Adoption is a sensitive issue, and people who have not experienced it, cannot begin to imagine what it’s really like. I want to emphasize that this post is not to make me appear defensive, and I do not intend to offend anyone, but rather to keep it a somewhat light-hearted, comic style satire. As an adoptive parent, I feel that it’s my responsibility to my children to educate others on positive and negative language surrounding adoption. While I believe that people generally are not trying to be insensitive, the words that come out of their mouths sometimes just make me want to smack them.
*Editor’s note: I am not shaming anyone with this post. I do realize that sometimes people really truly are being kind and honestly are curious and have no ill intention. However, some really need to think before they speak. In the same respect, please think before sending me a nasty email or leaving an ugly comment. This post is meant to encourage healthy discussion, not to shame anyone for their thoughts and opinions. Also, I want to make it clear that I actually have heard each of these questions, often by people who barely know me. Thank you!
I have had strangers, and even friends, ask the following questions or make the following comments:
1. He looks just like you, it was meant to be! or even better She looks just like he could be yours!
Actually, he is mine, and so is she. We may have fair skin, or similar noses, but I am completely aware of the fact that they do not share my DNA, and really don’t need to be reminded of it. Just tell me they’re beautiful – I will happily agree even if I can’t take credit for that.
2. How much did he/she cost?
Got him on sale, and I had a coupon!!
Babies do not cost money. Adoptions cost money. And it is rude to ask what an adoption costs even if you phrase it correctly. If you are truly interested, ask for some websites to do some research on your own.
3. Do you know anything about their real mother?
I am their real mother. I am going to raise them, sit with them when they are sick, bandage their owies, and pay for college. Their birth mother gave birth to them, and for that I will always be grateful, but they are mine and I am their real mother.
4. Are you going to have any children of your own?
See above. They are my own children and I will love them more than you can know.
5. You know you’ll get pregnant within a year now.
Sorry, it’s physically impossible, and unless God decides Jesus needs a sister, I will not become pregnant now that I have adopted. Yes, we all know our cousin’s secretary’s sister who got pregnant three months after adopting. But this doesn’t happen in a statistically significant manner. And you have no idea what kind of fertility struggles someone may have gone through before adopting, so it’s better not to mention this to families adopting their first child.
6. Was her mom on drugs? Are you worried she might have problems later on?
Darn! I forgot to send in the warranty papers for the money back guarantee! First of all, the circumstances regarding my children’s births are none of your business, thankyouverymuch. He is my son, she is my daughter, and if any medical issues arise, I will deal with them the same as you would your children.
7. Why did they take him away? or Why did she give him away/give him up?
Again, none of your beeswax! “They” did not “take him away,” and she did not “give him away” or “give him up.” Parental rights of the birthparents are terminated for specific reasons, because it is in the best interest of the child for their safety and well being. (In the case of open adoptions, the positive language would be to say that the birthmother “chose adoption.”)
8. Are you going to tell him he’s adopted?
The noneofyourbusinessgetoutofmyface response is becoming wildly popular. Adoption is rarely a secret in families in this day and age. It is part of their life story and it’s something we are open about. As is developmentally appropriate, my children will always know that they are incredibly loved and came to our family in a special way.
9. Is she yours? (I haven’t personally heard this one, but other’s have, so it’s worth sharing, and it’s the one I have the best answer to)
Nope, she’s on loan from the daycare down the street. Just taking her for a test drive to see if I want to keep her. (Here’s your sign…)
And my personal favorite…
10. He’s so lucky.
Correction, I am the lucky one. They have changed my life in ways you can only imagine.
You want to see how lucky I am?