People tempted to blurt out a comment about an adopted child may want to consider this unusual tip: Think about breast augmentation first.
That’s the advice from Jesse Butterworth, the lead pastor at Rain City Church in Bellevue, Wash., who was so struck by some of the insensitive questions people posed about his adopted daughter Harper that he created a funny tutorial that’s now going viral.
The video, billed as “a public service announcement from adoptive families everywhere,” features Butterworth listing some of the actual things people have said to him and his wife or their friends with adopted kids, and the unique rule he has come up with for keeping things polite.
“If you wouldn’t say it about a boob job, then don’t say it about an adoptive family,” Butterworth instructs the audience.
For example, you wouldn’t ask a woman “Are those real?” so you shouldn’t ask adoptive parents “Is that your real daughter?” Butterworth says. Instead, he suggests, it’s better to ask: Is that your biological daughter?
You wouldn’t stare at a woman’s chest and ask “Where did you get those?” so you shouldn’t ask adoptive parents, “Where did you get her from?” Butterworth notes his daughter isn't an accessory he picked up at a boutique, so the question to ask is: Where is your daughter from?
Butterworth, 36, and his wife Marisa are the parents of two biological sons. They always wanted to adopt, so daughter Harper – who is almost 2 and was born in Ethiopia – joined the family more than a year ago.
Butterworth was inspired to create the tutorial after one of their first outings with Harper, to a restaurant where the waitress peppered the Butterworths with some of the inappropriate questions featured in the video.
“I really, really, really don’t think that people are trying to be mean” Butterworth told TODAY Moms.
“People are curious — that’s human nature and it’s natural to ask questions… so we were thinking, what’s a way that we could help people just put language around it?”
He doesn’t remember exactly how the idea of breast augmentation came into the picture, but it stuck and fit the family’s mission to create something that was funny and got a positive message across. Talking about “boob jobs” is pretty tame for Butterworth, he said, noting that even though he’s a pastor, he appreciates real talk. His wife Marisa is the woman he’s humorously ogling in the video.
After posting the video on Vimeo and YouTube, the response has been “totally mind-blowing,” Butterworth said. The clip has struck a chord with adoptive families, though a few commenters have asked why adoptive parents are so sensitive.
“The truth is, we’re not being sensitive for us. It doesn’t hurt my feelings — I’m trying to be incredibly protective of my daughter who doesn’t understand [the comments] yet. But at one point, she will and the last thing I want her to feel is that she is a lesser member of my family,” Butterworth said.