adoption etiquette

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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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”.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Never say things like, “you’re so wonderful to adopt a child”. I am a parent. Just like anybody else with kids.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!

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Posted on May 31, 2011, in adoption and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. OMG SOME PEOPLE JUST DONT HAVE A CLUE!

    • I think people just don’t know or sometimes don’t think how their words might be hurtful. I suppose we all can be like that at times. I am always a work in progress, trying to be better.

  2. but its still good you posted this! 🙂 love ya

    • I thought it was a really good post and some of the things people have already said to me, particularly #4 that as soon as we adopt we will get pregnant, or I have heard stories about “my brother’s, sister’s, friend who tried for years, adopted and then got pregnant”. I have also heard #8 a lot, “oh, you are so wonderful for doing this, I admire you so much. I don’t think I could adopt someone else kids, and a foster child, you don’t even know the challenges you will have, you are amazing!” I really don’t find myself amazing. I want to have a family with children. I have all this love to give, that is what it is about for me. I don’t feel like I am rescuing someone or doing this great deed.

  3. Michelle,

    Thanks so much for all the comments on my blog. You can call me to talk anytime.

    I always meant to post something like this on my blog, but never got around to it. I think it is so important to educate people who aren’t familiar with adoption. Thankfully, most people in my life are more sensitive than to say a lot of this stuff, but I have heard some of these things… Numbers 4 and 8 really irritate the heck out of me.

    I like your illustration of the Willow Tree sculpture. I wrote on my birthday in 2009 that a friend of mine gave me an “Angel of Hope” which was also Willow Tree. I still have it in my office at work.

    Hope the call comes soon for you.

    Tara

    • Thanks Tara, for the comment, good wishes and I am sure I will be contacting you!

      Numbers 4 & 8 bug me too. I don’t feel I will get pregnant just because I am adopting and I am tired of people acting like I am so AMAZING because I am adopting. It is something I want to do both because those kids need a home but also because I want to be a parent and share my love. I don’t feel I am amazing for this, just a parent to be 🙂

      I love the Willow Tree sculptures. I have the “Promise” on my dresser at home.

      Michelle

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