Friday, 29 August 2014


Words are like toothpaste once they're out you can’t get them back in.

Clearly the topic of stupid things to say to adopters is a rich seam, mined at depth across the internet. All adopters have their own list of pet hates and anthologies of stupid things that have been said to them.

However, I will throw a recent question that I've been asked into the fray.

After getting to know someone eventually the topic gets round to children and inevitably adoption.

Then the conversation comes to this point:

“Wow, six children? And you’ve adopted?....................are any of them your own?”

Now, as you read this please understand that I don’t feel militant, offended, angry or indignant.

I normally pause, mainly because I’m torn as what to say next.

If I say:

“Do you mean are any of them biologically mine?”, then I sound like a self righteous arse.


"Actually I consider them all to be mine, a gift", then I sound like a pompous arse.

Quite a dilemma.

But I recently discovered the solution as I paused like a rabbit in the headlights of these two responses.

I smiled, with a slightly confused look on my face. (I should never play poker)

As I smiled they realised what I was thinking, they realise what they had said, they realised my dilemma.
Then they laughed, nervously, then I laughed and then we both laughed together.

It was all ok.

I find it odd that people feel able to ask questions of adopters that they would never ask other people. My particular favourite asked of Mrs C is "do they all have the same father". I can only imagine the response if that was asked of any mother with more than one child.

As I say, words are like toothpaste.


  1. I honestly haven't encountered any of the many odd questions yet - when I do, I've no idea how I'll respond! Your response here seems like an excellent start :-)

  2. “Wow, six children? And you’ve adopted?....................are any of them your own?”
    You know full well that people will arrive at a false assumption if you don't clarify that in fact you are raising someone else's children as well as your own. What message are you sending about yourself and about them if you are too uncomfortable to say something like "the three oldest are mine and we adopted the two youngest" That is candor, that is honesty and it says you don't expect others to pretend they are yours and don't expect the people you adopted to pretend to be yours. Like it or not there is a physical reality that people only have one mother and one father and they may be good or they may be bad they may be absent or present it's the luck of the draw. The people you adopted would not exist if their parents had not created them and they are their very own people with their very own mothers and father's grandparents, siblings cousins aunts and uncles who are not related to you and when you say that they are your kids, you are obliterating their family and making it seem like you'd prefere it if you had just made them yourself with your partner. When you say they are your kids your putting their family and their individuality on the back burner and putting forward that by raising them you think you have actually turned them into your children to the same extent as the children you created who are your decendents. It's beautiful to love someone else's kid as much as if they were your own and it's beautiful to tell them that and to tell the world at large that very thing - that you think they are fantastic and you love them as much as if they were your own children but you can't take the credit for creating such wonderful people as them that credit goes to their superterrific mother and father. You adopted them and you are happy to count them among the children you will raise to adulthood and you hope that they will love you as much as you love them. All that is very open honest and positive but saying they are your children is lying. Thinking that its rude of people to ask for clarification is actually rude of you. They are just trying to get to the truth and your acting like the truth of the matter should be some private secret.