The Things People Will Say To Your Face
Things actually said to real families with internationally adopted kids, collected on adoption forums:
Are they REALLY brother and sister?
I guess their mom/dad is Ory Ental, huh?
Did their mother die in that big war they had down there?
Are you SURE she's [ethnicity]?
How could you love [adopted child] as much as [biological child]?
I adopted a dog once.
[Upon a post-adoption pregnancy] What are you going to do with the other one, keep him or send him back?
You get what you pay for.
Is he a real orphan?
What's wrong? You can't have one of your own?
Oh, they fight a lot there, don't they? Lots and lots of fighting!
[Regarding infant] Does she cry in Korean?
[By a family therapist, in front of child] Was her mother a prostitute?
Is he Chinese take-out?
What boat did he come on?
You know, your kids can marry each other.
How much did he cost?
[Public official, loudly, upon reviewing documents] You paid THAT much for her?
So is she, you know, natural?
How do you know he isn't really North Korean and a communist?
Will he be Christian?
I can't believe how Chinky his eyes are!
You know you'll never love an adopted kid the same as a real kid.
So, how much does it cost to buy a baby and how much of a cut does the birthmother get?
We'll that's awfully liberal of you.
No, what's her real name.
[In front of male child] HOW DID YOU GET A BOY?!! I thought they wanted the boys in China? You know what they do to those poor baby girls? Leave them abandoned in the streets to die! Why would they do that to a boy when they want the boys?
[In front of children] What kind of woman would abandon beautiful children like that? She must be a monster.
Where'd you get a slanty-eyed one?
Do you ever call him 'Immigrant baby?'
[regarding tiny infants] Does he speak Korean/Chinese/etc.?
[To clearly Anglo parents of clearly non-Anglo kid] Will you tell him he was adopted?
Don't they have birth control over there?
Are you going to buy rice in bulk now?
[Regarding twins, one a boy, one a girl] When a boy and a girl share a womb, those hormones get mixed up all willy-nilly, and so one of them will certainly turn out gay. [OK, that's not adoption-specific, but it's hilarious.]
Are you the nanny?
[After being told yes, they are siblings] No, but are they really siblings?
Can you tell me what you know about his real parents?
Is there a catalog or something?
What's wrong with American kids?
[to children] You don't know how lucky you are.
I've always wanted me one of them orientals!
Have you considered the eyelid surgery–I mean, not to make him look more white–but just because white people can see better with the shape of their eyes?
Oh, his mommy didn't want him?
Did you get a discount for more than one?
[general nipple-Nazi aggressive nosiness]
You must be rolling in it to afford one of those.
Oh, them people do good nails!
So are they all deformed, or does that just make them cheaper?
I'd definitely get one of them if they could guarantee me him. It's so expensive and there is no guarantee you'll get a good one.
I'm informed that adoptive parents of same-ethnicity kids get variations on some of these, too.
My point is not to portray adopted parents as poor victims — we're not, we're tremendously lucky. Nor is it my point to suggest that adopted children and adopted parents are exposed to more ignorance and bigotry and rudeness than other people — we're not, necessarily. The world is chock-full of asshats, and the subject of children is a powerful vector of asshattery, perhaps even more so than politics or religion or sports. Rather, my points are these: (1) my God, but the world is full of twits, and (2) adoptive parents, you aren't alone. Stay cool.
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