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Striving to answer the call to motherhood and wifeyhood with joy, Jesus, and crazy dancing.

5 Things NOT to Say When Someone Shares: “We’re Adopting!”

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After several years of trudging through the infertility treatment jungle, my husband and I started to research adoption as a possible option.  In all honesty, we were tired and angry AND had huge doubts that adoption would “work.”  We attended an adoption class through our local agency and that class truly changed us.  We learned about adoption, met couples going through similar experiences, and we left that class with hope, excitement and renewed energy.  We. Had. A. Plan!

We're adopting

Over the next several months, we completed the steps necessary to be added to our agency’s wait-list and just like that WE WERE “ADOPTION PREGNANT”!  We were elated and started to share our news with family and friends.  Overall, people shared our excitement, but it became clear very quickly that there was going to be more to this than just sharing we were going to have a baby.  We were going to have to help educate people on adoption.

We were unprepared for the crazy things people said to us when we told them our news.  My husband and I would recap our days and share the questions and comments we heard from people that day, how we responded, and how we could respond better the next time.

I truly believe people we not being malicious with their comments and questions, they were just unfamiliar with or uneducated on adoption or how best to congratulate us.

So, it is for that reason that I share this post, not to complain, just to help prepare those considering adoption and to help educate others how to best respond when hearing someone’s exciting news!

 

5 Things NOT to Say When Someone Shares: “We’re Adopting!”

 

  • You just wait, now you’ll get pregnant!  This is the most common thing people say to me when I tell them we are adopting, it was usually coupled with stories about how they know 25 women that have adopted and then gotten pregnant.
    • I can understand how that might happen.  The stress is off, you finally have your baby, so I’ve heard many wonderful stories of people adopting and then getting pregnant. BUT this is not the case for everyone.  You don’t know what the couple has been through or why they haven’t been able to have biological children, so don’t assume because you’ve heard about it happening that it will happen for this couple.  
    • Saying “now you’ll get pregnant” in a way says, don’t worry, there is still hope that you can have “your own” child.  Instead, just congratulate the couple that they will soon have “their own” child through adoption!

 

  • Ohhh (concerned voice), my best friend’s, brother’s, cousin’s, daughter’s, uncle adopted and (insert adoption horror story):
    • Listen, there are sad adoption stories, no doubt about that.  As adoptive parents, it’s a risk we know we are very possibly signing up for.  A risk we are willing to take, because we know the potentially rocky road will eventually lead us to our little one.  BUT, we don’t need someone else to remind us of the potential heartbreak.  Instead of adding to our fear, how about offering to pray for our adoption journey!?

 

  • So, you can’t have kids of your own?  I was shocked the first time someone asked me this.  I’m sure I gave them a classic Natasha confused blank stare, because I was thinking, “What the heck?!  I just told them exciting news!  We’re going to adopt a baby!”
    • First of all, that question is way too personal, but since I was unprepared, I found myself sharing way more than I needed to in order to answer the question.  None. Of. Their. Darn. Business.  
    • If you get asked this question, you don’t have to share your personal history with strangers!  
    • If you ask this question, it feels like you are A.) Snooping, and B.) Saying, “great, you are adopting, but that isn’t quite as exciting as if you were telling me you were pregnant.”   Instead of raining on our exciting news, just tell us how excited you are for us to start our family!

 

  • We’ve always wanted to adopt too!  Maybe, someday, after we have a few of our own.
    • Okay, if you’re serious about adopting down the road then awesome!  But, 1.) please know the children we adopt will be “our own,” 2.) please don’t make it sound as simple as heading to the Humane Society and picking out a new puppy…fun!  And double fun for you that you can pick, choose, and plan when and how to have your family! If you are serious, we’d be happy to fill you in on adoption and the process, if not, just don’t go there.  

 

  • That child will be so lucky to have you as parents / You have such big hearts to adopt those children: I believe these two comments come from a loving place and thank you for your nice compliments.  BUT, let me let you in on a few little secrets:
    • We are NOT adopting children to achieve sainthood.  We are adopting children, because WE WANT CHILDREN and a family.  So, while its true we have big hearts and lots of love to share….that’s just being a good parent.
    • You’re right, the child we adopt will be lucky, But WE are a zillion-trillion-gazillion times luckier to be blessed with that child.
    • Lastly, please don’t say “those children” like they are dirty or lesser in any way than someone’s biological children.  THOSE CHILDREN are made by the same God that blesses families biological children.

