8 Common Reactions to my Adoptive/Transracial Family

By | 1:00 PM 7 comments

I've gotten used to the different kinds of looks and interactions I get when I am out and about with all of my kids.

I thought I'd give voice to some of my personal favorites. And yes, the post was born out of an experience at a store yesterday where I encountered about 3 of these within the span of 30 minutes.

1. The Quizzical Look

Is she running a daycare? Did some guy(s) knock her up and leave her with all those kids? Are they all hers? I'd like to ask but instead I'll just do a double take. Then a triple take. Then just whisper to whomever I'm with.

2. The "You Must Be A Saint" Look

Self explanatory, but if smiles could gush...

3. The Disapproving Look

Again, self explanatory.

4. The "Didn't your Mother ever Teach you not to ask those Questions" Interaction

How much did he cost? Are you his real mom? Are his real parents dead? Where did you get him? Are you sure he doesn't have _______?

5. The "God Bless You/Superhero" Interaction

You are doing such a good thing. He is so lucky to have you. You must be a missionary.

6. The "Hollywood" Interaction

OH.MY.GOSH. HE. LOOKS. JUST. LIKE. ZAHARA. JOLIE-PITT. (Or some other famous brown skinned child who shares no resemblance to him other than the color of his skin.)

7. The "Hair" Interaction

Stuffing their hands into his hair and remarking "oh, i just LOVE his hair..." Is it hard to keep up with? Do you have to comb it? I just need to touch it!

8. (my personal favorite) The "Six Levels of Separation" Interaction

My cousins sisters best friends co-workers twice removed great aunt knows someone who knows someone who adopted and I need to make a beeline to you and make this connection NOW!


All you other adoptive families...any others you'd like to add?!


I realize that most people are just curious and/or misinformed on so much of the adoption process, and so, for the record I am not easily offended. We made the choice to become a transracial family and therefore, I readily accept all the curiosity. In fact, I welcome the questions because I'd love to do anything I can to encourage YOU (yes, you!) to consider adoption.

However, it would be good of you to think about how that question is being perceived by the child standing right next to me BEFORE you ask it.

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Kelly Via said...

I've been reading about all these...it's funny to hear you speak of them all first hand.

I love your family, your love for adoption, and your patience with others' curiosity.

Great attitute, Jenn!

Miranda said...

I actually got stopped by an african american woman at target who had african hair care questions for ME! It totally surprised and actually delighted me - she was so encouraging and that was a first for me...you never know what your going to get but I also think it a blessing to get to stand out for the right reasons... :)

Emily Minich said...

Oh wow...I adopted two white boys and we hear things all the time. I hate number five. I am still trying to come up with a good response. Maybe, "no, they bless me every day..." or "no, they are what God blessed me with when I originally though I knew just what I wanted."

The comment I got the other day from my child's doctor's nurse was the worst ever though. "you adopted them? Are you going to keep them?" my poor child who heard that at least got to hear an unequivocal YES!

Jennifer said...

Haha!! I think people probably want to show their interest and their care for you and your newer and growing family, but don't know how to say it without opening their mouths and inserting both their feet!! I'm sure it's hard not to preconceive what their motive is for asking or saying anything to you, but if in doubt, maybe try to just accept that they want to express their acceptance of your family and just aren't good with words. I'm hoping you're doing great, and getting rest since the baby is older!! Are the kids having a blast playing together at their ages? I remember that it's fun but exhausting. Just be glad you still have to pick them up and/or chase them, because when you stop, your triceps start flopping around!

Erin said...

We are an adoptive family but not transracial and we still got those kinds of comments when people found out our daughter was adopted! My personal "favorite" is "What happened to her real mother?" First off, that's really none of your business and secondly, I am her real mother. Ugh! I understand people are curious but sometimes curiosity seems to take over politeness.

Donna Wolfe said...

Your transracial? I thought Ezra was yours??? LOLOOLOL. I love you my friend!! Miss seeing you weekly, but so glad God's using you where you are!!

"Did you mean to adopt and get pregnant?" No, but would it matter if we did? Thinking about making a shirt for Village Thread that says "Hands off my awesome hair"