Our adoptive family’s answer to the “real child” question

Jon Robot v3.5 -- Arched Brow Variant

I’m feeling a bit better, so here’s a light-hearted post.

We don’t get asked too many rude adoption questions — we live in a rural, but open-minded university town — but a woman asked me if Jon was my “real child”.  We were in line at the bank, so it was hard to back away all that easily. 

Luckily, my son is quick on the uptake, so we had our patter down…

WOMAN: “What a cute boy… Is he your real child?”

ME: “No ma’am, he isn’t.  Jon is a robot.”

JON: “No, no, daddy, I’m not a robot… I’m an ANGRY robot!  [to lady] ARRRRRRRRR!”

WOMAN: “Oh….”


3 Responses

  1. It is amazing what rude things people can say…however sometimes, like in the case you describe it is simply ignorance of adoption vocabulary. Using the word, ‘real’, instead of biological. But still is ‘foot in mouth disease’. We had a real good one right after we brought home our 5 yr. old son from Russia. He was speaking to me in Russian at the grocery store when a lady asked me if that was my little boy. When I told her yes, she appeared puzzled since I wasn’t speaking Russian…so I told her we had just adopted him from Russia. She then gasped and said, ‘Oh, my! Aren’t you afraid he’ll become an alcoholic?’ This did catch me off guard but I did tell her I was more concerned about that issue with my son in college than this little guy. Can you believe it?
    Thanks for sharing stories on adoption.
    Debbie Mumm

  2. Recently I read an article that stated if you lined up all the orphaned children in the world (I don’t know if that included the 500,000 in the U.S. foster system who may be only temporarily “orphaned”) shoulder to shoulder, they would circumnavigate the globe three times. So when people ask “nosy” questions, I see that as an opportunity to educate them about adoption, rather than an attack on my child.

    “We adopted them from the foster system five years ago, and it was the happiest day of our lives.”

    I realize this approach doesn’t work for everyone, but when you have an opportunity to put out a positive message like that out into the world, you never know what good things might come of it!

    Heidi Saxton

  3. Hi Debbie and Heidi,
    Thanks for your comments. I’m usually pretty straightforward (“We brought him home from Guatemala in 2005”), but the humor potential in this case was irresistible. I’m a good straight man, but Jon’s the talent.

    Best, Paul

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