10 Stupid Things People Actually Say about Adoption

Dawn Davenport


Stupid Things People Say about Adoption

These were actual comments said (out loud) to people considering adoption or already adoptive parents. I’m not kidding—I couldn’t make some of these up if I tried. Which ones have you heard?

  1. “You can’t register here because you are not really expecting.” (Said to a soon-to-be adoptive mom when she tried to register at Babies“R”Us.)
  2. “You must be prejudice against African Americans because you adopted from China.”
  3. “I couldn’t love a child that wasn’t mine. I just don’t get why people would want to adopt.”
  4. “You never know what you are going to get when you adopt!” and this little jewel:  “Why would you want to adopt someone else’s reject?”
  5. Why didn’t his real parents want him (asked in front of her son)? (When the mom explained that she didn’t want to talk about his story, the questioner replied “He won’t remember anything– he’s just a baby.”) (#clueless)
  6. “Oh, since you’re both screwed up, I guess adoption will have to do.” (When told that the couple both had fertility issues.)
  7. “If you adopt from foster care, the child will go back to their bio family just as soon as they are old enough.”
  8. “You’re doing it the easy way.” (Said to a women who was having a rough adoption journey after a long struggle with infertility.)
  9. “Wouldn’t it be easier financially if you didn’t keep him.” (Said to a woman whose husband had just been laid off, referring to their adopted son, hinting that they should “turn him back in”. She said that, financially, life would be easier without any of her children, including her four birth children, but they would manage somehow- and they did!)
  10. “Why can’t black people adopt black kids?” (Said to a white couple that was adopting interracially.)

Thoughts (other than disbelief)? What ridiculous things have people said to you about adoption?

P.S. You might also enjoy these blogs, which talk more about what adoptive parents should and shouldn’t say.

Originally published in 2015; Updated in 2016.

10/10/2016 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 29 Comments

29 Responses to 10 Stupid Things People Actually Say about Adoption

  1. Avatar MIRANDA says:

    The meanest thing ever said to (m)e so far was that because you didnt have your own biological child that you dont have true mom inst(incts).

  2. Avatar Michelle says:

    Doh! Some people really just don’t know what to say, especially if they have little to no experience with adoption. We have tried to help others understand by keeping the conversation lighthearted. Sometimes a little humor helps!

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      Yes, a little humor or a question like “Why do you ask?” with a simple blank stare can certainly alert folks to the inappropriateness of their comments!

  3. Avatar Susan says:

    I have had reverse situation happen where people asked if my husband (I’m not married) was Hispanic for my daughter to look that ‘way.’ And a woman asked how my daughter got so dark, “she must spend a lot of time outside in the sun!”
    I wasn’t offended, it was funny. Never crossed their minds she was adopted.

  4. Avatar Turtle says:

    As an adoptee reading… (adopted at birth, inside the US) What do you do when your adoptive parent, rather than other people, says hurtful things to you regarding adoption?
    I’m asking because I’m an adult now, and my mother said things like, “you should be grateful we didn’t bring you back!” and, “I wish I’d known you were damaged when we brought you home.” After a heated debate, she once said, “I didn’t want you! Your father wanted you! You talk to HIM about that!!”
    It’s been over 15 years since those words were spoken, and they still echo in my mind whenever I see her face. I still can’t forgive her, no matter how hard I try. It makes me feel like a spiteful, bitter person, even though I’m not normally that way and have never had trouble letting things go with anyone else. So back to my query: What do you do when it’s the parent, not some ignorant passer-by, who constantly twists the knife?

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Oh Turtle, I am so so sorry this happened to you. No child, no matter what age, ever deserves to hear that kind of trash and abuse from a parent. You deserved better!!!

    • Avatar Sharon WASHWICK says:

      Oh wow! That’s abuse, not an igo rant statement. I’m sure and not surprised it still hurts, words cut like a knife and that’s pretty deep. The relationship ship might always be scared but you could always open up and let her k ow oce and for all the abuse cut, harmed and still hurts. ; ( hugs to you . No child, no adult should have to hear such things.

  5. Avatar RP says:

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  6. Avatar Eva says:

    These comments should go to a book, it will be fun to read! Two silly questions we got (and still get..) plus my husband’s answers:

    1) Are you going to tell him about his adoption? (asked by someone not that close to us).
    My husband: no, but we’re counting on you..

