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Brian (dad to 3)

The problem with stereotypes isn't that they are untrue; that's how they became a stereotype. The problem with stereotypes is that they give everyone in that group the same characteristics which isn't the case.

So, I think the key is to point out that this is a stereotype and that not all first mothers are like that. In my opinion, you don't need to go into detail about your kid's first mothers. Just say it with authority and people will know you're speaking from experience.


Yeah, this is a hard one. I guess just a statement that generalization is bad and not all first moms "fit the mold" would be the best.

That said, stereotypes are *very* resistant to change. So sharing experiences of your first mom would probably allow otehrs to subtype them into a special set of first moms who don't match their preconceived notions.


I agree with Brian. A general statement would seem to be best.

How does one really make people understand that preconceived notions about our kids are just that - notions. Unless of course we want to go into detail about our kids' first families.

You certainly hit on all the stereotypes, and what I've found is most people of an older generation that are unfamiliar with adoption as it is today believe those things.

just another mom

So, if you don't mind my asking, how do you respond to people in public who ask personal questions, about your children, in front of your children? We are in the process of adopting from Haiti and this is our first international adoption ... so I'm sure that as soon as we get our kiddo home, we will start to get comments in public ... I'm looking for how to handle these annoying questions and/or comments.


Like Leigh said, normally the stereotypical questions to me come from the older generation. I don't get asked about drugs, but I have gotten asked "Was she really young?" a few times. I don't have too much difficulty responding to that one -- I just say "no." :) But when people ask more in depth questions, I too wonder how to respond - actually I don't get too many questions, its the comments that bother me. I hate when people say things about how its great that their birthmother chose to give them up (in so many words though)-- the way many of them say it makes it sound horrible to my little girls, as if it was something easy and that their birthmothers didn't want them. I know that for the rest of my life, I will probably be getting out to the car and having to reassure my girls or explaining things to them because I will worry that comments will affect them (of course now they are only 3 and 1, so as long as the strangers answer Isabella's question of "What's your name?" and "Do you have stickers?", she's OK :) I normally just try to say something like "Both of their birthmothers are wonderful, precious women who love them very much." Then I try to leave or change the subject before I get totally irritated. :) I don't quite understand how perfect strangers feel like they have a right to nose into your lives though. I love to share that my girls are adopted because I want them to know about it and I want them to know how blessed we feel to have them both. I know it becomes their story, but I'm sure we will always get asked "Are they adopted?" And I'm always going to be excited when I respond Yes, but then why someone feels like they can dig deeper is beyond me. I agree with Brian, I guess we can all give a general statement and try to somehow help people get rid of stereotypes. I think even if we share things about our kids' birthparents, that people would go away with their stereotypes in their mind and saying "Wow, they were lucky." So a general statement might be better in the long run for both parties.


This is tricky because we are in a position to teach (but have to decide if we want to take the time/energy to do so EVERY time we are asked a question)...

I got really good advice from a mother of 10 (7 adopted) kids. She said the only thing that really mattered was what our children heard us saying in answer to these questions. They needed to hear SOME response of else we teach them that the question isn't to be talked about. They need to hear us be respectful and kind to the person we are speaking to so they will model that behaviour in the future when they are asked the questions. Mostly they need to hear us reinforce in public what we tell them in private...that they were loved and that they were wanted and that their moms are special and important and that we love and respect them (and frankly, some of the moms do fit into that stereotype, but we love and respect those moms too).

That really resonated with me and it helped to put the questions in perpective...

I hadn't checked in a while and you had a ton of great posts!! Welcome back.

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