Your adoption journey felt long, but here you are, parents bringing their newborn baby home! You are so excited to arrive home with your bundle of joy. You are probably eager to introduce your friends and family, who have been so supportive of your adoption, to the newest member of your family.
Everyone will “ooh” and “ahh” and tells you how amazing your baby is, how beautiful they are, and you soak it all in. But then, some start asking questions that you find surprising, to say the least, and you may be taken aback a little. Oftentimes, people will ask personal details about your adoption that are too prying, even if they’re well-intentioned and curious.
Most people don’t have the information you have at this point regarding adoption, since they haven’t been through an adoption journey themselves. They don’t understand that the questions they are asking can be taken as inappropriate or even rude. And they probably don’t realize that they are using old-fashioned, negative adoption terms instead of positive adoption language.
I asked some of Lifetime’s adoptive families to share some of the questions they were asked when they brought their baby home. The best way to handle some of the awkward questions is to be prepared with an answer ahead of time. Here’s what I have gathered, along with short, sweet answers:
How can someone give up their baby?
Her birth mother was not able to parent her at this time and wanted her to have the best life possible. It is an incredible act of unconditional love.
Do you know much about her real parents?
Do you mean her birth parents? We are her real parents.
Wouldn’t you rather have your own children?
She is our own child.
Was the birth mother a young girl or on drugs?
We prefer to keep the birth mother’s information private.
What will you do if the birth parents want her back?
That will not happen as, by law, we are a family, we are her parents, and she is our daughter.
How did you get a newborn? I heard baby adoption doesn’t happen anymore.
Adoption is one of the three choices women have when experiencing an unplanned or unexpected pregnancy. Domestic newborn adoption does still happen, and it’s brave, loving moms who make adoption choices for their babies.
Do you think she will speak her native language? (Chinese, Spanish, etc.)
Babies don’t speak a language yet. I hope she grows up to speak many languages.
Are you going to tell her she is adopted?
Yes, of course. Honesty is important, and children today grow up knowing their beautiful story of adoption.
As an adoptive mother, I’ve been asked many inappropriate adoption questions and heard many rude statements. They began even before my husband and I adopted our son! While were waiting to be chosen by a birth mother, I came to dread family gatherings. It seemed there was always someone asking us humiliating questions. The worst was when my grandpa asked, “Haven’t you figured out how to DO it yet?” at the dinner table! I forced a smile and answered, “We lost that page of the manual,” though his question had pierced me to the bone.
I’ve been asked nosy, rude adoption questions while going through the security line at the airport, shopping at the grocery store, or even while dining out. My husband and I were questioned about adoption by teachers, police officers, doctors, restaurant servers, and many more.
In my experience, the best way an adoptive parent can answer inappropriate questions is to keep it short, and be direct. As adoptive parents, it’s our duty is to cherish and lovingly raise our children, not to divulge all the details of our child’s adoption story. When you decline to answer someone’s prying adoption questions, you aren’t being rude. You’re being confident, and showing both the asker and your child that some questions are just too personal to just answer to everyone who asks.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”