Q: I adopted a child of a different race, and strangers say things like "Is he yours?" How do I respond?

A: "A sharp 'He is mine!' shuts them up fast. I have mixed-race children by adoption who didn't look much like me when they were infants. (They looked very white, and I look distinctly African-American.) People mistook me for their nanny. But sometimes this sort of question is an awkward attempt to ask about adoption, which people don't know much about unless they've done it. Use it as an opportunity to educate them." — Anita L. Allen, professor of law an philsophy, the University of Pennsylvania Law School

"Let the simplicity of your response be a lesson: 'Yep, he's my son' will teach those small-minded strangers and your child that "family" is anyone you are lucky enough to love. When I speak of my brother's husband, I call him simply "my brother-in-law," without any redundant explanation. And then it's fun to watch the smoke coming out of folks' ears as their conservative brains work it out." — Faith Salie, host, public radio's Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie podcast.


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