Helpful Hints 1 – What not to say to an adoptive parent.

  1. You’re so brave (particularly when accompanied by slightly soulful expression)
  2. You’re so wonderful (quite true, I am, for so many reasons it would be hard to list them all.  But not sure of the relevance to my child’s adoption)
  3. Is this your adopted son?  Or at least not unless you are prepared for the answer – “Yes.  Is this your vaginally delivered daughter?
  4. What do you know about his real parents?  Having a birth family, does not make your adoptive family any less real. And besides which, I know you’re curious but it really isn’t any of your business.
  5. But he looks so much like you!  Ummmm…. no he really doesn’t – he’s a different race to me! (And way better looking)
  6. He’s so lucky.  What bizarre luck is not being able to live with your birth family in safety and prosperity?

Any of these comments are one hundred times worse if said in front of the child in question and one thousand times worse if said in front of your child AND their own child (oh what joy to have it all repeated at school). Hope that helps those with tricky adoption etiquette questions.



  1. Ah yes, and ‘you’re so brave’ is so often followed by an anecdote about a family friend who adopted a child – WONDERFUL mother she was, couldn’t do enough for that child, but he was nothing but trouble and stole from her purse and set fire to her bedroom when she was asleep and well, we don’t really know what they’ve inherited from their parents, do we?

  2. Love it 🙂 They are all so true.

    Please can I add…..”are they real brothers” to your line about real parents? Yes they are real brothers, I am both of their mother, that makes them real brothers!!

  3. I have all this ahead of me, and am already looking forward to using no.3!

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