How to handle insensitive comments about adoption

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How to handle insensitive comments about adoption

When you adopted a child who looks very different from you, you may often be approached on the street and there may be some comments made or some questions that I have often felt was kind of personal or prying and I wish I had a snappy come back that was both compassionate and yet made people stop and think about the assumptions that they were making. I don't have a snappy come back. It used to bother me a lot but so now, I've learned to simply say with very little negative emotion, "I'm his mom" because I get either I'm his grandmother or I'm his nanny and the reason I feel that it is important to be compassionate is that I really want to model for my son that people are really doing the best they can. So, I want him to understand that him being adopted is completely wonderful, natural, normal. If I'm getting upset about it, then he's going to see both that I am not really responding favorably to people. I'm not treating people well. Maybe he's also going to think maybe I have some stuff about adoption so I try to be as pleasant but as just stating the fact I'm his mom.

See Kathy Gordon's video on How to handle insensitive comments about adoption...


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Kathy Gordon

Parent Educator

Kathy Gordon is the single adoptive mother of a very spirited nine year-old boy, but was not prepared for the challenges of parenting a child whose brain was developed under stress. When her son was three, Kathy had the good fortune of taking parenting classes with Ruth Beaglehole, founding Director of the Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting, (, and she realized this powerful compassionate method of working with children was something she wanted to teach. She has been a teacher, director and coach most of her adult life. Kathy was certified as a Parent Educator through the Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting in May of 2008, and will now continue her training by becoming a Certified Hand-in-Hand Parenting Parent Educator. Kathy works with families individually, teaches parenting classes and facilitates trainings for educators and schools communities. Her practice is called Unconditional Connection because we all long for connection, and we long to be unconditionally loved. We live in a society in which we are continually judged by our behavior. Kathy offers research-based information and tools to help people look underneath and beyond the behavior, so that we may be more unconditionally connected thus creating a world of cooperation and peace. 

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