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Inappropriate comments made by friends and family

I know I am not alone when I say that sometimes it is the people who are closest to us that say the most inconsiderate things about adoption.  Recently I have been astounded by the rude and thoughtless comments made by close friends and family. My sister inlaw told a story in front of my daughter about another family who had adopted and said that there child had zero personality, then looks at my daughter and says at least you got a good one.  It was so offensive and implied adopting a child is like picking out a puppy!  Then my daughter’s teacher ask me ...don’t you want one of your own, you know a biological child?  Then, yesterday my best friend starts discussing in front of my daughter how expensive it was to adopt her!  I realize it is their ignorance and the fact that they are close to us that makes them feel they can say these things, but how about using some common sense!  It’s so frustrating to feel like you have to talk with everyone you are close to about what is inappropriate to say about adoptions.


My favorite comment s “how much did it cost?”
Really how rude, how much did it cost to have your biological child?
I have heard all those comments too that you heard. It is frustratingly, but I ignore them.

Posted by best mom of 2 on Jan 28, 2013 at 3:31am

My favorite one is “adopted children aren’t real children - not to speak of.”  While I know I probably shouldn’t, I feel super offended by this one.

Some people don’t know or haven’t experienced the love and charity of Jesus. As a good nun friend of mine says, “Hate the sin and not the sinner!

Posted by jtwinkle, on Jan 28, 2013 at 4:41am

My favorite was during a car ride with my best friend. (all my children are adults except for my 5 year old who is adopted) My friend was talking about her son (biological) who is in jail for drug related charges, he is addicted to heroin. Her other son(also biological) is a doctor at the Mayo hospital. Anyway, the conversation turns to my 5 year old and she said “adoption is scary, you never know what you are going to get.” I looked at her to see if she was joking and she wasn’t. I let it go because the humor of the comment was so fabulous that it out weighed the ignorance of her statement.

Posted by carolrn on Jan 28, 2013 at 9:18am

People are so crazy stupid.  I have a hard time with those comments too.  If I’m not too shocked to speak, I usually respond with something abrasive or passive aggressive.  I’m really normally a nice person, but I’m allergic to stupidity.  It makes me break out in smart-ass.

Posted by housefrau on Jan 28, 2013 at 12:42pm

You can try the old Ann LAnders (or was it her sister) who said
just look puzzled and say “Why would you ask me such a thing?” Put it back on them.

Posted by Regina on Jan 28, 2013 at 6:21pm

Hi Milly,

When I read these absurd and rude comments people make it often seems clear what I would say. In reality though, it is such a shock when people you often least expect it from come out with these, that I have often been just shocked silent! I’ve even had some people in adoption agencies make comments as if children were a product for sale.

.  carolm I am wondering if you burst out laughing at your friend’s comment!??! Can’t help but wonder what she would have said had you replied…“Good point, you might get a drug addict that ends up in jail for heroin possession or you might get a doctor!”!!

If any of you have not yet seen the ARC video on the absurd comments people make - check it out.  Just click on the heading “Videos” above and its the one called “#$%@ People Say to Transracial Families”.  Much of it is applicable to any adopted family. At least they must have had fun making the video!

Posted by Happy Camper on Jan 29, 2013 at 1:25am

I’m really normally a nice person, but I’m allergic to stupidity.  It makes me break out in smart-ass.
- housefrau

This is the greatest comment I’ve ever seen regarding stupidity (which, of course, is the most common element in the universe). Bravo, housefrau. Bra. Vo.

My reaction to the dumb comments:

Posted by jenn.yiftach on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:36pm

It’s hard to come up with a quick response to inappropriate comments, as they normally catch you off-guard. I try to pull up the offender, firstly as a way to educate them, and secondly in case my children’s little ears are listening out.

Posted by SarahS on Feb 01, 2013 at 11:40am

As an adoptee I have heard many , some are triggers for me, some just make no sense
I get Your lucky to be adopted a lot. I usually tell them
Yep it rocks losing your mother/family at birth. Then I ask if they tell children whose mothers died at birth how lucky they are too.
I also get You were chosen . My response is.
Truth is I was just next in the baby line and they had the check..
Do you know how much you cost?
Yes I do. I also know how much the dog cost too. Thanks for reminding me.
Do you know how much you were wanted?
They wanted their own. I would do though. Adoption is not most Apars first choice and its certainly not a newborns first choice.
She loved you enough to give you up.
Oh wonderful, Ill have to tell my kept sibs. Bet they will be jealous I was loved just enough.
What a selfless sacrifice.
Most of the time when sacrifice is used in adoption its a verb. Takes on a whole new meaning when you make it a noun and you are now the one being sacrificed. My mother was not brave or selfless she was desperate and rolled the dice.
Jesus was adopted.
By who? Scripture please.
Your were not given up you were placed. Unless I was sold by her or kidnapped I in fact was given, no amount PC adoption language can ever change that. . I think “giving up” also fits because she did not give up on those she chose to raise, only the one she chose to relinquish.
“Do your parents celebrate “Gotcha Day”
They did when I was young. I saw it as cruel as I got older. Who celebrates the day a child for sure loses his family to gain another. Have you ever looked up the def. for Gotcha? . got·cha (gch) interj. Used to indicate understanding or to signal the fact of having caught or defeated another. A game or endeavor in which one party seeks to catch another out, as in a mistake or lie.
We prayed for you to find us. Who prays for a infant to lose its mother so they can parent.
We dream of adopting.. Remember your dream is a newborns worse nightmare.
My favorite was at church when my pastors young bio daughter died. I can not tell you how many people, some who know I am adopted, said So sad. You know she was their only real child”
Yeah I know, so do their other adopted children.

