Family, friends, and strangers may mean well, but their remarks on your adoption or adopted family can really annoy and even hurt. Often, people don’t even realize they’re asking intrusive questions.

We’ve compiled a list of a few things not to say to a family who has adopted or is in the process of adopting:

  • “Maybe now that you are adopting you will get pregnant.” A couple’s infertility problem isn’t really anyone’s business but their own and their doctor’s. Put yourself in their shoes; how would you like it if a stranger came up to you and asked about your sex life? You’d probably be embarrassed. Another reason not to say this kind of thing is that many people who choose to adopt have struggled with infertility and feelings of grief and loss.
  • “Who are his ‘real’ parents? Why was he given up for adoption? What will you do if he wants to find his ‘real’ family?” Adoptive parents are the baby’s real parents, and it is their choice as to if and when their child can reach out to his birth parents. Many adoptive parents enjoy and encourage a relationship with the birth parents, but sometimes circumstances won’t allow for an open adoption.
  • “Your kids look so different. Which one is yours?” It’s simple really. Both children are their children.
  • “How much did you pay for your baby?” It’s no secret that adoption can be expensive, but it’s not the baby a couple pays for, it is for certifications, legal and matching services, marketing, travel, etc. It’s also common for couples in an open adoption to help pay for the birth mothers expenses as well.

Instead, try to show your love and support through these following sentences:

  • “You have such a beautiful family.”Rachel Garlinghouse writes on Huffington Post that she’s fielded many rude comments and questions from strangers about her family. However, one positive encounter left her with tears in her eyes. A woman said to her, “You have such a beautiful family.” The woman didn’t verbalize assumptions about Garlinghouse’s children or her fertility. She didn’t thank her for rescuing children like others had. The woman could have asked for explanations as many others did, but instead her words were genuine, graceful, and warm.
  • “I’m curious, what does adoption usually entail?”
  • “I’d love to hear the story of your adoption journey.
  • “What’s the next step in the process?”

Even your family and friends may sometimes slip and ask intrusive questions. Let them know that the comment they made was hurtful or made you uncomfortable. They probably didn’t mean it to be. They might have had the best intentions, but the question came out wrong. Be as open as you feel comfortable being. Chances are, they’re curious because they love you and want the best for you. They simply might not know how to go about showing that.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125 and by email at Make sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: via photopin (license)