Adoption is the loving, and deeply unique formation of a family. As one who is adopted I've been on the receiving end of all the following comments--I can't make this stuff up--by the most well-intentioned folks. While my own adoption story IS fascinating, it's still mine to share on my terms. (Maybe one day I will in List form.) 😊
  1. Please do not: ask pointed questions if we've just met.
    Whoa, whoa! Your interrogation can wait until my hand has cooled a little from our introductory handshake. Thank you. 🙏🏾
  2. Please do not: frame any question that involves the words "real" parents or "real" sister/"real" brother.
    Please don't insult my loved ones by asking about my "real parents." Ok, so my parents went to an airport instead of a hospital. My mom and dad and sister are very real to me, despite our biological differences.
  3. Please do not: say something in the form of "Wow, I bet your birth mother really regrets giving you up."
  4. Please do not: ask why I was "given up"
    Another common adoption related faux pas.
  5. Please do not: express your opinion about race to anyone within the adopted family.
    It doesn't matter if you don't like that White parents have adopted an African American baby. Please do not approach a parent and give an earful about it. It's hurtful. (And yes, this happens frequently.) On the other hand, bringing attention to them like they're a circus attraction even when it's well-meant isn't really the best either. It's just a family. The best response is to give a supportive smile--tell them their family is beautiful!--and move along.
  6. Please do not: tell me "I don't have anything against adoption but I could never do it because I don't want to take a chance that the baby might have issues."
    Did you really just say that to my adopted face? Clearly the baby's not the one with the issues. This is a common opinion, sadly. Bottom line: Nature vs. Nurture exists in all families, whether a child is adopted or biological. Plus, I'm amazing so…there goes that argument.
  7. Please do: praise your friend's parents for taking a chance on an unknown kid.
    My white, American parents adopted me, an unbathed, hairy, Guatemalan baby, sight-unseen in the late 70s. My parents were pioneers at a time when cross-racial adoptions were practically unheard of. They deserve mad praise and my biological mother does, too.
  8. Please learn current adoption lingo: "birth mother and father;" "biological sibling;" "adoptive parents" (or in my case just "parents" 💗); "make an adoption plan;" "place(d) a child with an adoptive family."
  9. Please do: show a gentle curiosity, and frame questions tactfully, asking permission before asking personal questions.
    Approached the right way, I'm an open book. Even if we've meet recently.
  10. Please do: ask me about adoption in general! I know a lot about it both personally and professionally, and am an advocate for it.