 

  • And here is a BONUS that I’m hoping needs no explanation for why it might not be the right thing to say…..
    • Us: “We’re Adopting!”
    • Them: “What’s wrong with you?”

 

If you are planning to adopt, this post is a heads up on some of the feedback you may receive.  It took us a while to understand not to be angry at the comments!  Just know they usually come from a loving place, but as an adoptive parent, it kind of becomes part of our job to help educate people on adoption.

If you know someone that has adopted and have made some of these comments, don’t fret….now you know!

 

God bless your adoption journey!

 

Natasha

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47 thoughts on “5 Things NOT to Say When Someone Shares: “We’re Adopting!”

  1. This is a great post and very informative. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes!!!!! Finally, someone who gets it (:
    I ESPECIALLY hate hearing, “you know they always say women get pregnant after adopting!” [Insert laugh here while I am plotting an attack on their face]. I’m not violent but people have no clue what they are saying sometimes.

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  3. The day my twin sister and I were adopted was the most blessed day of our lives. My parents only talked to us about our adoption once when we were about 6 years old. I learned years later that was because once the adoption papers were signed, we became their own children, and not adopted children. We are 64 yrs old now, and those two amazing people are long gone, but i still wake up and thank God every day for the parents he gave my sister and I. I also say thank you to the courageous teenager who wanted a better life for her daughters than she could provide, and chose Adoption.

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  4. thank u natasha for your informations..me and my husband we think about adoption a child, i from brazil but my husband is american, so i believe the process can be same….we start do class in september already….i really anxious like for meet my kids ( we want 2 sister), my husband have 2 teenager already with the first wife, and i try treat them like my son and daughter, because the mom is really abusive for this childrens…they love me so much, and i feell i have the experience already when u need open your heart for receive a child….i talk with my husband we are 100% shure people go think we are crazy, my family and his family, thats why we keep this in secret and just when we have the children we just can talk, ….i wish u the best with your children…when u see people like u is really give more hope for us!….love your history 🙂
    Lary

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    • Lary, So, happy you found the information helpful. Wishing you many blessings on your adoption journey! Let me know if you have any other questions I could help with! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I love the statement about people who think adoption is “as easy as going to the humane society and picking out a puppy”.

    It’s hard. Harder than all my fertility challenges and all the miscarriages and loss that I’ve experienced so far. But it will all be worth it in the end.

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  6. My wife and I adopted because my family is ridden with a horrible neurological disease. My Dad died of it. The doctors informed us there is a great great chance our child would have it.

    I was so happy to get on the list just as if Amy told me she was pregnant. The first person we told gave us what Amy and I have come to call “Zingers”. Upon telling our neighbor she said in the saddest voice “I am so so sorry. That must be so difficult. But I’m sure adoption will be just fine. Are you going to adopt a white kid or are you going to adopt a different race. That seems to be the thing these days.”

    Yup. We now just laugh off the zingers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, I never thought about any of this. I always get so excited when people tell me they’re adopting, because it means more playdates for my kids! I’m sorry people can be so clueless. This is a great way of informing people!

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  8. I really really like this post. Yes the feedback was definitely WTF-worthy but it told us more about you.

    Here we’ve got the kind of adoption as you’ve experienced it and we’ve also got traditional (our indigenous) adoption. The latter involves (as it has for many many years) children being adopted inter-family as a way of sharing knowledge, caring and the experience of parenthood.

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  9. I can’t believe people actually say these things. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  10. This is beautiful! Can I share it with some friends
    I am your newest follower

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  11. is it ok to share this? This is so beautifully written!!

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  12. This was a great article! I do not know anyone who has experienced adoption but your tips are spot on. Unfortunately there are so many people out there who speak before they think. I think the best thing you can say to anyone whose family is growing is “congratulations”. That pretty much will eliminate potential foot-in-mouth situations. 🙂

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  13. This. Is. Fantastic! As an adoptee who has adopted (and will again!), this is all very offensive, even from the inside (being the adopted one hearing all this jargon).

