It is hard enough sometimes to talk about being adopted. Everyone just wants to feel loved. I don’t care who you are, that’s the bottom line. You want to feel loved and you want to feel heard. So please non-adoptee’s please stop asking us these questions. We struggle enough with our own questions an insecurtites. Sometimes adoptees don’t feel especially lucky to be different than friends, who are growing up with their biological parents. Just think before you speak.
1. Where’d you come from?
What does that even mean? I’m not an alien. I came from earth just like you. I was born from two adults that had sex.
2. How much did you cost? I would like to think that I didn’t cost anything. All financial transactions payed by my adoptive parents where hospital bills, case workers. Services needed for the care of the child, not the actually child.
3. Why didn’t your adoptive parents just have one of their own? Thank you! Thank you so much for reminding me that I was a second choice. My adoptive parents did try to have their own. They were unable to and then decided to adopt.
4. Why didn’t your real parents want you? Now that’s blunt. Who says my parents didn’t want me. Maybe there where extenuating circumstances. I try to see the positive but that question just further cements my feelings that I wasn’t wanted.
5. Where are your real parents?
6. You are so lucky to have your adoptive parents. No, we aren’t “lucky” to be adopted.
7. I heard kids who are adopted have lots of psychological problems and depression. Does it bother you like that?You feel depressed — is it because you’re adopted? You’re angry with your parents — is it because you’re adopted? Your marriage is in trouble — is it because you’re adopted? Being adopted can make a person question their identity, but so can being a teenager or a divorcee. We live in a complex world with countless sources of stress. Birth origin is not always at the top of the list.
8. You were chosen. Stop with the “chosen” word. That word makes it sound like I was picked out of a litter of cats and dogs.
9. Adoption is a beautiful selfless act. Your adoptive parents most be saints.
10. Are you going to look for your real parents? If I want to search for my birth parents, it’s my personal and private choice. In some cases it may be difficult or impossible, as with those international adoptions where the agencies have no records of the birth parents. Even when a search is a viable option, not all adoptees wish to look for their birth families, and their reasons why are their own. Not a week passes that I do not wonder what they are doing, if they are thinking about me. Did they want to give me up for adoption.
11. Saying “I sometimes wish I were adopted” isn’t something to joke about. While being adopted is neither a problem nor a badge of distinction, it is not the stuff of jokes either. Some adoptees do have sensitivities about their origins, and to make humorous references to trading one family for another may be hurtful to them.
12. I hate Gotcha Day. It is not my second birthday. There is nothing special about Gotcha Day. I was probably terrified. I was being given to strangers after already having lost my mother and been passed around through foster care. It may sound cool, at first, having another day to receive gifts, a party, however, I do not always want to be reminded I am adopted. I just want to be a part of the family. I do not want to be recognized as different.
13. We don’t need your sympathy and reassurance and we don’t need your approval. The beginning of life for adopted children is different than for those raised by their biological parents, but that doesn’t mean our lives are damaged or less. We find love and joy with so many people throughout our lives, most of whom are not related to us by blood, from spouses to in-laws to friends. You don’t need to pity someone’s lack of a genetic connection, and saying it’s OK sounds like reassurance, like somehow it’s really not OK. We form bonds and build our families, in a multitude of ways. Being adopted may be less common than being raised by one’s biological parents, but for adoptive families, it’s our norm.