Choosing to grow your family through adoption is a wonderful thing. It takes a lot of deep thinking, soul searching and researching to come to a comfortable decision. There are many steps that go into the adoption process, and it isn’t something that can be determined overnight. So, by the time a family member or friend feels confident enough to share their plans with you, they’ve already been through a slew of back and forth and are excited to have their dreams of parenthood realized.
It’s natural to feel shocked or surprised, but there’s a right time and a wrong time to portray each reaction to a prospective adoptive parent. Particularly if you are a close friend, and know the hardships he’s been through to have a family. So, the moment when he first expresses his joy and excitement at finally being able to have a child, here are things you should never say to an adoptive dad.
“I’ll bet you’ll get pregnant now.”
Pregnancy and adoption are nothing to joke about. Often, the decision to adopt stems from an adoptive parent letting go of their dream of conceiving or having a biological child through another method, like surrogacy. But, unfortunately, the idea of becoming pregnant once an adoption process has started has been ingrained in our minds through movies like, Sex and the City. It’s all too easy to forget that stories on screen are fictional. Not realistic.
Parenthood is a very complex and sensitive topic, particularly to those that are struggling. Treating adoption like a consolation prize isn’t ok. It will only foster deeper wounds of pain and hurt.
“I’ve heard horror stories about adopted kids.”
Timeless classics like Anne of Green Gables keep statements like this one alive. Rachel Lynde, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert’s neighborhood, tells a story about how an adopted child poisoned and drowned his family. There are also stories that filter in and out of the news. Children from abused backgrounds setting their family’s house on fire and the like during their adjustment period to their new home and life.
But, when adopting a newborn or toddler, these instances are extremely rare. Adjustment periods are normal, and are usually times that the adoptive parent and adopted child can work through together. Overall, though, it’s a very insensitive and unnecessary statement, and one you should never say to an adoptive dad.
“Wow — you actually look like their real parent!”
Similar sentiments that goes hand-in-hand with this one are: “where are their real parents?” or “he or she looks nothing like you.” Somewhere along the way, the word “real” became interchangeable with the terms “birth” and “biological.” An unfortunate oversight, because all three words have different meanings.
Bringing the sense of different-ness between adopted child and parent to the forefront is rather inconsiderate. It’s not your responsibility to highlight this — especially if the child is present. Not only does it instantly make the father defensive and shoot you a death glare, but it also causes irrevocable mental and emotional damage to the son or daughter.
Besides, the father — whether he adopted his son or daughter or had them biologically — is their real parent. So, what did you mean? Think before you say something like this. Make sure you understand the meaning of the words you are using. What is meant as a compliment in your mind may not have the reaction you hope for.
“Happy Adopted Father’s Day!”
This is definitely something you should never say to an adoptive dad. The word “adopted” isn’t necessary to place in front of a father’s name. It’s not a title. When the adoption is said and done, he is the child’s father. No additional identifier are required.
Whether his child was biological or adopted, he’s a dad. End of story.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Make an Impact
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
Berry, Mike. “7 Things You Should Never Say to Foster or Adoptive Dads on Father’s Day.” Babble, Babble, 12 June 2017, www.babble.com/parenting/hurtful-comments-foster-adoptive-dads-fathers-day/.
Blogger, Mom. “5 Things You Should Never Say to a Parent Who’s Adopting.” Whattoexpect, WhattoExpect, 29 Jan. 2015, www.whattoexpect.com/wom/baby/5-things-you-should-never-say-to-a-parent-who-s-adopting.aspx.
Catcher, Jess. “11 Surprisingly Common Things You Should Never Say To An Adoptive Parent.” LittleThings.com, 6 Jan. 2017, www.littlethings.com/never-say-adoptive-parent.
Colaco, Maria. “11 Things Never To Say To An Adoptive Parent.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/11-things-never-to-say-to-an-adoptive-parent_n_6134422.