Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents

Below are some things that either we have heard or friends of ours have heard during the adoption process. Adoption is a long process and can be very stressful emotionally and these comments or questions can make things worse sometimes. Please ask questions about the adoption and how it is going in general but be careful about how things can seem from the point of view of the adoptive parents. At the end of it all we know that everything we have had to go through and likely still will go through will all be worth it.

  1. “Well at least you won’t have to deal with being pregnant.”  – If the person tried to get pregnant then they truly do not feel the same as you about the ability to get pregnant or not and if they didn’t try and get pregnant there might be reasons for that.
  2. “As soon as you adopt you will get pregnant.” – Not all fertility issues are due to stress and not all couples adopt from fertility issues.
  3. “Did you look at adopting from other countries?” – Families that pursue adoption usually spend a lot of time and energy researching what type and form of adoption is the best option for them. It would be more appropriate to ask why they choose the form of adoption that they are pursuing.
  4. “Do you get to pick if it is a boy or girl?” – This one we talk about a lot, for one some agencies do allow this but not all do. We are pretty open with our adoption profile (what type of match we will accept in adoption) but not all people are so I would instead ask how their agency matches them with potential children.
  5. “Be careful that the mother didn’t do drugs, drink, smoke, etc.” – If an adoptive parent chooses to be open to those things then you telling her why those things are issues is probably not new information. Being open to adopting a child that has FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) , addicted to drugs, or anything else usually requires looking into what long term affects they will need to be worried about and how to deal with them.
  6. Any horror story that you know about adoption – We have heard them all as either a perspective adoptive parent or one that has already become an adoptive parent and we don’t need to be reminded of all the things that can go wrong in the process as it will be hard enough without dwelling on those situations.
  7. “You want to have contact with the birth mother, what if she changes her mind?” – We know that contact with the birth mother will be better for everyone involved in our adoption story. A better question would be to ask how much contact and what type of contact we have with the birth mother.
  8. “Are you going to tell insert child name here that they were adopted?” – Well yes, for one we could potentially adopt a child of a different race so it will be obvious but also because it is better for them to know as much information as they can about where they come from and how they became a part of our family.
  9. “How much did she/he cost?” – We aren’t buying a house, car, or any other merchandise, we are adopting a child. If you are close enough with the couple it might be ok to ask them about the expenses for getting a completed home study but don’t say it in a way where you are implying that they are buying a child.
  10. “What about surrogacy, have you thought about that?” – Not every person feels that their child needs to be genetically tied to them or surrogacy might not be an option for others, you don’t know why or how they have chosen adoption and questioning their choice can be hurtful to them potentially.

2 thoughts on “Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents

  1. I don’t think people realize that the adoption wait can be pretty painful. So, don’t get upset if potential adoptive parents don’t want to sit next to you while you breast feed, plan/attend a baby shower or hear about how upset you are that you can’t run a up a mountain a month after you give birth (like you used to). Yes, these all happened to me…by my relatives! Finally I bought them the book “In On It” and that helped quite a bit.


    • I absolutely agree. I am still happy for friends and family that have the joy of getting pregnant and have children in their lives already but sometimes it gets to be too much to see their happiness at times. Most of the time I am fine and I still attend showers and I like to see pictures and such but sometimes I just get so frustrated by everything.
      I am not familiar with that book but now I want to go and check it out! Thanks for you comment 🙂


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