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Adoption, Uncategorized

15 Things You Should Never Say to an Adoptee

If you’re adopted, you’ve likely heard many of the comments below. (I even heard three of ones on this list from members of my biological family early in my reunion with them.)


Credit: Chiara Vitellozzi Fotografie | NuageDeNuit/Flickr

And if you’re not adopted, you may have uttered some of these chestnuts thinking you were being thoughtful and empathetic.

Trust me, you weren’t.

And on behalf of all adoptees, many of whom are working to #FliptheScript for National Adoption Awareness Month, I beg you to stop.

  1. You don’t look adopted.
  2. Who are your real parents?
  3. How much did you cost?
  4. What a gift you are to your adoptive parents.
  5. It was probably for the best. Who knows what kind of life you might have had otherwise?
  6. Why would you want to find your birth mother? She didn’t want you. 
  7. I have a friend who is perfectly fine with being adopted. 
  8. You must be so grateful to have been adopted.
  9. Your medical history isn’t that important. Just watch what you eat and exercise.
  10. Stop worrying about not fitting in with your family. Plenty of non-adopted people feel like that. It’s not a big deal.
  11. Why didn’t your real parents want you?
  12. I wish I was adopted.
  13. What would you do with your original birth certificate if you got it?
  14.  You don’t know what you’ll get when you adopt.
  15. At least you weren’t aborted.

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


7 thoughts on “15 Things You Should Never Say to an Adoptee

  1. I’ve gotten the well-meant, but awkward “oh I forgot you’re adopted” from members of my adopted family. I personally hate “at least you weren’t aborted” – how rude is that?!? Thanks for sharing these!

    Posted by aniela2017 | January 2, 2018, 12:36 pm
  2. Still, I hear all the time. ‘But look how great you turned out.’ I always nod and silently think, ‘what is your comparison?! I mean, who knows, maybe I could have been the first Female President!

    Posted by Rona. | November 19, 2017, 6:40 am
  3. #4 abs #8 make me want to barf.

    Posted by Paige Adams Strickland | November 13, 2017, 2:06 pm
  4. Sometimes people so badly want adoption – and us as adoptees – to be OK, don’t they? They say the most ridiculous things. It’s hard for them to just sit and listen to the painful parts of adoption. Part of my adoption story, told to me my whole life, is about being a gift. When I share that with people sometimes they laser beam focus on that one line and say something along the lines of “how beautiful that you were such a precious gift”. They miss the point completely. A baby is not an object meant to be gifted to another family.

    Adding to your list one of my personal favorites (insert sarcasm here) “what can a little baby know?”

    Posted by Kristin Jones | November 12, 2017, 8:47 am

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