Words Can Hurt Too: Responding to Insensitive Adoption Comments

There’s a saying that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.  If only that statement was true.

As adoptive families, there are times when friends, family or even complete strangers can ask a question or made a comment about your adoption that can be painful.  They may not mean to hurt you, but it does.  Often times these comments can leave you speechless wondering how to respond without biting back.  

We recently asked for some of these stories on our Facebook page so we could give you ideas on how to respond should you find yourself faced with this same question/comment.  

If you are a birth parent reading this, we want to point out one thing.  Whenever the question or comment was made about a birth mom, you had the utmost support and admiration from the adoptive family.

Here we go with the comments/questions along with some ideas on how to respond.

I admire you so much for what you did.
Your kids are so lucky.

•    What’s there to admire?  I’m a parent.  
•    Thank you.  Parenting is an admirable calling no matter how you become a parent.
•    I am the one that’s completely blessed beyond my dreams to have my children.  The person I admire is their birth mother who gave them the ultimate gift.

Do you have any of your own kids?
•    Although I did not give birth to these children, they are my children.

Why didn’t her mom want her?
•    Just because her birth mom chose adoption, it DOES NOT mean she didn’t want her.  Her birth mom wanted a different life than what she could provide at the time.  She loved her enough to choose us as her parents.

Are you going to have him call you mom?
•    Ummm….yes.
•    I’m his mom.  What other name should he call me?
•    Well, for starters he might start out calling me mommy or mamma.  Once he hits the teen years I’m sure his friends might make fun of him calling me mommy so I’m sure at some point he’ll transition to calling me mom. 

Where is his mom?
•    I am his mom.
•    I think you mean birth mother and that is private
•    None. Of. Your. Business.
•    His birthmom is living her life and staying in contact with us.

Where did she come from?
•    God
•    The stork.

Is it hard not to have your own children?
•    I don’t know any different because these are my children.
•    These children are my own.
•    Is it hard for you not experiencing the ultimate appreciation of knowing another woman trusted you and chose you to a mom to her child?

Why did you chose that color?
•    I didn’t chose his/her color his birth mother chose us
•    Color doesn’t matter if there is love

What ever the comment or question is, remember you are not required to answer.  Sometimes silence lets the person know what they are saying is hurtful.  It’s OK to politely let someone know they’ve crossed a line. For your long term sanity, it’s generally best to think of these questions/comments as someone caring enough to ask and be interested in you but uninformed on how what they are saying can impact you.

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