Adoption Awareness Month – What Not to Say

family adoption

I don’t have any personal experience with adoption. Although we entertained the thought of adopting a child a couple of years ago, the process of the particular adoption we were seeking was impossible because of international laws.

But, I have enough friends who have adopted children and when I listen to their stories, I’m sometimes really shocked. People truly say the dumbest things. So, if you’re looking for what not to say, start with this:

1) Any of the following:
“What’s wrong with his REAL mother” *Note, birth parent and real parent are not same thing.
“Why didn’t her birth mother want her?”
 “Was he addicted to drugs when he was born?”
 “How much did you pay for him?” 
Make a special note NOT to ask these questions in front of the child.

2) Never refer to someone’s son or daughter as their “adopted child”. It is simply their “child”. There is no need to describe how a family becomes a family.

3) Avoid calling them “Brangelina”. When a family does an international adoption, try to avoid making comments about how trendy it is and how much they remind you of Brad and Angelina. (Well, Brad and Angelina from a few years ago at least…)

4) Just because someone adopts a child, does not give anyone the right to start asking questions about the parents’ fertility. Simply celebrate the new addition – no questions asked.

I have an older cousin who lives in Ireland. She and her husband have been married for 30 years. They never had any children. Or so we thought.

A few years ago, the daughter they put up for adoption when they were teenagers, found my cousin and her husband. Of course, in this case, her bio parents were still together after all these years. It was a happy meeting and a nice relationship was formed. The girl asked her bio parents why they never went on to have other children together when they got older and got married to each other. The response was both sweet and heart-breaking.

My cousin said: “Because I never wanted the day to come, that if you found us, you asked me why I gave you up and kept the others”.

They chose to live childless so they would never have to field that question should it come up. They never had any regrets.

Adoption is a beautiful way for a family to come together. Has your family had a child come home via adoption? What has your experience been?


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