What NOT to say to adoptive parents.

I cannot tell you the variety of responses we’ve gotten to our adoption announcement.  They range from screaming and crying and that jumping/hugging combination to a blank look accompanied by Why?

But here are a few things you should probably NOT say to someone announcing their impending adoption.

What not to say to adoptive parents

You know you’re going to get pregnant now.  I never have a good comeback to this, mostly because I literally do not know what this means.   And, it sort of demeans our whole process.  Like, that’s great you’re adopting, but don’t forget pregnancy is better.  I know most people don’t actually mean this, but I have no idea what to say to this.

When are you going to have your own kids? First off, dear friends and family, nevernevernevernever say the words own kids to an adoptive mother.  Why?  Because we already think of our adoptive children as our own children.  To me, my future kids will be loved no differently than the way you love your biological kids.  Most of the time when I hear this I politely rephrase the question and say, “Well, we are having our own kids, we just won’t birth them.”

What happens if you get pregnant?  I’m not sure what the asker wants to hear in response, but I hear that a tiny human comes out after nine months.  I think MTV made a whole show about this.  So yeah, I’m guessing that’s what would happen if I got pregnant.  Would I continue to adopt?  ABSOLUTELY.

You know, it’s going to be hard.  Are you sure you’re ready?  Is anyone ever ready to become a parent?  I’m guessing the answer is no, even if you think you are.  You wouldn’t ask a pregnant lady this, so don’t ask an adoptive mother this.  And I don’t think it’s going to be any harder than someone becoming a first time parent, a parent to multiples, a milspouse whose husband is deployed, or etc. etc. etc.  Parenting is hard.  So I’ve heard.

Are you still trying to get pregnant? This is an awkward question no matter the situation.  Think about this.  Think about what you’re really asking.  That question is way too personal to ask a stranger.  So, let’s keep this one inside a girlfriends only conversation.  And for those girlfriends, think about how you’re coming off.  Whatever you do, don’t make pregnancy sound better than adoption through your words, tone, or implications.  We probably wouldn’t be girlfriends for long if you did.  I certainly don’t mind answering, but I probably won’t if your my boss, my husband’s boss, or a stranger on the street.  (Then again, I would never answer this even if we weren’t adopting.)

How much does it cost?  We’re not buying our child, okay?  It’s not like s/he is a handbag or new car.  Besides, think about the hospital or medical costs with being pregnant and giving birth, then the cost of just having kids to support.  It’s all basically the same.

That’s just so wonderful.  More people should do that.  I know I would if I couldn’t have kids.  You’re right.  Adoption is so very wonderful.  More people should adopt since there are a bazillion children that need homes.  And I am so grateful and so lucky that God has chosen me to be a part of His story in this way.  But saying this to a pre-adoptive parent is, once again, demeaning their way of bringing home their children.  To me, this is not nearly as offensive as what other people have told me, but I still sort of go home thinking about what was meant by this statement.  Do you mean pregnancy is better?  Are you assuming I am infertile?  Should I be offended by this?

We’ve gotten so many responses to our announcement, and the good have definitely outnumbered the negatives.  I know that most of the time people simply just don’t know what to say.  Nor do they understand the adoption process.  So think of this as a handy-dandy guide to any future conversations you may have with us or other pre-adoptive parents.

photo by matt bramlett photography

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2 thoughts on “What NOT to say to adoptive parents.

  1. Yes, yes, yes, yes and some more yes. I feel you on every point here and I could add about a million more. It’s so tough eh? Most people act as if we’re opening our home to little aliens or thieves or something. I try to practice patience and share openly information about orphans and adoption, but most of the time I just want to give them the third degree about their own life choices.

    Thanks for sharing.

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