    The Mister & I knew we we would one day adopt, but didn’t expect it to be our first (and that he was already 4 and through the foster system). The questions get even more outrageous, let me tell you (and in front of him, no less!)!! In the 4 years since, the idea of infertility is a lot more real and makes me more weepy when people say things that are ignorant. But…God has a plan, this I know.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    • Jos, Thanks for sharing your story! I’m sure there are another “interesting” set of questions when you adopt a little bit older child (ugh, not in front of him!?!). Keep the faith and so true that God has a plan. When you finally have your child that is the first time all of the struggles become clear….duh, THIS is our child, the one we have been waiting for! Blessings!

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  14. Everybody should read this. We, too, have been touched by adoption and have found it to be one of the greatest gifts. We would also advise that after the adoption do not discuss it to death in front of the children. We know of 2 children who are aware of their adoptions, it is just part of their history but one mother wants to talk about it all the time and you can see her daughter shrink as she’s telling people all about the bio family.

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  15. This is an important topic-I wish more mainstream media would cover it–the process, the emotions & excitement, the journey. Glad to have found this space–& congratulations!!!

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    • Thanks for stopping by Keri! I am hearing more and more about adoption lately, so that is positive, but I totally agree with you….there are still many myths out there! Thanks!

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  16. Congratulations Natasha ☺ Thanks for sharing this post and a piece of your heart. It will help many to understand adoption. Lots for best wishes for your journey of parenthood.

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  17. I love “we’re adoption pregnant”! This is a great post and I think you are right – most of the comments are well meant – BUT even the most well-intentioned comments can hurt.

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  18. Thank you for the tips! My good friends adopted and I’m praying I never said any of these things to them. I too struggled with infertility so I think I was more sensitive but who knows. Now they are adopting their second child, and I wrote the recommendation letter, so hopefully it’s all water under the bridge.

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    • If they asked you to write a letter of recommendation, I bet you are good. 😉 Thanks so very much for stopping by sister (all those that struggled with infertility I consider sisters)!!

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  19. That is so wonderful that you are adopting. Sometimes people just talk without even thinking. I’m sure it’s frustrating!

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  20. My husband and I adopted from China. I got all those and then some. I was even told to my face by a customer of where I worked at the time… “Why China?” “Why can’t you just adopt from the U.S.A?” “I just don’t understand, there are so many children here in foster care.” I was so hurt. I did tell her supervisor the next time I saw her. She was so upset by her co-workers remarks and did take care of that! People do not understand the time and pain that goes into this big step to the adoption world. My husband and I did lots of research and we decided after much debate that China was were both our hearts went. 5 years of waiting, on my 40th birthday we got the call. Our daughters packet was in the agency’s hands! When I saw her face for the very first time… I melted! She was the most beautiful little girl in the whole wide world and she was MY DAUGHTER! She was 8 1/2 months old. She will be 5 this November. I love her so much! We have a bond that is like none other! Oh and let’s not forget she is also a Daddy’s girl! I Love adoption! It is what made us “A Family!” After years and years of trying and In Vitro with all failing and was told I would never be able to have a child was heart breaking. I had a comeback for those who would tell us… “Oh you’ll get pregnant now that you have adopted” I would say… “Oh yeah? So you can fix me? Because I can’t have babies!” Yeah!! The look on their face was priceless! Sorry to go on and on… I love your post!! Thank you!

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    • What a beautiful story Lisa! Thanks so much for taking the time to share! Sounds like you were blessed with a little miracle, clearly the baby that was destined to be yours! God bless!

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  21. Thanks for the follow. I discovered your blog recently and enjoyed reading through a few posts. My brother and his wife are on their way back to the U.S. right now with their new son that they’ve been trying to adopt for two years (and after countless years of trying to get pregnant). Great timing that I could read about your journey. Excellent blog!

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  22. This is a vey important topic! Thank you for sharing your take on it, as it’s one of those things that I think most people don’t really end up being ready to respond to (so they say stupid things!) Will try to spread the word – off to share on FB and Twitter…. 🙂

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