Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stupid Questions, Smartass Answers

At Parent Dish, some answers I wish I could give to stupid adoption questions:
1. Are those your real children?
*No, they're robots from the planet Mergatroid who landed here overnight. Careful, they may zap you with their bacteria-building laser gun.
*Is that your real brain or a loaner from the moron store?

2. Where is their real mother?
*With your husband.
*Out on parole next month. I'll give her your address.

3. Are they orphans?
*Why yes, didn't you catch their cameos in "Annie?"

4. Are your children related?
*Yes, to your father.
*Yes, they're siblings. You know, like your parents.

5. What do they eat?
*Idiots who ask stupid questions.
*Oh, goodness. Am I supposed to feed them?

7. Can we touch their hair to see what it feels like?
*Sure, for $100.

9. Did they eat monkey (kid from Africa), rice (kid from China), borscht (kid from Russia), rice and beans (Central/South America)?
*Yes, because they're walking stereotypes of [insert nationality], just like you're a walking stereotype of an American idiot.

13. Why did you adopt them?
*Because I wanted to gray faster, like you!
*Angelina was busy and Madonna couldn't take the bad publicity.
*Somebody's gotta do the household chores and it's not gonna be me.
*I'm starting a home mail-order business. Free labor!
*It was between them and a Chia pet, and all my plants end up dying.

18. Do they know who their real parents are?
*Yes, the ringmaster and the bearded lady.
*Honestly, does anyone?
*No, do you?

22. What do they call you? Mom?
*They've already adopted the American practice of, "Hey, you."
*'Mom' seems to have that motherly ring to it, which is kind of cool being that I'm their mom.
*They call me mom for the same reason people call you dumb ass. It just fits.

27. Do they speak English?
*Only when they swear.
*Yes. You should try it sometime.

30: Do they still speak (Swahili, Chinese, Spanish, Russian)?
*Only at school. It gets them special ESL accommodations. We're trying to game the system.
*That and five other languages, all fluently.
*Yes, and they're teaching me several new ways to tell you to $#@! off!
Yes, I know all the reasons we shouldn't answer this way -- role-modeling for our kids, people don't intend to be hurtful, etc., but it is fun to imagine!


6kids said...

Thank you for making me smile!

Megan said...

I don't think "Do they still speak ..." is a stupid question at all. It is if they know a child was adopted as an infant or super young, however, a lot of families make an effort to immerse children (adopted or biological) in classes other than English.

The others are stupid questions.

Amanda said...

Not to be a pain, but a lot of the questions don't bother me. People make assumptions...lots, and lots, and lots of assumptions that sound stupid. But to them, they're trying to make sense of adoption--especially if they are not familiar with it.

I once had a classmate ask me about my "real dad." You could tell she was very concerned about offending me with her question. She wasn't trying to be rude, she really didn't know.

I have noticed with a lot of individuals who have step-parents and one parent isn't in their lives, they don't use "birth dad" or "birth mom" (or first mom, natural mom--whatever). They say "real dad" or "real mom." This is regardless of how much they love their step-parent or how much disapproval/love/whatever they have for the parent not in their lives. They are not intending to me mean. Other non-traditional families may not have the "you *must* say this, this, this, and this" rules that adoption has. And so people coming from that frame of reference (loads of people out there are impacted by divorce) may use the language they are familiar with. I think this particular classmate was herself impacted by divorce.

Believe me, adoptees get a lot of ridiculous questions too. They are tiresome to answer and you spend every day wondering why people don't just automatically know better. But...they simply don't.

Anonymous said...

I think I have met all of these people!
The best one I had was . " why are her eyes like that'? as the grown woman did the Chinese eyes with her fingers. Yes ,she really did this.

Haigha said...

I like it :- )

Kim said...


A friend of mine (white mom, black daughter) was recently asked "Why is your daughter black? Are you married to a black man?" At the grocery store, of course. 'Cause THAT'S where deep, meaningful relationships are formed.

And her response? "Well, no, my husband is white, but my LOVER is black. We didn't really know till she was born whose she was."

(Her daughter's an infant...she will modify her responses once her daughter can understand what she's saying, of course.)

malinda said...

Kim, I've always wanted to answer the "Is her dad Chinese?" question with a kind of vague look and the answer "Probably . . . ."

Now wouldn't THAT do wonderful things for my reputation!

Anonymous said...

My children (and I) resent rude invasions of our privacy. We reply in a direct way that is not rude but certainly makes it clear that the interviewer is rude: "We don't share personal information." If the interviewer is persistent, our response is a very loud, "It's none of your business." This works for strangers AND "friends" and family members.

I do believe that people ask intrusive questions because they think we are inferior due to our family type or ethnicity. They would not ask a stranger with a newborn if the child was born vaginally or by cesarean. I have no qualms about making these people feel very uncomfortable about their own behavior. I also believe it is essential that I protect and respect my children's privacy.

Raina said...

Look on the bright side...
7. At least they asked first
9. Better than being asked if they eat dog.

@Anonymous - I have indeed been asked by strangers if I had all my kids "naturally" which I think is usually meant not-by-cesarean. I don't know how many shocked omments and intrusive questions I've gotten about giving birth, as if it's anyone's business.

@Malinda - in response to "is her father Chinese?" the answer is YES.

And while these questions might be annoying to you, your transracially adopted kids will endure them forever. It's part of the package. The worst, though, are the assumptions that my dad is my lover. Just. Ew.

Reena said...

These are great!

You have to discern a person's intent when asking a question. Sometimes they are interested for reasons other than being nosey. You can usually tell.

I had a transracial adoptee co-worker-- he said his parents were always polite with responses to nosey questions and that he always wished that just once, his parents would have really stuck it to someone.

I know everyone is different, but something to keep in mind.

Regarding stepfamilies, I am also a stepmom/monster. LOL. My stepkids DO NOT like it when people mistakenly refer to me as their mom.

I always correct people--no matter what the situation or the person. It is abut them and their comfort level.

Over the years we have evolved from me being 'their Dad's wife," to Stepmom-- to stepmonster (they are teens now LOL).

a Tonggu Momma said...

Like Reeena, said, it is all about our kids and their comfort level with the questions and our responses. Oh, how I wish I could be externally snarky sometimes, though, instead of just internally.

Once, when the husband and I were at the grocery store with a toddler Tongginator, a woman asked us if the Tongginator was adopted. When we said yes, she asked "are you going to tell her that she's adopted?" My husband (white) looked at me (also white), then at the Tongginator (Chinese) and replied, "Yes. But even if we didn't, I think she'd probably figure it out."


Turns out the woman was a late discovery adoptee. She spoke without thinking, out of concern for our Tongginator - that she not go through what she herself went through.