Adoption Basics for Family and Friends

After you've adopted, part of the joy of bringing home a child is sharing your happiness with other people who are important in your lives. So when friends and family make insensitive or even rude comments about adoption, you can really be caught off guard. Here are three simple things to remember before you respond.


  1. Protect your child's privacy. In the excitement of the moment, it's easy to reveal too much about your baby's background. This is your child's private history, and he should decide whether and when to divulge the story of how he came to be adopted. You do not have to answer every question that is asked, and you should never share anything that your child herself does not already know. Often, non-specific details will satisfy idle curiosity. Remember, there is a difference between remaining private and seeming secretive. Privacy means offering personal details only to those who need to know. Secrecy involves shame, and there is no shame in adoption.



  2. Practice the right language. Learn what to say to others about adoption. Your baby doesn't understand words yet, but she'll pick up on your tone, so keep it comfortable and relaxed. Soon enough, she'll begin to understand your words as well, so start practicing your responses to questions and comments now.



  3. Be a teacher. You can help others understand what it means to form a family through adoption and clarify their misconceptions. Asking, "Why do you ask?" will silence some and reveal the sincerity of those who really want to know more about adoption. If questions are too intrusive, you can say, "I'm sure you understand that the information you're asking about is personal to our family."


Responding to these statements is important so you can help your child deal with such comments in the future. And what better time to learn to speak about adoption than when your child is young? You get to practice saying what you want your baby to understand when she's older. As she grows, she'll know how proud you are of the way you became a family.

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