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1. It’s not okay to ask how much I paid for my child. It’s okay to ask how much money adoption costs in general, but please don’t ask me how much money was spent on my child’s adoption. There are a lot of ways to adopt and each of those ways cost a different about (foster to adopt vs. private adoptions) but to ask how much I paid cheapens (pun intended) our family.
2. If you have questions about adoption please ask us! We (mostly) love to talk about it… but please don’t ask in from of our child. Some of us don’t mind talking about it with our child next to us (in general terms), but some of us do. You never know what lead to the family being created by adoption so it’s best to have the conversation in private.
3. It’s not okay to ask if we still have our child or if they have gone back to their “real” parents. Especially if we have been a family for over three years. Yes, this actually happened to me and my then three year old (who over heard the conversation) was very worried about who her “real” family was and why she had to go back. Please think through your question before you say it and please also refer to #2.
4. A lot of us have had very good adoption experiences, but some of us have not. Don’t assume either way.
5. Please don’t ask why our children were placed for adoption, and especially don’t say “why didn’t their mom want them”. I’ve never met a birth parent who didn’t want their birth child. Children are placed out of love and the desire for them to have a better life than what the birth parent can offer, not because they are not wanted. Furthermore the only people that truly know the reasoning for placing a child for adoption are the birth parents. And even if we do know, that is a very private story that should only be told by our children when they are older, and only if they want to.
6. Please don’t ask details about our children’s birth families. That is also private and between our families.
7. Please don’t ask where we got our children. It’s a strange question really. If you would like to know how they joined our family please ask if they were adopted domestically or internationally. If we are comfortable saying more we will. If we don’t elaborate it’s safe to say we are not sharing that information.
8. Please never use the word real. Real mom, real dad, real sisters, real brothers, real family are all words that do more harm than good. I think the term you are looking for is biological, but even that should be used carefully. We are a family. That is all that matters.
9. Please don’t tell me my child is lucky to be adopted into our family. I promise you we are the lucky ones, not the other way around.
10. What we really want you to know is that we are a family. There is no difference between our biological children (if we have any) and our children through adoption. We are just a regular family, regardless of how we became one.