Parents Share: No End to the Nosy Adoption Questions

When you formed your family through adoption, everyone seems to think it's their right to ask you nosy questions about adoption. Readers share some of the most common—as well as some of the most outrageous.

Three mothers pushing strollers in the city, one asking a nosy adoption question

On our Facebook page (, we asked readers: What’s the most common question people ask you about adoption? The most outrageous? Here’s what you said:

I should start by saying I have adopted five children from foster care, none of whom are biological siblings, so we get lots of questions. Here are the five most common: 1) What country did you adopt them from?; 2) Are any of them real siblings?; 3) Are any of them your real children?; 4) What happened to their real parents?; 5) What made you pick these kids to adopt out of all the ones you fostered?” —ERICA

“I get, ‘Is he your grandson?’ or ‘Who in your family couldn’t care for him?’ If people persist, I’ll finally say, ‘Yes, we adopted him, and were blessed to do so.’ I try to not be rude, but also not forthcoming.” —CATHERINE

“‘Do they know their story? Do they speak to their birth mother?’ I find it interesting, personally, that I’m never asked about their biological father, only their mother.” —RHONDA

“I haven’t adopted yet, but am in the process to adopt from foster care. I get, ‘But you’re single! Don’t you want a husband first?’ While, yes, I do ‘want’ a husband, there are so many kids in care who need homes, and I don’t see why someone wanting to make a difference should be questioned or frowned upon.” —JAMIE

“We adopted teens after raising biological children, and the question we get a lot is, ‘How do your “real” kids feel about this?’ This is usually followed by, ‘I could never do what you do.'” —AMY

What country is he from? (New Jersey) Was his birth/biological mother on drugs? (No. Was yours?) Why did his biological mother give him up? (She didn’t ‘give him up’ and that’s none of your business.)” —MICHELLE

“‘Don’t you worry the mother will want her back?’ Absolutely not! My daughter is legally ours and we have a wonderful open adoption. We love our daughter’s birth mother.” —LILLI

“‘Where is his (or her—I have two) real mom?’ This language drives me nuts, especially since their birth moms chose me to be their mom. When I tell people the correct term is ‘birth mom,’ I get, ‘You know what I mean.’ Yes, in fact, I do, but you are offensive and annoying. Why do you care whose vagina my child came out of?” —SUSAN

“I hear, ‘Aren’t foster kids like, all problems all the time?; Don’t you wish you had your own kids instead?; Don’t you think kids need to be with their real parents?'” —BRADLEY

“‘Aren’t you so happy that you got them to look like you?’ That was the most recent. I felt weird and so uncomfortable. Who would say that?? I felt like she was implying I bought them at a store.” —CASSIE

“‘Weren’t they expensive? How much did they cost?’ My response: ‘Uh, that’s illegal. We didn’t buy our children.'” —AMY

My favorite is when someone compliments my daughter’s birth mother for making the choice to place her, and then insults her character by saying, ‘I could never give up my baby.'” —SUZIE

“‘Is something wrong with you?’ …asked by my mother-in-law. Others have asked this as well, though not as bluntly.” —JENNIFER

“Where’d you get them? Like adoption is like shopping. LOL.” —SARAH

“I often hear, ‘But you don’t know what you’re getting.’ Does anyone ‘know what they’re getting’ when it comes to raising children?” —LULU


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