What Adoptive Families Want You to Know: What Not to Say

When we adopted our daughter Ashlyn we started hearing some really interesting things. We would be out in public and it was interesting to people that we had two babies so close in age so getting stopped became a regular occurrence. People would be shocked to learn we adopted one of our daughters and had the other. This would prompt people to ask us questions out of pure curiosity. We have heard things that have been incredibly sweet to things that have been incredibly rude.  Here is what we want you to know when you say certain things to us. 

Aren’t you afraid her birth family will take her back?

This question bothers me a lot. Ashlyn’s Biological Mother is one of my dearest friends and asked us to adopt Ashlyn when she told me she was pregnant. It is not a typical adoption relationship and she told me early on that she wouldn’t have asked us if she wasn’t sure of this difficult decision. Although I knew she could still change her mind up until I believe 48 hours after she signed papers and would have every right to do so.

The issue with this question is people don’t seem to understand the long and stressful process that adoptive parents go through just to adopt a child. We are asked to prove we can afford to take this child on, we are mentally and physically healthy enough to raise a child, we had to go through multiple background checks, and pay a large amount of money to prove all of this then we went through it again after she was born since we adopted her from another state. It is not easy to adopt a child and to think that this process is as simple as someone asking for a child back feels disrespectful. Like this child isn’t truly ours but someone else’s and we are at their disposal. None of us came to this decision on a whim and none of us finalized this adoption without some type of difficulty, including her Biological Mother. She went through a lot for us to have Ashlyn and she made a difficult decision that she knew was a lifelong one. Oh and this isn’t a Lifetime movie so please don’t assume she can come and take her back or would do so.

You already have a child and are pregnant (when we in the process), you should give her to someone who can’t have children.

Now this is actually the statement that angers me the most. If you have any common sense don’t ever, ever under any circumstance have the nerve to say this to a Mother.  The anger people had towards me when they found out we were adopting a baby and I was pregnant and had a child was incredible. The issue I have with this is my daughter is not a puppy. I will not just hand her over to another person. That is like telling me “Well, since you are adopting Ashlyn you should just give Everly to someone else, you have too many kids.” Would anyone ever think to tell me to give up my biological daughter? No! Then why is it ok for someone to tell me to give up my daughter I adopted? This was such a disgusting thing to me. The first thing people need to understand is that Ashlyn’s Biological Mother asked us to adopt her, no one else. She didn’t seek out another family. She knew I was meant to be her mother and that is a huge honor. That is one of the most incredible things anyone has ever given to me. To be able to raise their child, to be able to love this person who otherwise I would never have the privilege to be her mother is beyond words.  Ashlyn would never have been ours if it weren’t for her Biological Mother and her decision to choose us as her parents. So, if you think it’s as simple as saying “Oh, I am already pregnant and have a son so here let me hand her over to another woman who can’t have a child” you are wrong. She would go back to her Bioloical Mother if I had felt that way. Why? Because without me she would have not placed Ashlyn (yes she told us this). She didn’t make this decision lightly, she knew who she wanted to raise her child and it wasn’t a stranger. It is her choice on who raises her baby, not some angry person off the internet.

If you’d like you can read my original post about this HERE.

What about her real family?

I know people don’t ever have ill intensions when they use this term. It is a term I have used in the past and totally understand why people misuse it. But try to remember real does not equal biological or birth. We are all her real family biological or not and so is her biological family. No matter what we are all her real family. Use biological if you want to ask about them.

Don’t ask me why her biological mother placed her for adoption.

This is something her and Ashlyn can talk about when Ashlyn is older. It isn’t an easy answer. It’s not always as simple or complicated as people think. It also isn’t our place to discuss this.

She is so lucky to have you! 

When people hear our story they say “You are a saint.” or “She is so lucky to have you.” it makes me feel so awkward. Adopting Ashlyn is really no different than having our biological children. Yes, we had to go through a completely different process to have her but she is no more or less lucky than the other two. The thing I want people to know the most when they make this statement is Ashlyn would have been fine if she was with her biological family. She would have lived a good life with her awesome sisters and Mom. She wouldn’t have grown up suffering. And this statement is actually hurtful to her biological family. I know people have a small idea of what adoption is really like. They don’t understand the complexity of it all. The types of adoptions vary so much that while some children come from tragic situations others do not. They simply come from a mother who did what she felt she had to do. We are the lucky ones to be able to raise such an amazing girl.

We are ok talking about it.

I don’t mind when people ask me questions about adopting Ashlyn. I know people are curious or are looking into adoption themselves. I am a pretty open book and if you are respectful of our situation we have no problem talking about it. Just see number 4 first.

I think that is about it for now! I hope this helps you all understand adoption a little better. If you have any questions please email me at PerfectlyImperfectMomBlog@gmail.com

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  1. Love all of these, sometimes people lose their minds and all respect when it comes to choices about babies and motherhood! Thanks for sharing on #BeyondMommyingSiS

  2. I guess I never thought about all the questions people would ask but it is great you got this out here to help others out who may be adopting. Kind of a heads up so they will know what to expect as well.

  3. Thanks for sharing. People say dumb/insensitive things all the time about situations that are new to them not necessarily realizing that it's been your reality for years.

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