When Tom and I were going through the adoption process with our oldest kiddo (the other three came the old fashioned way), we received many unintentionally hurtful comments. Now our daughter is a young adult and we rarely hear insensitive remarks about her adoption. But…these 5 comments are still being verbalized to most newly adoptive families.
If you have a friend or family member who is adopting a child, avoid saying these 5 things:
1. You know …as soon as you adopt you will get pregnant.
The goal of adoption is to get a child, not to get pregnant with another. This comment discounts the anticipated arrival of the adoptee.
2. What do you know about her real mom?
Real mom? Don’t reduce the adoptive parent’s role to less than real. And regarding the sought after information– that belongs to the child. This falls into the NOYB category. (None of your business)
3. You got your child the easy way. No labor.
There is nothing easy about adoption. It has a labor all its own; a sea of paperwork, meetings, waiting, approvals, etc. The beautiful thing is mom and dad do the adoption labor together.
4. I hope your child knows how lucky she is to be in your family.
Most adoptive parents feel as if they are the ones who are blessed to have the child. What child feels beholden to his parents for his birth or his adoption?
5. How much did your child cost? Was adoption cheaper than in vitro-fertilization?
One bonus thought: My personal pet peeve is the never funny but often told adoption joke. You know the one, “You are so_______(fill in the blank) you must be adopted.” This isn’t funny. It’s mean spirited and gives the message, if a person is adopted he or she really doesn’t “officially” belong.
The path that leads to adoption typically contains some heart ache for the child, the birth parent, and/or the adoptive parent. What an adoptive parent would love from friends and family is support, understanding, and encouragement for themselves and their child.
What would you add to the list?
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ,
in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace,
which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.
Great post, Lori! Really helpful!
I am an adoptive parent. To be specific, I am the grandmother of my step-daughter’s birth child. We have had our little guy from day one. Despite some physical issues, we brought him home on the 4th day of his life. Finally, after the all the courtroom stress and other emotional stress, we were declared to be his mom and dad. He is now 4 1/2 and doing so very well.
Our ray of sunshine. Not without it’s difficulties of course!
But I have to say that one comment that hurt my heart was this one: “It’s just not the same when you yourself did not give birth to him.” How would she know that? She has adopted no children. She has three sons to whom she gave birth. But how would she know one way or the other if she would feel differently toward a child she might have adopted?
Whoa… that sounds like a painful comment. So sorry. People say the craziest stuff.
We adopted our daughter when she was four months old in Panama from the Kuna Indian tribe. Numerous people asked us what language she would speak. Really?
Another one that always surprised me was this, people would ask if she knew she was adopted – right in front of her.
We loved telling her, and later our adopted son, the wonderful story of how God brought them to our family; however, many families don’t want to share that with the child. I wish people would be more aware of little ears.
As for the “real mom” comments people would make, we would always respond we are her real parents, and her other mom is her “birth mom.” Sometimes, it just takes a bit of patience and teaching.
Our kiddos are 31 and 27 now and we couldn’t be more blessed! Praise the Lord for the families willing to place their children in adoptive homes.
Oh! I forgot the language one! Crazy! I also had people say things like, “It looks like all your kids have different dads” and other comments along those lines.
Yes Praise God for adoption and for perfectly putting families together.