Ask AF: Answering Questions in Front of Kids

When someone asks a rude adoption-related question in front of your child, do you have to answer?

Q: A complete stranger approached my five-year-old and me and said, “She looks like her father, right?” Can you suggest a response that preserves our privacy, but doesn’t imply to my child (who will, of course, understand what we’re saying) that I’m sad because we don’t look alike, or that her dad is not her “real” dad?


A: I’m not sure that such a nosy questioner deserves any response. It isn’t anyone’s business whom your children resemble, and many children don’t look like their (biological) parents. But you could say, “Actually, my child looks like herself, and I’m delighted, because shes much better looking than most of our relatives!”

You might want to discuss the interaction with your child after the fact. It is important to acknowledge to our kids that many people don’t understand adoption or families that look different. You can say that sometimes you feel like answering questions about your family, and sometimes you don’t. Tell her that she, too, can decide how she wants to handle such situations.


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