"Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart - but in it"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What not to say to adoptive parents

Ok so let me preface this with, dont think we are being mean. This blog post is just as much for me as it is for all of you. I went all over the internet and complied some different posts and made them into this one.

What Not to Say

"Who are his 'real' parents?"

"Aren't you wonderful to adopt this child?"

"How could his 'real' mother give away an adorable baby?"

"Do you know anything about his background?"

"What will you do if he searches for his 'real' mother?"

"Your kids look so different? Which one is yours?"

"It's just like having one of your own, isn't it?"

"Why was she given up for adoption?"

"How much did you pay for your baby?"

"Now that you've adopted, you'll probably get pregnant, don't you think?"

What Non-Adoptive Parents Should Know

If you're an adoptive parent, chances are you've heard all or some of these questions. Neighbors, strangers, friends, and yes, even family, may mean well, but their remarks can really grate on adoptive families. Often, non-adoptive parents don't even realize they're asking intrusive questions.

The answers to your questions are going to be framed using these basic points about adoption:

  • Adoption is permanent.
  • Adoption is a legal change, involving the court.
  • Adoption is another good way to create a family.
  • Some aspects of adoption are private.
  • Most adopted children grow up to be just fine.

That was from American Baby magazine, but just let me say I do not like this magazine not for this article but just in general. I think they push their agenda and are bought and paid for...ok enough on the magazine and back to the original post.....

"Are Those Your Real Children?"By using the word "real" you are saying that families formed by adoption are not real. Of course, all children are real and each one of them is loved and cherished equally by the adoptive parents.

"Which ones are yours?"Once a child is adopted, they belong in that family. If you say "which ones are yours" you are separating the adopted child from the rest of the family. Families that are built through adoption are just as much a family as any other.

"What happened to her real parents?" First, this falls into the same category as the "real children" question. Of course the adopted parents are the child's real parents. The child's birth parents are also their real parents. Families are formed in so many different ways and each family is real whether there is one parent, two parents, four parents or more.

The above was from families.com



Things that are NOT to be Said to People Who Adopt:

1. How much did she/he cost?
2. Why did you go and adopt--couldn't you have your "own" child?
3. Did you buy that baby?
4. Maybe now that you adopted, you'll have "your own" child.
5. She/He looks nothing like either of you.
6. What are you going to do when she/he looks for their birthparent?
7. Do you know her/his "real" parents?
8. I sure hope he/she fits into your family!
9. Why didn't his/her real mom want him/her?
10. Don't even tell him/her they are adopted, they'll never know.
11. Too bad you had to adopt!
12. Whose fault is it you can't get pregnant?
13. You're doing these kids such a favor.
14. S/he is so lucky to have your family instead of his/her own.
15. An older child is damaged goods .
16. She's your daughter?
17. What about your own kids? What do they think about this?
18. She might come from a cursed background.

19. What are you going to do when you have kids of your own?
20. Do you think you love them as much as you could love your real kids?
21. You got kids the easy way you never even had to be pregnant.
22. What if the real parents come back and kidnap them?


The above was from a website adoptioncrossroads.org


Is it difficult to love a child who isn’t your own?

My children are my own both of them. Yes, I know what you mean. And I repeat: both of my children are "my own."

I could never love someone who doesn’t share my biology.

I’m sorry your heart is so limited. And presumably your spouse doesn’t share your biology, so I’m sorry for him or her, too.

She/he’s so lucky.

If there are adoptive parents who haven’t heard this one, I don’t know them. Yes, my adopted child is lucky, just like her brother who was born to me just like any kid blessed with a good family. Moreover, my husband and I are lucky to have her as a daughter. My daughter is not lucky, however, by virtue of having been adopted or because she’s been adopted by an American family. Her life story will always be one that begins with wrenching loss of family, country, language, culture and all things related to the place and people from whence she came. She will have to figure out how to incorporate all of this into her identity at some point, no matter how much we love her.

That’s great you’re adopting; it’s so much easier than having the child yourself.

