old Haitian-American foster daughter in the grocery store, wagged her finger in her face and said, "You're so lucky to have that lady (me)! You better be good for her!" REALLY?!?! Of course there were some significant cultural and generational stuff going on there- but I just can't wrap my brain around someone having the nerve to say that to a child. All children who have good parents/caregivers are fortunate. But not as fortunate as we are to have them in our lives! This particular child had JUST come into care and didn't speak or understand much English. Thank God. If she had, it surely would have compounded the trauma she had just been through.
—Guest jlf


I think that the questions can be rude, but don't have to be. It all depends on the way the person asks the question and when and how they ask the question.
—Guest nighte

Don't you want children of your own?

We are in the process of becoming foster parents. While my immediate family is extremely accepting (my parents have been fostering themselves for over 10 years) my fiancee's family, extended family, friends, and even strangers almost all say the same thing the first time we tell them them, " You are both so young (25 and 26) don't you want to try harder and have your own children". Now we have not tried to have children (we haven't tried to prevent it either) but infertility is not known either. We are becoming foster parents because we have chosen to make our family this way because we believe there are enough children in the world who already need family. It hurts me so much that people would question our decision to give a child a family. And it angers me because my younger (adopted) sisters are no different to me then my bio sisters. It angers me that anyone would think foster or adopted children are less important then bios.
—Guest tnlmommy2b


—Guest DAT

Are they all YOURS?

I am the proud mom of 5 boys, in various colors, ages and nationalities. Often, I hear, "Are they ALL yours?", which makes my sons so uncomfortable. Face it, would you really want everybody to know you are in foster care? I have found the best response is, "They are all mine right now!", delivered with a big smile. It makes people stop and try to figure out exactly what I mean.

Cross-cultural Fostering

I was hurt when a black lady at my church said she felt sorry for my daughter because she was being raised in a white home. My reply was, "Oh, and how many foster kids have you taken in." She had no response. I also was met in WalMart by three teenage black girls who walked by my daughter and I saying very loudly, "Something is wrong with this picture." I just wish that more people would take that energy and foster children...instead of being critical of those who do. I am smart enough to know that it is more important for children to have a parent who unconditionally loves them, supports them and gives them the tools they need to succeed in life, than a parent with the same color of skin!
—Guest Sherry

She's Not even Blood, so Why Would You

We recently had a very hurtful comment made by a family member brought to our attention. We tried to conceive a child for over 12 years..and we were blessed with "heart-birth" versus "vaginal birth." We recently found out that a family photo was canceled 2 years ago have you, (meaning we were not told of the incident then.) We were told that when we were not able to get our child 80 miles north on a certain day for a photo to be taken and they were considering rescheduling for the next weekend that our niece who is an IU GRAD...said "Well, why does (our daughter) need to be here anyway, she isn't even blood." And then we were told that this was an attitude that had been displayed by her for a period of 4 years. We were told that while making plans for a recent family wedding this past Thanksgiving, the same niece spoke up when she found out our daughter (5 years old) was asked to be the flower girl, she rolled her eyes and said, "Why...she isn't even FAMILY!!" We are so hurt!
—Guest Izagodthang

Rude Comments

Yes, those questions are rude. Discussions about the birth family are very personal; in many cases, adoptive/foster parents are not supposed to discuss the biological family for safety reasons. As for the last question about the kid driving you crazy, that is incredibly rude. If you cannot understand why someone would be offended by that, you're in dire need of sensitivity training. As for a rude question that I've heard, my husband and I have a biological son. When people first heard that we were looking to adopt, we were asked why we wanted to adopt when we already had a child "of our own." I still cringe at that one. We were also asked if our "real" son wasn't good enough for us. That was rude on so many levels.
—Guest mom04

These are considered rude???

None of those questions you posted in the article seem rude. They are examples of sincere questions that probably are indicative of an interest in the child being addressed. If there is a stigma attached to being adopted or fostered, as you suggest, what better way to lessen the stigma than to talk about it in a more open manner? Being secretive and aloof adds to the stigma, or mystery.

compliments end with "for foster kids"

Upon first meeting our foster children relatives and friends (who don't foster) frequently say, "Wow they're so well behaved for foster kids." I guess they expected animal-like behavior. Friends of ours received similar comments referring to how attractive their children were "for foster kids".

pointing out skin color

My favorite was "She is beautiful! She must look like her daddy." Since she does not look like me. As I am a single parent, my snarky comeback was "hmm -- don't know." My other favorite was when a waiter in an Indian restaurant asked me, "you're from India?? Ma'am, you don't look Indian at all," (presumably because of my light complexion). Pointing to my daughter - POINTING - he says, "SHE, though, she looks Madrasi (South Indian)." The colorism in my own cultural group is disgusting, as are their rude comments about our different appearances.

My adoptive Mother would say

When people would ask questions, my adoptive parents would lie and act like I was not adopted. They would even go so far as telling my doctors their family medical history was mine. They act ashamed of my adoption. This is extremely hurtful to me.
—Guest Gina

Dad, what does Biological mean?

I was in the grocery store a few weeks ago when a boy of about 10 y.o. was reading magazine headlines in the checkout line. (Michael Jackson, of course.) And he starts saying to his dad, "Dad, dad, what does 'biological' mean? The magazines say he's not their biological dad." Dad was hesitant to answer. "It means real dad," he said. "They're saying he's not the kids' real dad." Showing his own ignorance, but what if an adopted kid or kid raised by a stepdad was standing behind us in line? I know it's hard to explain genetics to a 10 yr old, much less explain sperm from daddies and eggs from mommies in a grocery store, but couldn't he just say, "Your biological dad is your dad before you're born, and some kids have different dads after they're born?" I suppose this isn't the most offensive thing in the world to say about adoptive dads. And I really don't care what you think about MJ. His kids are under 14 and I just wish the press would leave them ALONE.
—Guest stairway220
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