Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

11 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the link. It’s interesting what the woman said about living in Toronto. In my experience immigrants are generally more upfront with their questions. We got a lot of those questions when Bella was a baby, but not so much now that she is older. After people find out she is biracial they say, “She just looks. . .” (they can’t bring themselves to say “white”, which I think is sort of funny.)

  2. The best answers always come to me in the car, on the way home. 🙂 I like keeping it simple though – introduce name, end of conversation.
    Bummer to here about that in Toronto – I’m still looking for the perfect harmonious bubble so I can move there.

  3. I haven’t personally experienced this as my children are tras, but this story still reminds me of how little I care for the very personal questions I get from complete strangers on a regular basis.
    But I try to be nice, and one time a woman began “so, is your wife…” to which I replied “yes, she is Jewish.”
    And off wandered a very confused person.
    Then there was this one time at a park when a woman began with blessing us for adopting, followed by a battery of questions. She was there with her own kids. After my wife mumbled a few unhappy answers I cut them both off and asked the woman if she had an episiotomy while delivering her rather large son.
    She left too.
    I may be wrong in this, but the only time I am completely open and accepting of strangers’ bold curiousity is when we are approached by Koreans. And this actually happens a lot here where I live.
    My favorite was one time in a large warehouse store (Costco) when a group of some half dozen Korean women shopping together swooped in and scooped up both sons and then asked who they were. Their bold acceptance was very welcome.
    This isn’t always the case, and we have gone to events in the local Korean community where we were given a subtle cold shoulder. I try to not take it hard.

  4. It never ceases to amaze me that people feel they need to ask such personal questions. My daughter is adopted, but so what? Some of my favorite responses are: Is her dad Chinese, Korean, Japanese? Me: I don’t know, I never saw his face.
    My husbands favorite:
    Is she yours?
    My husband: Well my wife says she is, but she looks a lot like my neighbor!
    That usually shuts them up.

  5. I think the world is due for a “mind your own business” campaign. There’s really no excuse for people not being aware of the fact that families are made up of many different combinations of races and ethnicities, genders, too. It’s simply time for people to figure it out and stop asking unwelcome questions.

  6. I agree with Margie.
    Where do people get off thinking they can invade your privacy with such intrusive, yet sometimes inane questions?
    Once upon a time this type of questioning was aimed at people who had physical or mental disabilities. Working with such kids people would ask me the dumbest rudest questions you would never dare ask someone with all their limbs. Yet they felt it was ok. Now it is the 21st Century and we have moved on from disabilities to simply different. If someone looks different or seems ‘out of place’ people feel it is there duty to question it.
    I am about to become the mother to our little TRA child waiting in China. I ask myself every day how I am going to respond to the morons in our society who you know are just going to open their mouths and pour out stupid remarks. I want to protect my child yet not apologise for her ‘differentness’. She has the right to be her, as she is.

  7. With regards to intrusive adoption questions, the best approach I’ve used so far (in Austin, which is admittedly an educated town) is to simply answer a question with the question “Why do you ask?” More often than not it’s because the strangers felt a connection to me because their daughter-next door neighbor-best friend is in the process of adoption or because they themselves are pursuing a trans-racial adoption. In the latter case, I have used it as an opportunity to recommend 1) this blog, 2) Third Mom’s blog and 3) Third Mom’s reading list on Amazon Third Mom’s Adoption Recommendations

  8. Our daughter is adopted from China and my husbands response to the intrusive questions is “she was conceived in China”

  9. it’s a tacky way to ask a question, for sure. but when people ask me, who am white, about my baby, it doesn’t anger me so much. i say, her father’s family is from Gujurat, India.
    i feel like people see my beautiful baby girl and are so awe inspired by her loveliness they have to know more. i don’t blame them.
    but more seriously, i think that people ask because the world is changing, is becoming racially mixed, and people are learning to understand all the new wonderous varieties of humanity they’re seeing. they are trying to make positive connections, which seems important in a society so battered by negative racial conceptions. i don’t want people to be wondering about my family and not ask questions — it seems like then they could make up answers, or they could furnish stereotypes more easily about who our famil is.
    in india we get the same questions as we do in the us. people are curious about people. i understand not all people want to discuss their baby’s origins with whoever wants to bring it up, but it doesn’t anger me so much.

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