There are many different ways to grow and expand your family, one of them is adoption. Adoption establishes a lifelong relationship between adoptive parents and the adoptee. It allows people who for one reason or another are not able to have children the standard biological way. Others choose adoption even though they may be able to have children the natural way. Curious well-intentioned people can end up asking questions or making unsolicited comments that come off as intrusive or even downright offensive. Here are some things not to say to adoptive parents.
Couldn’t you have real kids?
Avoid all references to realness whether in relation to them being the ‘real’ parents or the children being their ‘real’ children. Along with this, don’t ask adoptive parents when they plan to have their own ‘real’ kids. First, their adopted children are their real children. Second, you have no idea what led them down this path so avoid such questions. For some people, it could be a deeply personal, emotional, or painful reason, and asking such questions can be hurtful.
How much did she/he cost?
Adoption costs a lot and involves paying certain fees involving a wide range of things from all the paperwork involved to background checks and more. This, however, does not mean the adoptive parents ‘paid for’ or ‘bought’ the child. If you’re curious about all these costs, go online or if you’re considering adoption have that serious discussion about the entire process along with an adoptive parent but don’t ask how much the baby cost.
Why was he/she put up for adoption?
There are a million reasons why parents may make the difficult decision to allow their children to be adopted from poverty to personal tragedy and more. The adoptive parents may or may not know why, regardless, that’s intrusive, personal, and unequivocally, none of your business. Accompanied by this question is the question, ‘what if they want him back?’ This rarely happens and is traumatic on the rare occasion that it does. There’s no justification for raising it.
Resist the impulse to share horror stories you have heard about adoption and adopted children. If adoptive parents are just beginning the process or have even completed it, that is not the time to bring up that story about the adopted kid who abused his siblings, never hugged his parents, and set the cat on fire.
Your kids are so lucky to have you!
Lucky children are the ones who get to live with their biological parents in a home where they are prepared for and cared for. Being adopted causes unique traumas. The children are separated from their birth-parents, and their homes and are forced to navigate the complexities of post-placement relationships on their own. They have to come to terms with their new identity as adoptees on their own.
Most adoptive parents insist that it is they who are lucky. Adoption allows them to grow their family and achieve what may be a lifelong dream. While people mean well when they say this, a better thing to say would be, ‘you are lucky to have each other’.
There are many different ways of becoming a parent and adoption is as valid as any other old-fashioned way. Show adoptive parents some grace and respect when talking to them about their experience in growing their family through adoption. If you’re curious about adoption, educate yourself first about the process in your country then ask questions after to avoid asking them commonly asked questions that they are by now likely tired of hearing.
Here is what you need to know if you want to adopt
Relationships: Common Challenges Faced By Adopted Children
Families: Demystifying The Process Of Adoption In Kenya
Parenting: Ways to help your children build strong sibling relationships
7 Habits of highly effective families
Mum Shaming: 7 Things You Shouldn’t Say To A Mother