18 Things Never to Say to Adoptive Parents

Rant 50

babyThey don't mean to be, but some friends and family can be very insensitive about the subject of adoption. I now have several friends who have chosen to start or expand their family this way and they often find themselves rolling their eyes at what people say. It's as though they feel the right to ask anything that comes to mind when they learn you have an adopted child. The most common questions: "What happened to his real parents?" As if you aren't the real parents. Or: "Where is he from?" Like every adopted baby must be from some exotic, Angelina Jolie-approved locale. But some comments and queries are even more rude and ridiculous. Check out the 18 things you should never say to parents who have adopted.

  1. Does it bother you he won't ever look like you?
  2. Be honest, do you love your biological kids more?
  3. Why did they give her up? Is she sick?
  4. Did you ever think about giving him back if something's wrong?
  5. Wow, guess this is your good deed for the year!
  6. Don't you want children of your own?
  7. He's probably going to have abandonment issues.
  8. What if the parents come back for him?
  9. What is he?
  10. Why didn't you get a kid from America?
  11. Did you ever think about getting a black market baby instead of dealing with all this red tape?
  12. Did you adopt because you can't have any?
  13. When are you going to tell her she's adopted?
  14. Do your other kids know she's not the same?
  15. She is so lucky you took her in!
  16. Aren't you worried his parents passed on some illness or something?
  17. This is so great of you. You know, we thought about taking one of those poor children home during our vacay to the islands.
  18. Hey, you are pulling an Angelina!

More from The Stir: 23 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman

What are rude things have people said to parents who've adopted?


Image via mrgreen09/Flickr


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Katriena Young

I want to adopt one day, not just a little one but an older child as well. They deserve a home as well as a baby does. And I want to adopt from right here in the USA

daydr... daydreamer6170

yeah, damn all those curious people...

nonmember avatar Pixie

I adopted my biological nephew. I have had him his whole life. I get asked all the time when I am going to tell him my sister is his mom. Or refers to him as my nephew. I'm pretty sure I have raised him his whole life and I 100% consider him my son and me his mom. I try not to let it bother me because I don't think people do it to be mean.

bella... bellacazzate

They're not curious. They're ignoramuses. Ignorance is NOT curiousity. There are millions of other things one can say. One needn't expound upon everything they think.  

nonmember avatar Laurel

I adopted my daughter and the most common and hurtful thing people say is "How could her mother give her up? I would never give up my child!" I get that one all the time. I don't like people saying that about her bio Mom. She did the right thing by giving her up as should more people who cannot care for their children or feel they would not make a good parent.


My husband's side of the family accepted our adoptive twins wholeheartedly.  My side of the family are on the stupid side...they always made remarks that will include "real grandchildren" and even though they are THE 1st set of twins, on both sides, my cousin thinks she HAS the 1st set of twins because her twins are biological.  Needless to say, our twins are VERY close to their paternal family--as far as their maternal...meh--not so much.

Kelli Hayward

I don't understand why #15 is offensive. I know a few people who grew up with adoptive families all of them say they feel lucky that some one loved them enough to give them a home when their biological parents couldn't. Too many children go through life "in the system".

FauxC... FauxClaud

While I am sure that this article is meant to provide some education, I find that it does pass on more ignorance that education.. Unfortunalty MANY of the statements listed here SHOULD be talked about; though perhaps not by the well meaning stranger, but we, as a sociatey have GOT to stop pretending that raising an adopted chuild is "just like" raising a biological child and some of these common adoption issues NEED to be discussed! We should not pretend they aren't the reality of adoption becasue it mkes an adoptive parent uncomfortable. It's not uspposed to be about them, it';'s supposed to be about what is best for the children involed. Case in point:
 #1" Does it bother you he won't ever look like you?": It might be Ok for the parents, but many adoptees DO say that it DOES bother them that they have no one who shares their physical characteristics. Genetic mirroring is a very important part of self acceptance and many adoptees do not learn to accpet their own faces. 
#7: "
He's probably going to have abandonment issues." And if we don't say it then it won't be true? Read the Primal Wound. Yes, many adoptee's DO have issues with rejection, trust etc.

And, for th record. if you think adoptive parents have the winning portion of stupid statements, think again. Try explaining that you are a birthmother and see the stupidity fly out. The things I have been told, the hatred, the cruelty.. oye!

Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy www.musingsofthelame.com



Andic... Andicat798

Some of these are truly offensive but some seem like legitimate concerns such as health issues passed on from parents. I know I'd worry about it.

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

Kelli, #15 is offensive because it's a child, not a freakin puppy.

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