Clearly, you have never adopted a child. What, exactly, is easy about it? Is it the hundreds of questions prospective adoptive parents have to answer along the path to adoption, questions that go to the heart of what kind of people they are and dissect every aspect of their lives? Is it committing to a lifetime of knowing that at anytime from toddlerhood through adulthood, your child may come to you with wrenching questions about his or her origins and your answers may be unsatisfactory? Is it knowing that the very fact that your child is yours means that somewhere a woman will probably grieve every day of her life for the child she could not raise? Is it missing the early months, sometimes years, of your child’s life? Is it telling your child when he or she asks to see baby pictures, "Sorry, I don’t have any"? I could go on, but you get the point.


The above was from babble.com

Things you should not say to a family who chose international adoption

Why didn't you adopt a child from the US?"

This is a very common statement that adoptive parents hear. Some versions of it include "There are so many needy children in foster care. Why didn't you adopt there, instead off through international adoption?" This comment and question is just plain rude and nosy.

Imagine you are holding your sweet newborn in the grocery line, just a few weeks after giving birth. A total stranger asks you "Why didn't you adopt?" or says, "There are so many needy children, how come you didn't adopt?" Of course that sounds very crazy, just as it would asking someone why they didn't adopt locally.

Some parents feel "called" to adopt internationally, others would prefer to not have to deal with "baby momma drama." Some adoptive moms don't feel up to dealing with the headaches and hassles of adopting from CPS. Some don't meet the qualifications for domestic adoption. Some would prefer not to have to wait long. Some feel, that by adopting internationally, they are making more of a difference.

The question also implies, in a way, that international children aren't as "deserving" to be adopted. Please avoid ever asking this question to a parent who's been through international adoption.

"I have a friend of a friend who chose international adoption, and her child has severe problems...."

Some similar comments are "I saw that 20/20 show where the kids from Russia were just crazy.", or "Aren't you worried your child with have fetal alcohol syndrome or autism?"

Please never say that to someone who's in the process of adopting from a foreign country, or already has. Chances are, they have researched all challenges that might arise, and it really isn't your business to pry. While it's expected to be a bumpy ride at first (sometimes), the majority of all international adoptions have wonderful, happy endings.

It's like saying to someone who just found out they were pregnant, "Well my friend got pregnant and her baby... (insert tragic story here)..." When someone chooses to adopt internationally, they choose to love their child unconditionally.

"It takes a special person to do what you are doing. I could never do it."

While that statement is probably very valid, it's not very considerate. It is insulting to the adoptive child, and to the parents for that matter.

How, would you feel if someone looked at your biological child and say, "Wow, you are such a special person to take care of him/her! I don't know how you do it!"

Please never say it to any parent, adoptive or not, of a child with (or without) special needs.


Top Things to NOT say to an Adoptive Parent
(slightly edited from http://www.michellesmiles.com/?cat=3&paged=2)

We know people mean well but some adoptive parents may not appreciate the following:

10. Oh look, she has your husband’s eyes (or smile or whatever)…
Ok this one doesnt bother me. I think God knows each child and who is their family and maybe He makes the kids look like us, who knows. So if you want to tell me Faith looks like me I would be honored

9. How much did she cost?
Babies do not cost money. Adoptions cost money. If you want to know because you want to adopt I will talk with you but not in front of my children. I can also give you information on costs. If you want to know just to be nosy I will know and wont tell you.


8. Did you meet her real mother?
I am her real mother. I am going to raise her, sit with her when she is sick, cry with her over her first heart break, and pay for college. Her birth mother (or biological mother) is someone we honor and are thankful to every day for the joy she has given us, but we are her real parents.


7. I just know you’ll love her like your own.
See above. She is our own daughter and we will love her more than you can know. (Also, our biological children and our adopted daughter are all our REAL children).