    2) He doesn’t really look like his daddy at all (BTW – my son doesn’t look like me, either, but there is always some sort of assumption that I must be the mother..)
    My husband: well, I am not his biological father, you know.. (the curious lady now looked at me with reprimand in her eyes and with awe for my hubby..)

  7. Avatar Becky says:

    My kids are older now and they are getting the dumb remarks. ” she can’t be your mother, she is white” their reply is ” I asked for the purple one but they were out of stock that day”

  8. Avatar Sabrina says:

    A family member looked right at my newborn daughter and said “I’m so glad your mommy didn’t want you!” Apparently my dropped jaw and horrified expression said all that needed to be said because she immediate corrected herself and said “I mean she just can’t take care of you right now, I’m glad you are part of our family!” I have a lot of educating to do….

  9. Avatar Donna says:

    We have 6 children ranging in age from 57 to 20. Four of them are adopted. People often ask silly questions. My answers are sometimes silly too!

    Are they all your real children?
    No, some of them are imaginary. We just pretend that we have lots of children. It gives us an excuse to have a messy house.

    Are they your biological children?
    No, some are wind up toys. There are also a few paper dolls and a couple of wooden stick figures.

    Which ones are your own?
    All of them are our own. We walked them to sleep, tucked them in at night, kissed their boo-boos, slept on a cot beside their bed when they were in the hospital, helped them with their homework, changed their bed when they got sick in the middle of the night, washed their clothes, baked their birthday cakes, wrapped their Christmas presents, attended all the concerts, school performances and sports events, and loved them with all our hearts. That makes them our own. How we got them doesn’t have anything to do with it.

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      The first two made me laugh and the last one made me smile. Thank you!

      • Avatar veteran infertile says:

        You are awesome and hilarious. I love it. I love the ones who say: You have another one? Aren’t 4, 5, 6 enough (Not when their sibs come into care)? OR You’re too old to take on another one (Like we haven’t thought about what we can handle or it’s their decision )

        • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

          I agree Veteran Infertile. When people who know very little about something feel free to make suggestions on something so personal as family planning!

  10. Avatar Cathy G. says:

    My first reaction, especially to #s 3, 4 & 9 was “Thank god these clueless louts are not adoptive parents themselves!!” If you cannot imagine loving and bonding completely to a child you did not give birth to, then how sad for you. I do feel sorry for those people’s children, if they have any, since they will likely transmit their narrow-minded or ignorant thinking to their own bio children….hopefully their children will have opportunities to learn from families other than their own…

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Cathy, my first reaction was why in the world would you give voice to these thoughts. Bad enough that you think them, but why not keep it to yourself!

  11. Avatar Robin OToole says:

    My personal favorites: 1. YOU’LL get pregnant as soon as you adopt (I already had a hysterectomy is my response) and several people have continued with “you never know”. 2. Why would you bring them into your home, my husband’s favorite response, “OH,is it legal to let them live outside?”(they usually look miffed) 3. Why would you want to adopt 4 kids, are you stupid? We respond that “they are cheaper by the dozen or In our case it was a 4 for 1 special ” 4. My husband’s favorite: “are they really brothers? No, we scoured the planet til we found 4 little boys that looked exactly the same, the question is almost always followed up witn, “are there more?” How would I know? Gees get a clue is my usual thought

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Robin, I’m not sure how I’d respond if someone told me I might still get pregnant after I had a hysterectomy.

  12. Avatar Debbie Mumm says:

    We adopted from Russia. I was asked, “Aren’t you afraid he’ll grow up to be an alcoholic?”

  13. Avatar Jen DM says:

    Blows my mind the insensitivity. Seems as though Babies R Us has perhaps had their eyes opened, as I was treated exceptionally well when I went in a few months ago to register. All three of the employees I worked with commented how special they thought adoption was, praying that our blessing would join our family soon, and one even said she was praying that their family would also be grown by adoption some day.

  14. Avatar Sarah says:

    When I told someone we were adopting, she asked “What kind?” I said, “human.”

    Also, someone asked if my husband and I were going to discuss adoption with our adopted son. My husband and I are both Caucasian. My son is African American. I’m pretty sure he would figure it out. (And of course we would discuss it with him regardless of physical similarities, it was just an inane thing to ask in general).

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