How To Talk About Adoption With Someone Who Was Adopted

How To Talk About Adoption With Someone Who Was Adopted

You want to know. We want you to ask, but here's how to do it.

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Adoption is easily misunderstood. I've received countless comments during my life wondering about our family dynamic. These comments are not necessarily insensitive, they just reveal how misguided society is on a completely beneficial and beautiful journey.

The worst comment I've ever received was from a previous boyfriend telling me that parents who adopt children don't love them the same. Luckily, being adopted has always been one of the brightest spots of my identity. I love sharing my story and draw strength from it.

For others, especially adoptees who are younger, have a darker story or just found out, these comments and questions can often be hurtful. I'm here to tell you the best ways to broach this sometimes sensitive topic.

What not to ask: do you know your real parents?

This one's the worst! Let's just cut out the concept of "real parents" altogether. My real parents are the ones who flew across the world and have been my biggest supporters. My real parents are the ones who have shown up to every event and that I celebrate birthdays and special occasions with. They're not the ones who created me.

Instead ask: do you ever wish to discover more about your biological family?

Perfecto! This delicately asks if they're comfortable talking about their history and journey while also factoring in such things as costs and the emotional toll such journeys can take. And there might also not be a mother or father for them to pursue, so keeping it a generic family question prevents any awkwardness!

What not to ask: are those your actual siblings?

Yikes. This one gets easier as you get older, but when you're younger it's hard to wrap this concept around your brain. Asking if someone's brother or sister is related to them just increases the feeling of being different rather than feeling connected. Also, if an adoptee knows that they have a biological sibling, it might make them wonder about them in a public setting.

Instead ask: do you have any siblings at home?

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Everyone knows you're basically asking the same question, but it's a lot easier to answer. It also clarifies that you're talking about biological siblings if there are any.

What not to ask: Why’d your parents give you up?

SOUND THE ALARM. However this is worded, it should generally seem unacceptable. I know, I know you're probably just interested and sympathetic in their story, but this just brings up one of the unpleasant truths about adoption. Somebody, somewhere, decided to give up their child. It could've been for a million selfless and/or selfish reasons but being reminded that someone decided on that action is very unpleasant. Two words: Abandonment issues.

Instead ask: I’m sure your adoption story is so special.

This leaves it up to the adoptee. They could simply say yes or thank you, but if they are comfortable with sharing, I'm sure they'll expound on their story. Easy peasy.

What not to say: It’s awesome that you’re adopted, but I’m sure (your parents, family dynamic, the love, etc.) is different.

Well, yes. Every member of my family is completely aware our origins are different. However, the implication is that our family connection is not of the same caliber as a biological family. However, I don't think any adoptee I've ever met felt that there was something lacking or inferior about their family dynamic. Take a minute to think about all of the mentors, parental figures and blended families you know yourself or someone else has.

Instead say: I bet your family is so unique and grateful to have one another.

This opens up dialogue on the differences in families (because there definitely are some), but it stresses the positives of being in an adopted family.

Do not say: I don’t think I could ever adopt, it seems so hard.

It's true, adopting isn't for everyone. There is a lot of red tape, emotions, and money involved in the process. But it's so worth it. Imagine finding a child out of the millions that already exist on the planet that enhances your family or your relationship in such a profound way. Childbirth is hard. Parenting in general (so I hear, sorry I love you mom and dad) is tough. Hospitals are expensive. But very few ask a healthy couple trying to get pregnant wondering if it's worth the difficulties or expense.

Instead say: your parents are so strong.

Yes, they sure are.

For those who have ever considered it or for the couples that are struggling with fertility issues, I urge you to consider adoption. We need to end the stigma that adoption is plan B or last resort when you can't have children of your own. Because those children you adopt are your own. They might not have entered your life in the same way, but the overwhelming love and gratitude you receive are the same.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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Looking Back At My Past

When I moved out of my dad's house at 18, I learned several life lessons the hard way. It was an uphill battle to figure out "adulting." I hope this will give some people the ability to learn certain things without going down the hard path.

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Life has a way of teaching lessons when you are overwhelmed. The more you are exposed to, the easier it is to learn these lessons. This article goes into what I wish I knew when I first got onto my own. There were many struggles, hardships and tough times you go through when you start your walk of life alone. But with it comes victories, and the knowledge of being able to get through anything. I hope when people read this article they will see what I put as a priority to learn when you become independent.

1. Money!

Learn how to budget! Learn how you're bank works, learn about taxes. Yes these seem like boring subjects, but money, or the lack thereof, can and will make your life miserable. This is something that many adults have trouble with, and it will put stress onto you. Just taking an afternoon to learn about what you need to do for your money needs will reduce stress.

2. Make at least one friend at the place you live.

The first apartment complex I lived at, I met a (I think) 45-50 year old man. I will not actually say his name but for this purpose his name is "Tim". Tim had lived in that complex for about 20 years, and he knew the staff and the residents. If I needed help or someone to talk to. He was more of a father figure than a creepy old guy. I was new to the town, living by myself, in the middle ground between a couple of in-town gangs. I needed all the help I could get, and when you have a connection it helps.

3. Know the differences between needs and wants.

Figure out your needs: food, rent, utilities. This type of thing ties into money and time. Do not invest too much time in people that are not good for you. Invest your time in your interests, hobbies, things that make you content. When you put your time in someone who at the end isn't worth it, it will occupy your mind months after they are gone.

4. Stay in contact with your family. 

My family is pretty distant to each other. We could probably go a year without talking and it wouldn't bug me. My mom and I have gotten close recently. Generally the 'after high school' years. My mom has helped me through hard times, she has leaded me an ear, or some tough advice. Yes we've had our hard times, but there are many things that I have learned from her. I understand that once you get out on your own, it is easy to stop talking to them; especially if you had a rough time growing up. A story for another time, but if you can stay in contact even if it's as little as a text from now and then. Family is something that is hard to replace once they are gone.

5. The way life teaches lessons. 

Life will teach lessons easy at first, then they will get harder to learn as we get older. An example of this is keeping your room clean as a child, then when you have an apartment. There is more cleaning to do. If you add kids and a house to that, it's even harder. My mom has an odd way of explaining this lesson. "It's like getting hit with a 2x4." The lesson first hits you, and it's small like a golf ball. Then the baseball hits you if you didn't learn before. Before you know it you get hit by a 2x4 and the lesson will hurt in someway. So please learn it before you get hit with a 2x4.

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