I read an interesting post today on a fellow blogger’s page Adventures in FosterLand. Her post links to Single Dad Laughing’s blog about Adoption Etiquette titled “How much did YOUR kid cost?“. Here is his list of comments or questions, which will be hurtful to adoptive children and/or their adoptive parents. Thought it was good information to share.
Single Dad Laughing’s Guide to Adoption Etiquette.
- Never, ever, ever, ask how much a child costs. This includes the phrase, “how much did you pay for him?” First of all, it’s none of your business. Second of all, if you’re interested in adoption, research it through the appropriate channels. Speak with an adoption agency. Adoptive parents don’t purchase children. They simply pay legal fees and agency fees. Just like biological parents pay hospital and doctor bills. Don’t turn the child into nothing more than a commodity.
- Never ask if a celebrity inspired the adoption. Believe it or not, Tom Cruise, Connie Chung, and Angelina Jolie did not convince me one way or the other in the biggest decision of my life. Are you serious?
- Never ask “where is his real dad?” Forget the fact that it will hurt my feelings. How do you think it will affect my son’s feelings to feel like I’m not a real dad to him? Adoptive parents are real parents. The term you’re looking for is “birth mother” or “birth father”.
- Don’t say things like, “as soon as you adopt you’re going to get pregnant” when you find out somebody is adopting. First of all, there are usually many, many years of pain and financial burden strapped to infertility, treatments, and heartache. Do you really think that what you’re saying will help them? Secondly, while it is funny when it happens, it’s rare.
- Never say, “why did she give him away?” Do I really need to explain why this one would hurt a child? The proper term is “placed”. A birth mother and birth father place their child for adoption. And again, it’s personal and none of your business, so don’t ask if you aren’t my BFF.
- Don’t say, “it’s like he’s your real son”. This is similar to number three, but worthy of mentioning. He is my real son, damn it.
- Don’t say, “do you love him as if he was your own?” Ummm… probably more than you love your little terror, that’s for sure. And again… he is my own, damn it.
- Never say things like, “you’re so wonderful to adopt a child”. I am a parent. Just like anybody else with kids.
- Don’t start spewing your horrible adoption stories. “This one time, my friend’s sister’s aunt’s dog’s previous owner’s niece adopted a baby and the real dad came back and they took the baby away after they had him for two years.” First of all, it probably isn’t true. Second of all, how would you feel if I told you about all the ways you could lose your child. Adoption is permanent. And in the extremely rare circumstances that something like that happens, it’s not something you should spread because the hurt that exists for all the parties involved must be immeasurable.
- Don’t say things like, “is it hard for him to be adopted?” Well, it wasn’t, until you asked me that right in front of him you freaking idiot.
- I don’t want to hear about your second cousin who was on a waiting list for twelve years and never got a baby. Granted, this one was much more annoying when we were going through the adoption process. Nobody wants to know that some people never get chosen. Show some kindness. Even to ugly people.
Going through our PS MAPP classes at our agency we learned a lot about things we shouldn’t say or do, things which may be hurtful to our future children and/or their birth families. We cannot expect our friends and family members or others we don’t know to know everything we have learned. Part of our job as adoptive parents is to help others around us understand things we have learned to help prevent painful comments being made in front of our children. I know our friends and family would never say anything to intentionally hurt us or our future kiddos.
We will love the children who come into our lives just as you love your children. We wanted them and prayed for them just as you wanted and prayed for your children. They will bless us and challenge us just as your children have blessed and challenged you.
Thank you in advance for being understanding and sensitive!