My daughters are Asian and my husband and I are Caucasian. On a number of occasions, people have asked inappropriate questions or made comments that caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end. I’m sure most multi-racial families can relate to this experience.
How to respond?
I’ve realized over the years that, even when the comments or questions seem inappropriate or insensitive, most people don’t intend them that way. Most are simply trying to engage you and to make a connection, often to share information. Maybe they want to share that they have adult adopted children, that a friend or relative just adopted from a particular country, or that they are waiting to adopt. Sometimes they ask out of a genuine desire to understand another culture. Often what starts out as an uncomfortable encounter becomes a rich interaction.
A good response to a question or comment that feels intrusive is, “Why do you ask?” or “Why do you say that?” …said with a smile.
Many of the truly awkward inquiries we’ve had are based on inaccurate information. We use them as an opportunity to share insights, trying always to have a positive interaction, as ambassadors of adoption and of multi-racial families.
If you’ve ever run into this situation, how have you handled it? Do you agree with this advice? What are your thoughts?