What parents who adopt want you to know
I am the mother of a 5-year-old daughter who has been part of our family since the moment she was born. We officially adopted her four months later. In addition to becoming a protective, terrified, and proud new mom at her birth, I also became sensitive to the way some people talked about my daughter because I did not give birth to her; assumptions that are made, language that is used. After speaking with other adoptive parents, I learned that our frustrations are similar.
In honor of Adoption Awareness Month, here are some simple DOs and DON’Ts for speaking to parents of adopted children:
DON’T ask questions like, “Do you have any children of your own?” or “Wouldn’t you like a baby of your own?”
This can feel like a stab to the heart for adoptive parents.
Our children, regardless of birth, are our own.
DON’T assume that adoptive mothers are mourning their inability to have a biological child. Some are struggling with that issue, some aren’t. In fact, some parents, like my husband and myself, had a shared dream to adopt so biological children weren’t in our plan.
DO ask parents about what the adoption process was like. Parents who have biological children typically enjoy telling stories of their child’s birth, adoptive parents have their own adventures to tell.
DO understand that questions about an adoptive family’s relationship with the birth parents are personal in nature. Consider whether you know someone well enough to ask such a personal question ahead of time.