Monday, July 18, 2011

What Not To Say: Part III

For those of you who missed What Not To Say; Part I & Part II, catch up first (and comment and add to them, if you want!), and then come back here for Part III :-)

Parts I & II were geared more toward infertility but I'm dedicating Part III to the topic of adoption. I guess a good subtitle would be...

How To Piss Off An Adoptive Parent


I know, I know... it sounds harsh. The truth is, someone cannot be blamed for ignorance. I do believe that, as hopeful, soon-to-be, or current parents (or grand-parents or friends or family, etc.) through adoption, we have an obligation to educate people to the best of our ability before we can blame them or get angry at them for saying inappropriate things... and that applies to any situation. Most of the time people have very pure intentions, they just don't know the appropriate words to use or how to ask... that's where we come in!

Adoption is a topic and process that many just don't understand and if you're one of those people.... guess what?! I (and lots of my readers) LOVE educating and teaching and talking about adoption! Lucky you ;-)
 (I even did an intro to types of adoption here.... go check it out!).

We have been on the receiving end of most of these comments. Yes, they were said (in most cases) by people who just didn't have much adoption-knowledge or experience to pull from and yes, we took every opportunity to educate and nicely correct the improper terms or inappropriate questions.... but they still stung :-/

Here we go!

What Not To Say To An Adoptive Parent

1. "How much did you pay for her?"

2. "Don't you ever want your own children?"

3. "She is so lucky to have you."

4. "You already have one beautiful child, isn't it a little selfish to want more kids when it's so hard to get them?"

5. "How often do you talk to her mom and dad?"

6. Do you think you can love him/her as much as a real parents loves their child?
~ Thanks, Misty!

8. "Where is he/she from?"
~ Thanks, Amelia!

9. "He/she's so cute.... why didn't his/her mom want her baby?"
~ Thanks, Amelia!

10. "He/She doesn't look anything like you!"
~ Thanks, Brooke

11. "I think it's completely selfish that you didn't nurse your daughter when she was an infant."
~ Thanks, Erin!

10.... Your turn! I know there are lots more so leave a comment and I'll add to the list!

Are you a hopeful, soon-to-be, or current parent through adoption? What have people said to you in the process that has stung just a bit, whether it was intentional or not (if it's not listed, I'll add it!)? How did you respond to them? Have you been on the receiving end of any of the comments listed? How did or would you respond?

I LOVE posts like this so like always, take this opportunity to share and help others' understand what's appropriate and what hurts. I'll post a follow-up soon with some appropriate responses as our list grows!


  1. 6. Do you think you can love her/him as much as a "real" parent loves their children?

  2. "Where is he from?" ( they think we got him from the store?)

    "Do you know much about his family?" (I should have said "why of course, here's his dad, and point at my hubby, I'm his mom, and he has 2 sisters playing in the living room")

    "He is so cute, I can't understand why there's a mom who doesn't want her baby. So, why didn't his mom want him?" (Seriously? I should have said "I'M HIS MOM!! and I WANT HIM. His birth mother WANTS HIM SO BAD")

  3. Is he/she really yours? They don't look like you.

  4. Great post! I love the "What Not To Say Posts"! It shocks me what some people will say, but I gotta believe that they're not trying to be rude or insensitive - they really aren't educated.

  5. How old was her mom? When I say 31, they act like there was no legitimate reason for her to choose adoption.

  6. Is it appropriate to talk about the feelings of loss related to not having a child biologically? As a person considering adoption, that matters to me, but I don't want to be insensitive!

  7. Sam~ It sounds like you might have a new topic for our next What Not To Say post! Feel free to leave your comment here or email me at!

  8. I think what I'm wondering about is the loss implicit in coming to adoption after struggling with infertility. Is it different, or is there any grief involved, if you don't have a genetic connection to your child? It feels important to address, but it also feels invasive to ask someone about. Do you have any tips for how to talk about it in a way that's kind, sensitive, and won't make me end up on one of these lists? =)

  9. NO worries about being added to a list :-) These posts are designed for people to be able to 1)vent and 2) ask... and I know for a fact that others' have the same worried/wonders as you do going in to adoption. I'm thinking I'll put this question 'out there' for other adoptive mom's to answer in hopes that we'll get a variety of perspectives, and not just mine :-) I'm really glad you asked this... I know it's on the hearts of lots of soon-to-be moms!

  10. Your latest post actually helped a lot. I want to be able to ask those things cause it's important for me to feel sure that my baby will be loved as much by his parents as they would love a baby they gave birth to themselves. It's just hard to talk about but your suggestions sound well worded and sincere. Thanks!

  11. Hi Sam :)

    I'm glad you found some comfort in my latest post. As an adoptive Mom (and as one who's currently waiting on the next sweet baby that God has picked for us), I am refreshed by the thoughtfulness you show in your concern for your baby. I can also assure you that here, in our second 'wait' for our baby, I can't describe the love I already have for this little someone I haven't even met yet (but have and continue to pray for daily). The love we have for Hannah is already undescribeable! Our next baby(ies) is already so absolutely covered in love! I'm not sure I can speak for ALL adoptive parents, but I know I speak for the majority (and all of my readers) when I say that your child will be covered, too.... by YOU and by them.

    In your decision, your love for your child is obvious and that is a comfort and desire for adoptive parents, too; that they will ALWAYS be able to tell their child just how much his/her first mom loved and cherished them.

    Thanks for being so open and honest... I know so much about you by your questions and thoughtfulness :-)

    Always always feel free to ask questions (if I don't have answers, I know lots who do!)and even email me! I'll be praying for you!


  12. I think I was asked at least half of these today in a conversation! I actually wrote about it and used it as my OA roundtable post.

    It never ceases to amaze me what people say!

  13. My best friend had an acquaintance who also used our agency and somewhere along the way she heard that it was "the only place in Texas to get a white baby." When she mentioned that to me I just dismissed it as ignorance... But twice since then when I've been raving to people about our agency, she's proudly piped in with her bizarre little anecdote. Both times I've been mortified! I'm not sure how many other times she's said that when people have asked her about me... How can I bring it up without making a big deal about it?


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