Posted by joye bell on Feb 05, 2013 at 3:01am

Thank you, joye bell for sharing your perspective. It’s one we adoptive parents don’t normally hear!

Posted by Peri S. on Feb 12, 2014 at 9:06pm

And Joye Bell your perspective was hilarious! I would love to have been there when you gave those responses. I bet those folks wanted to crawl under a rock

Posted by waiting4ablessing on Feb 12, 2014 at 9:41pm

Typically, older people ask me if I’m going to tell our daughter she is adopted, followed by their opinion that it is better not to tell her. 

I typically reply “Well, how am I going to explain her birth certificate listing Ukraine then?”  That often quiets the conversation very quickly.

I think I also catch a case of housefrau’s smart-ass once in a while…

Posted by AdoptedWithLove on Feb 12, 2014 at 10:14pm

Yes, I think the comments of those close to us can surprise and shock us more than those of strangers or people we don’t know very well, and they can also hurt us because we care about them and what they think.  Whether they are strangers or our best friends though, I think it is mostly ignorance or not knowing the correct way to talk about adoption.  Labels personally bother me…ones that are simply labels like ‘the adopted baby,’ and ones that carry a negative connotation like ‘real’ mom and ‘natural’ parents (I think my two personal “not” favorites).  I think years of hearing labels can wear on families formed by adoption, and I think had worn on me as an adoptee where they affected my feelings about adopting children myself - - - some people won’t think I’m my child’s ‘real mother’ and most importantly what if my child doesn’t feel that I’m her ‘real mother.’ Thankfully adoption is becoming more politically correct and people are learning more how to talk about adoption and adoptive families.  smile

Here’s a few things I remember hearing… in front of my adoptive mom a family member referring to my birthmother as my ‘real mother.’  When sharing with my cousin about wanting to adopt and having her say to me, “Don’t you want children of your own?” (Okay, I’m an adoptee or did you forget that?)  Hearing my best friend say after we adopted our first child something like, “She seems just like your own baby.”  And then what was surprising and shocking and sad, was that my best friend and my birthmother (two women who had both experienced crisis pregnancies) were the most judgmental when our daughter’s birthmom got pregnant again and placed our daughter’s little sister for adoption with us also.

Posted by twicethelove on Feb 13, 2014 at 12:16am

I’m a new adoptive mom. So far the two things I’ve faced is questions about her “mother” and I always respond with “I’m her mother”. Then they say well you know what I mean. I then follow-up with are you talking about her birth mom?

And the 2nd yet most hurtful I have experienced is when I was going through the process I told a few close friends that we were considering adoption so it wouldn’t be total shock for everyone. My one friend said why would you do that? Its always something wrong with those kids. You won’t know whatch getting until you get them and then they will be more problems. She told me all the issues her sister faced. But she forgot her birth children have every allergy known to man. Her son can’t be near grass (which means can’t play outside), at restaurants they have to request his food cooked in certain oils, her daughter at the age of 6 has been in the hospital countless times, she can’t handle the fur from dogs, she can’t eat certain fruits or candy, can’t have juice… You get the point. On the other hand my little girl has no issues. She would have been better off adopting LOL

Posted by waiting4ablessing on Feb 18, 2014 at 11:12pm

I’m just making a start on this journey, but I wanted to say, I come from a fairly close-knit extended family, especially a few of my mom’s cousins and their families.  I mentioned that I am planning to adopt an older child, and one of the cousins made a comment that basically boiled down to “Why in the world would you even consider that?”  and seemed to imply that a child adopted past infancy would never be family to her.
And the thing is, she’s far too well ‘housebroken’ to have said that if she meant to be offensive.  She really thinks she’s being helpful. 
Yeah.  We’re going to have a good long talk before I get to the final stages of this process.

Posted by mimstrel on Mar 11, 2014 at 6:17am

Doing what’s right is definitely not always easy. With time, some people come around but others can’t get past having a biological connection (which is confusing when you consider that step-children are often more readily accepted into an extended family, regardless of blood relation). We have tried to give people the benefit of the doubt- not everyone knows what they should do, especially if they have little to no experience with adoption. We have tried to inject a little humor to help people in our lives understand- if you need a laugh, check out our video at

Posted by Shella Shell on Jan 06, 2018 at 10:47pm

My own mother is the one who has said some of the most horrible things to me. I think the worst one was “One day you’re going to wake up with that kid standing over you holding a knife” It’s just astounding to me since she adopted my niece and nephew who had been in the system for 2 years prior, so it’s not like all kids dont have baggage. She refers to my niece and nephew as “Good ones”

Posted by fashionbug1989 on Oct 31, 2018 at 4:50pm

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