Ways To Talk About Adoption

Adoption STAR’s Director of Adoption Kathy Crissey provides practical advice on how to handle adoption questions from others.

kathy crissey
Kathy Crissey, MS, LMHC Director of Adoption

All of Adoption STAR’s prospective adoptive parent clients are given a copy of Adoption STAR’s Adoptive Parent Education Manual, an important educational tool for folks to have at all stages of their adoption journey.

As a part of the most recent update to the manual, Adoption STAR’s Director of Adoption Kathy Crissey wrote the following piece that lays out important considerations for adoptive parents when talking to others about adoption.

As an adoptive parent you will likely encounter individuals who may ask questions that appear to be, and can be, inappropriate. While some of these questions may catch us off guard, how we respond to these questions will allow us to have an opportunity to educate others and share information appropriately.

Things to remember:

Your child will take his/her cues from you. Take this as an opportunity to model for your child how to manage these questions – at some point during their life they will be asked.

You do not have to share information if it is not appropriate. Just because someone is asking does not mean you have to answer.

Sometimes a simple “why do you ask” will be enough to let the person know that their question is not appropriate.

Examples of questions you may or may not want to respond to:

“Who are his ‘real’ parents?”
“Aren’t you wonderful to adopt this child?”
“How could his ‘real’ mother give away an adorable baby?”
“Do you know anything about her background?”
“What will you do if she searches for his ‘real’ mother?”
“Your kids look so different. Which one is yours?”
“It’s just like having one of your own, isn’t it?”
“Why was she given up for adoption?”
“How much did you pay for your baby?”
“Now that you’ve adopted, you’ll probably get pregnant, don’t you think?”
“Are they really siblings?”

Things to remember as you manage questions:

Adoption is permanent.
Adoption is a legal process.
Adoption is a great way to create a family.
Some aspects of adoption are private.
Details about your adoption belong to your family, not to strangers.
Use appropriate adoption language.