Parent-to-Parent: Explaining Attention and Questions from Strangers

When you and your child don't look alike, the world wants to know why. Parents who adopted transracially share how they explain strangers' questions and comments to their children.

Parents who adopted transracially share how they explain questions and comments from strangers about adoption to their children.

On our Facebook page (, we asked readers, If your child is a different race from you, how do you explain to him or her why people may give you second glances or inquire about your relationship? Here’s what you said:

“I tell my six-year-old that sometimes people get confused because they are used to families that look the same, but we know that lots of families include people who look different from each other, but they are still families. Then we talk about all our friends and families that don’t match, like us. We have adoptive families, step families, and biracial families in our social network, so it is an easy comparison. Now my daughter will say, “This is my mom. Not all families match, silly!” —LISA

“Duh…we tell them people are staring and smiling because they are a different race than we are.” —ROCKY

“I am an African-American woman and my son is white. I sometimes feel the need for a shirt that reads: ‘I am NOT the nanny.'” —NAOMI

We talk a lot about families that match and those that do not, and I point out biological families that don’t match, too.” —LISA

It helps to live in an area where your family doesn’t stand out. We live in a very diverse suburb. Multi-ethnic families are not unusual here.” —JENNIFER

Now that my daughter is 17 and looks like an adult, I get asked ‘how do you two know each other?’ regularly. It always shocks my daughter and me that people don’t just know…and then we remember.” —MARGOT




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