Are They Adopted? An Answer

To make a long story short, I stumbled upon a blog post today, titled “What Not to Say to Mixed-Race Couples.”

Number 4 is “Are They Adopted?”

Obviously, Max and I are not a mixed-race couple. But many parents of mixed-race children, adopted or otherwise, are often asked the question, “Are they adopted?” Most adoptive parents I know bristle at the question, even if it comes from people who are genuinely interested in adoption. I’ve been there. I was in Target and I saw two white people with a brown kid. Because I’d love to know more adoptive parents in real life, I really wanted to ask them about their son. However, I know I don’t particularly like it when strangers come up to me and ask if Jackson is adopted. So, how do we make these connections without offending anyone?

This blog post actually has an answer:

“If you don’t mind sharing it, I’d love to hear about their heritage.”

Personally, I think it’s brilliant!


4 thoughts on “Are They Adopted? An Answer

  1. Hm, I think I’d personally find the heritage question intrusive and “othering” — white people don’t get approached about their “heritage” the way people of color do.

    If you want to meet other adoptive parents near you, there may be a Meetup group for that, and if there isn’t, you can start one!

    • I have red hair, so I get asked all the time if I’m Irish.

      I guess I like the “heritage” question better than the “adopted” question just because adoption can carry a lot of baggage for some people. Is the questioner asking about adoption because he/she wants to adopt? Or because he/she is about to go off on how white people shouldn’t adopt black babies?

      There aren’t any adoptive parent meetup groups near me. The closest one is about 60 miles away. I really don’t want to be responsible for starting a group, especially with the baby. I’m not a starter.

  2. Wow, I am never asked about my ethnicity … I guess red hair is unusual enough that it prompts questions.

    I do think the heritage question is better than the adopted one, because it certainly presumes less. But I still don’t love it.

    I get not wanting to start a group … it’s possible there is one out there you don’t know about — you can contact local adopt agencies — they may know of some.

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