It’s typical for every adopted child to struggle with their identity and to doubt how they fit into the structure of their adopted family. Most of the time, these feelings are brought on by a few questions the adopted children have to face regularly and some phrases they hear from the other family members.
So as not to hurt their feelings, below is a list of things you should never say to your adopted child.
1. It’s Ok To Be Adopted
There is nothing wrong with being adopted; in fact, adopting someone is truly noble. But your saying this almost seems like you are assuring yourself, trying to justify that adopting is okay.
You must remember that saying this to adoptees, including adults, can confuse them about being adopted. The thing with adult adoption is that the adoptee can accept being adopted and be okay with it, but it is not something they would have ideally preferred.
Just because you have adopted an adult does not mean you will not respect their emotions, and disregard their feelings.
2. Why Don’t You Look Like The Rest Of The Family
This is a question you should never say to an adopted kid. Mainly because it is an extremely personal question. You aren’t going to ask someone about their salary or age, right?
So there really isn’t any point in asking a person about their birth origins. Making a statement like this automatically lets adoptees feel that they are different from their families. When an adoptee has to face such a question, they might be led to believe that they are unwanted by their adopted family or that they are the second choice.
3. Try Not To Let Anyone Know You’re Adopted
Unfortunately, many adoptees notice that they do not look the same as the rest of the family. This should be your cue to deflect these sensitive questions, and address it with your adopted child. Although, most adoptive parents end up deciding to keep the adoption a secret from everyone else due to this reason.
Surely, everyone is not entitled to know the personal business of your family. Still, if you don’t talk about adoption with your close family or friends, it might appear to the adoptee that you are not proud of your decision and definitely not of your adopted kid.
4. Do You Know Your Real Parents
When talking to an adopted child, remember that their biological parents are not in the picture, and it’s your responsibility to fill their shoes. The adopted parents are the ones who help and aid the child every day, nurturing and providing for every need they have. It is very hurtful for the adopted child to be constantly reminded about their biological parents while being raised.
5. The Problem Is Because You’re Adopted
Any relationship difficulty, questioning someone’s identity, or mental health conditions is not always a response to being adopted. It is common for everyone to go through these problems, at least at some point in their lives. Pinning the blame on any such issues on someone being adopted might be very harmful to the adopted child and create a stigma for adopted children.
6. Aren’t You Grateful To be Adopted
Undoubtedly one should be grateful for one’s parents and family. Still, you must remember that an adoptee has no control over their situation. An adoptee will find it difficult to feel grateful about a process they had literally nothing to do with.
Rather it was initiated because their adopted parents wanted to start a family. Hence, do not ask an adopted child if they feel grateful for being adopted. They don’t need to have their adopted parents being perceived as their saviours.
7. Talk About Their Birth Mother Negatively
It is natural for any child to have a lifelong love for their birth mother, whether the birth mother is in the child’s life or not. You will invariably damage your relationship with the adopted child if you disrespect the birth mother in front of them. You don’t know the birth mother personally, or you don’t know under what circumstances she had to place the child under adoption.
This is why you should not judge the birth mother for doing something she thought was in the child’s best interest. Making derogatory comments about the birth mother fosters negativity toward the women and creates a stigma against them and the adoption system.
8. Your Birth Mother Loved You Enough To Give You Up
This is a very troublesome statement to make to anyone, more so to young children. An adopted child might not always be mature enough to understand why their birth mother had to give them up and place them for adoption. So as it is, they might feel unwanted and rejected by their birth parents. So making such statements to the adopted child will only confuse and hurt them.
9. Make Remarks About Their Personality Or Physical Traits
It is not uncommon for an adopted child to hear things like, “you behave just like your mother!” You must remember that if you make comments such as these, you can strain the relationship with your adopted child as it puts them under pressure to be like the child their adopted parents want them to be like. This will create a rift between you and your adopted child as they feel you want them to be exactly how they want you to be.
10. Tell Them They Are Special
You must remember that adopted children are the same as any other children. You should not single them out and tell them that they are special. Remember that an adopted child does not want special treatment; they just want to be treated like anyone else.
If you remind them that they are unique, it will draw attention to the fact that they are adopted and might make them feel bad. Every child should be known because they have unique talents and capabilities, not because their parents chose them.
Some of the phrases mentioned in this article can be pretty hurtful for adopted children, especially if they have to come up with a response to it. You must understand the effects these comments might have on the well-being and growth of these children.
To nurture a healthy bond with your adopted child, choose your words carefully, and set boundaries as to what you should never say to your adopted kid. Have a happy and strong bond with the child you bring home.