Thursday, August 19, 2010

A One-Liner

Adoptive parents take various approaches to responding to nosy questions and aggressive or judgemental comments.

A reader wrote in to Ann Kearney-Cooke, a member of SHAPE's advisory board, in the August 2010 issue of Shape (34). The reader said:

"My mom keeps making remarks about the extra pounds I'm still carrying after having a baby last year. How do I get her to leave me alone?"

Kearney-Cooke's response was a few paragraphs long, but one part in particular stuck out to me. She suggested the reader respond to her mother's comments by saying, "And you're saying this because...?"

The reason this response works well, according the advisor, is that "you shift the burden of explanation back" to the person asking the question/making the comment.


Maybe I'll try this in the future when facing another nosy, judgemental, or condescending comment or question regarding adoption.


  1. That's a wise response to intrusive questions. I have certainly gotten my share of those but I tend for the most part to fumble around for an explanation as if I owe one rather than thinking assertively.:) Thanks for this post!

  2. Oooo...good post! Somehow I haven't learned that skill yet. I'm always tongue-tied when I get the nosy questions about my adoption/identity appearance. Will have to practice this one...

    I'd like to re-post this on my blog, if I may...

  3. Great post! I get a few comments (our son is adopted and bi-racial, we are white, and have a bio daughter) and I get a lot of "Are both these kids yours?" My response always is, "Why do you ask?" Most of the time they realize that it's none of their business, and move on. If they ask because they may have adopted children then they will say that, and we end up discussing adoption. I learned early to always do what you said in the post--shifting the conversation back to them. It kind of makes most realize..."hey, maybe I shouldn't have asked.." It usually works for me.


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