8 things to stop saying to your adoptive friends

Preface to the Disclaimer for the List:

Allow me to introduce myself.  Hi, I am Pot and in a moment I will wag my finger and lovingly direct all you Kettles in a new direction.  Before Sugar Baby came home, I would sprint up to any baby of a brownish shade and begin to make a scene with the parents.  I would ooh and ahhh and usually pluck said baby right out of the terrified mother’s arms.  While bouncing her stranger-infant in my lap, I would go on and on about her adopted O-R-P-H-A-N.  “I just SOOOOO have a heart for BLACK babies and I have GOT to have one of these!” I'd gush as if he was a member of the Fall 2013 line of Coach handbags, not an actual human.  So, I get it. I’ve been there.  And that leads me to the disclaimer.

Disclaimer for the List:

I know that you love your friends and family who are adopting.  I also know that you have the best intentions and purest heart when you talk to them about the adoption process.  Please don’t think your interest is taken for granted.  Let’s be real, it’s a hard subject to broach.  Sometimes it’s like trying to answer the “do I look fat in these pants?” question.  Tricky, tricky.  You won’t always get it right.  But, I feel that there are a few repeat offenders that need to permanently come off your list.

The List

8.”Can I just ask how much he cost?” Can I just ask how much you make a year? Besides, if someone DID tell you that, you may have cause for worry.  It’s like this Oscar Wilde quote I love, “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.”

7.”Now, you know to be very careful that the birth mom never finds you.  She may come try and take the baby in the middle of the night.”  People, this is not the Lifetime Movie Network.  Bring it on back to reality.  We just went through months, and lawyers, and thirteen trees of legal documents to make sure all parties were on the same page about this.  Adoption ghost stories? Not helpful.

6.”Are you afraid you won’t love it like you would a ‘real’ child?”  It is best to delete the word “real” from your vocabulary when talking adoption.  This is a real child.  The love for adopted babies is no different than the love for biological babies.  Obviously you mean biological, but your phrasing insinuates that we are welcoming Pinocchio into the family.  And, that’s just awkward.

5.”What happened to his ‘real’ mom?” Again with the “real”.  You can see where this proves to be a problem.  Once the baby comes home (well, actually before) we view ourselves as the “real” mom.  Also, if you whisper this, as if to infer the parents may have been killed, it is SUPER uncomfortable.

4.”Ethiopia or Uganda? No, don’t tell me…Sierra Leone?” Do NOT walk up to someone and begin to vomit names of countries in an effort to guess “where they got their baby”.  It’s not a game show; it’s a family! Control yourself!

3. “Are you worried he will grow up to hate you?”  Well, I wasn’t. But now that you bring it up…

2. “You know, God just didn’t want you to have babies so you could save the orphans! If a part of your sentence can easily be replaced with “save the whales!”, maybe you should reconsider. 

1. ”You know, as soon as you adopt, you’ll get pregnant!” If you take ANYTHING away from this post… stop saying this! I KNOW that your sister’s friend’s neighbor’s teacher’s realtor’s daughter’s third cousin twice removed did it TWICE last year AND that you know of 52 other documented cases in your county alone.  But really.  This doesn’t happen as often as you think.  Even if it does, if the mama you are talking to doesn’t get pregnant… your words could be hurtful. You are setting mothers up for disappointment they aren’t even expecting.  Unbeknownst to me, I was convinced in the back of my mind that after Shug came home, all our fertility issues would melt away and shazaam! We’d be pregnant! I had heard this well-meaning statement for so long that I allowed it to become my reality.  Be protective of your adoptive friends and family.  Don’t say this anymore; total urban legend.


Don't let this deter you from talking to your friends and family going through the process. (or total strangers... because let's be honest, I still do it!)  In fact, adoption can be a very lonely road and it is easy to feel forgotten.  My first suggestion is:
-When I want to check in with you, what's the best way for me to ask? (Win! Every time!)

Others to consider:
-How are things going? I'd love to hear anything you want to share with me about the adoption.
-I'd love to hear about your process so far and how you chose international/domestic adoption.
-I have heard adoption is so expensive.  I'm afraid I'd never be able to afford it.
-I have so many questions about adoption.  Do you think we could sit down over coffee one day and talk? 

Have you said any of the top 8?
Have you had any said to you?