Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


So, if you’re thinking of adopting kids that don’t look like you and are from out of the country… and if your experience is anything like ours, then here’s my assessment of the most common responses you might get, in no particular order.

NEW TOY AMAZEMENT: “oh they are sooo cute.” This is usually said in a voice that seems to imply that they are not real people and more like giant toy dolls. We try and move on fast.

SPEAKING BEFORE THINKING: “Do you do daycare?” “They don’t seem to know how to use the computer…?” You’ll try as best you can to answer the question politely and with a smile, but you really want to say, “Did you really just ask me that?”.

NOT MY PROBLEM: “well, you’re the one who decided to adopt.” This is said or implied by some when problems arise. It’s the adoption version of “I told you so”, especially from those who thought it was a bad idea in the first place.

JOY: “I love your family” Genuinely some friends and even perfect strangers are encouraged by what they see and know you did to make this happen.

CURIOSITY: “Do they speak English?” “Did you work with an adoption agency?” “How long did the process take?” “How much money did it cost?” Some have a genuine question and really want to know details.

CONCERN: “How are things going? Is everyone adjusting well?” How are you doing, really?- is essentially what they are asking.

EYEBALLS: Some won’t say a thing, but the scene that is my family has caused a scene and the eyeballs are taking note, trying to figure out which response is theirs. We are a people watching spectacle.

UNSOLICITED ADVICE: “We adopted too and blah blah blah” Those who have been there and done that will tell you what they’ve been there and done. Who, how, and when this is done determines how welcome this advice really is.

SHOCK: “You did what?” Yeah we know… it still shocks us too.

There ya have it, the roller coaster of emotions and experiences that have come along with the adoption process. Parenting- all parenting- is like that…a roller coaster of experience, response, emotion, success, and failure…. and the older I get, the more I realize, I’m part of the problem and part of the process that solves them.

So if ya wanna join us, dive in, the water is deep, but the swim is good for the soul.


  1. Hey Brian, we get some pretty funny responses as well. Here is a sampling:
    “You give me my child”
    “Why are they black?”
    “Why are you white?”
    “Who’s kids are those?”
    “Do you have black blood to make black children?”
    “Where did they come from?”
    There is also the grateful responses such as:
    “Thank you for what you are doing!”
    “God bless you for taking care of them”

    We have heard all of these walking down the streets here in Uganda and some of them make us laugh, some make us mad and some are encouraging. I am looking forward to the comments we get when we return to the US. Your list helps us to prepare!

    – Chad Gamble

  2. Yeah for Chad giving us perspective!! I’m can only imagine the responses would be different for a mzungu family living in a primarily black country. Thanks for adding. Good to know that all adoptive families have some similar experiences.–shannon

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just an fyi…There’s a glowing book review on today of Russell Moore’s “Adopted for Life”. A couple thought provoking comments were: “In chapter two he explains what some rude questions about adoption taught him about the gospel of Christ.” and “What if we as Christians were known, once again, as the people who take in orphans and make of them beloved sons and daughters?” I’d be curious to hear your thoughts if you guys read this book.

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