It's funny...I always expected, pre-adoption, that we would get more questions than we do, especially since we were going to be an interracial family. But honestly, most people simply remark that the kids are cute/smart/funny/doing-something-they-definitely-shouldn't-be-doing-because-I-looked-away-for-almost-half-a-second.
We do occasionally get asked weird questions, though, and I handle it differently every time. Most questions are usually simple and easy to answer, and any question I don't want to answer I stick with my standby of "That's personal." However, there are definitely two questions that I really wish people would quit asking. The first is: "Will you tell him
he's adopted?" Ummm...first, that's not your concern...second he
already knows...and third, if he didn't know, he's sitting right in
front of you and he's not deaf. Thanks for making him feel weird
about how he joined our family, though. The other is the classic
"Is he yours? I mean, really yours?". Yes. Yes, he's mine. Didn't you just hear him call me "mom"?
We have also had our share of hurtful/difficult questions, though these have primarily come from
acquaintances who thought they knew everything about our situation, and
didn't. The questions "Why aren't you doing IVF?" and "Don't you want a real
baby?" that I used to get from people we knew at our former church used to send me into a tailspin of anger. As far as the former
'friend' who suggested that her kid was better than mine because her kid
was born to her...that was more than 3 years ago, and I still haven't
figured out what to say.
In the course of the last couple of years, we also have had some now-funny awkward situations. Like the time I got chased through the grocery store by a woman peppering me with insistent (personal) questions. Even though I politely responded that we don't share personal information with strangers, she got louder and louder...and by aisle 15, I was desperate to get out of the store. The worst part was that she was an employee! Another time, in the same store a lady assumed that Eli was Chinese and began pestering me about his ethnicity. I eventually found out that she was opening a language school and she actually said that 'he should learn Mandarin anyway because he looks Chinese.' Wow. Just wow. After a moment of stunned silence, in which my jaw actually dropped open, I just stared at her and walked away. I changed grocery stores for a while after that, and much to Eli's delight the new store gives him a free cookie every time we visit : ).
We have also had situations that were definitely not funny...ever. There was one particular instance, while in a popular pizza restaurant, that we had to deal with a man who deliberately sat near us, with his 3 companions, and proceeded to make loud, rude (racist & anti-adoption) comments while we were eating. Thankfully, Eli didn't understand a word, and when I quietly confronted them and told the man and his friends to stop, they did. The manager also heard, and jokingly asked me if I wanted him to 'spill some tea on that guy' before he told me that our meal was now on the house. As awful as the situation could have been, it was awesome to have a great manager to defuse the situation and support us with a kind gesture.
I'm quite sure the questions and situations will never end, but it really is easier in our very diverse city, and it doesn't hurt that there is a large community of foster families in our area and in our current church. In the meantime, I hope to handle people's curiosity as gracefully as possible, without sacrificing my child's dignity or right to privacy.