1. “Now you’ll get pregnant!” Perhaps your friend is adopting because of infertility, but adoption is not a fertility treatment — and your friend is most certainly not adopting because she thinks, “THIS will do the trick!” When you say this, it can also make your friend feel as though you’re not excited about her adoption and view it as a “second choice”.
2. “He’s so lucky!” Adopted kids are anything but lucky. They have experienced the loss of a first family and perhaps even the loss of their birth country and language. These kids don’t feel “lucky” to come to America — they are grieving the loss of their home and everything that is familiar. When you say this, it glosses over that loss.
3. “How much did he cost?” Our child is not a car. If you really need to know this, Google it.
4. “Can’t you just go and pick him up?” Umm…no. Because that would be kidnapping.I once saw someone make this comment when a girlfriend shared a post on Facebook about how much she was aching to hold her daughter in Congo. It took every ounce of self-restraint I had not to comment and say, “Because she wants her daughter to languish in an orphanage just a little while longer.” Adoptions are a complicated business and they take time, and it’s not because we adoptive parents aren’t doing everything in our power to move things along.
5. “We’ve always wanted to adopt. But first we are going to have a few of our own.”Along these same lines are “Do you have any real kids?” or “Is your daughter your own, or is she adopted, too?” When you differentiate between kids who are adopted and not adopted, terms such as “biological” or “birth children” are the ones to use. When you distinguish our bio kids by calling them “your own” or “the real kids”, then you make it seem as though the adopted child is not truly part of our family.
6. “Why didn’t you adopt from America? There’s plenty of kids here that need homes.”Yes, this is true — but we are not obligated to only adopt from our own country. Should children from Ukraine/China/Ethiopia/Congo/etc. be disqualified simply because they aren’t from here (and have no one available in their birth country to parent them)? Adoption from ANYWHERE should be celebrated.
7. “Don’t adopt from Ukraine. My neighbor’s second cousin’s uncle did, and their kids were totally messed up from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.” What I mean by this is, when someone tells you she’s adopting, don’t share with her your adoption horror stories. Adoptive parents are required to go through adoption training. They are well aware of the challenges they may face and don’t need you to point them out.
8. “I totally know what you’re going through. I adopted a dog once.” It’s not the same. I promise.
9. “What happened to his real mom?” I’m his real mom. A better way to distinguish me from his first mom is to use the term “birth mom”, because when you say it this way it demeans the importance of my role in my child’s life. And unless you are close friends with the person you’re asking this to, it’s best to respect the privacy of their child’s story and not even go there. You wouldn’t really approach a perfect stranger and ask her to share the details of her labor, would you?
10. “Are you worried he is going to have HIV/be retarded/be messed up?” and/or “Are you worried he will be black?” These are all things that have been said to my friends or myself. For real. I hope I don’t have to explain to you why they are offensive.
For more info, see africatoamerica.org