6. You know you’ll get pregnant within a year now.
Yes, we all know our cousin’s secretary’s sister who got pregnant 3 months after adopting. But this doesn’t happen in a statistically significant manner. And you have no idea what kind of fertility struggles someone may have gone through before adopting so it's better not to mention this to couples adopting their first child. Plus there is no chance I will ever carry a child again.


5. Is she yours?
Nope, I took her out of a shopping cart at Target. Hope no one notices.


4. Did you get lots of medical tests done on her? I hear most of those countries only let Americans adopt the really sick babies.
Crap! We forgot to send in the papers for the money back guarantee! She’s our daughter we know what medical conditions she has and we will take care of her.


3. I bet she's smart. I hear "they" have a real gift for academics...
I think she is, but then I'm her mother. (smile here) I don't think, though, that we can make sweeping assumptions about any group, do you?


2. Are you going to tell her she is adopted?
Lady, if she doesn’t figure it out herself at some point, we have bigger problems than her understanding that she is adopted. Adoption is rarely a secret in families in this day and age. It is part of her life story and she will know from day one that she is incredibly loved and came to our family in a special way.(Ellie's mom wrote this but I totally agree)


1. Does she speak English? (asked when you're holding a baby)...
Only in private. In public, they speak "baby." [smile here] -again from Ellie's mom but I kept it

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Positive Adoption Language:

The words we choose to use say a lot about what we think. When we use positive adoption language, we say that adoption is a way to build a family just as birth is a way to build a family. Both are important, but one is not more important than the other. Try using the positive words when you are talking about adoption...


POSITIVE LANGUAGE

Birth Parent
Biological Parent
Birth Child
My Son/Daughter
Born to Unmarried Parents
Choose Adoption
Make an Adoption Plan
International Adoption
Child with Special Needs
Child from Abroad
Was Adopted


NEGATIVE LANGUAGE

Real Parents
Natural Parent
Own Child
Adopted Child
Illegitimate
Give Up
Give Away
Foreign Adoption
Handicapped Child
Foreign Child
Is Adopted

The above was from a blog called bring ellie home.

Now to add my own.

So I was out to dinner with my family and I dont know what it is but we always get remarks and stares. Thats fine, I learned after number 4 this is a way of life. This woman was asking us about our girls and when anyone asks about our children I include Faith. She is my child she just is not here yet. So anyways she says to me, "Wow wont that be hard?" She was speaking about Faith having special needs. What I wanted to say was Since when is life suppose to be so easy? But I refrained and said that God told us to and we said yes. I wonder which one would have scared her more. Speaking about God in pubic I should be ashamed. Ok so on to the point...

Dont you think I know it is going to be hard to raise my child? It is hard to raise any child, especially one with special needs. I am not some stupid woman that is going into this in denial. I know, I know, I know this will be hard. You saying it isnt an epiphany that will be my Ah ha moment and I will all of a sudden just stop the adoption.

Second one, Are these all your real children.
No this one we made a wax museum looks real huh. Lifelike even. I can not emphasize this enough they are all my REAL children. Use biological if you must ask that question. I actually had one person say are they all yours. Since when do people just go places with random children. Yes they are all mine.

One thing I heard that was a bit offensive that I have not forgotten was when I brought up we were considering a child who was deaf blind this person said, "I wouldnt touch that with a 10ft pole!" That meaning my daughter. That statement hurt a little. I'll just leave it at that.

I also have been hearing Oh so you want a BIG family. What 5 is a big number? Nah!

Isnt she so lucky to have parents like you. NO. We are blessed and lucky to have her as our daughter. We arent heros. We arent above anyone else because we adopted and we hope we never have that air about us. We just simply answered God's call. To Him be the glory.

Please understand that we know you are not saying any of this to be mean and most of the time we laugh at your comments. Ok so I want to thank you if you held in and read this whole long thing. If you have ?s dont think that I wont answer you or I dont want to hear your ?s. Just be mindful of how you word them because words can help and be mindful of little ears when you ask because there are some thing little children just cant understand and it may confuse or even scare them if they over hear it. Thanks all. Nite!

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