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Adoption Questions- 5 Things You Should Never Ask an Adoptive Parent

By Edited Jul 13, 2016 3 6

While you may be curious and have adoption questions, there are five things you should never ask an adoptive parent.  Unless you are a very close friend or family member, almost anything you will ask will be considered rude and inappropriate-especially if the child is with her parents. 

Most adoptive parents are happy to share their child’s adoption story, much like a woman who shares the story of her child’s birth.  But in the adoption world, it is considered unwise to share your child’s background story with others until your child has heard it herself.  There may be things she does not want you to share, but as a child, she cannot decide if those adoption questions are inappropriate.

These are five adoption questions you should never ask.

Adoption Questions
#1  Will you let your child find her “real parents” when s/he is older?

This is probably one of the hardest adoption questions to answer without having a clenched fist and deep breath before answering.  Why is that?  Because adoptive parents are the child’s real parents!  Adopted children have two sets of parents-birth parents and adoptive parents. 

When I have been asked this question, I inform people that I am indeed my children’s real mother.  Real mothers clean up vomit in the middle of the night, hold a apprehensive child’s hand on the first day of school, and are there to give hugs and kisses each and every day.

My children’s birth parents created their life, my husband and I gave them a life.

This question is also a potential minefield for children who have been adopted internationally.  The likelihood of finding their birthparents is even smaller than those who have been adopted domestically.

Adoption Questions(74264)
#2  Why did the birth parent give up their child?

This is another adoption question you should never ask.  It is important to use positive adoption language, and “give up for adoption” is a negative phrase.  This question is really none of your business to ask.  The reason may be as simple as they were too young to take care of a child or as complicated as the child’s birthmother was a drug addict. 

Bottom line, don’t ask this adoption question ever!

Adoption Questins and Aswers
#3 How much did your baby cost?

Really?  A baby is not like a car or a house.  This adoption question is in really bad taste to ask.  First of all, you do not buy a baby.  You pay an adoption agency or an adoption attorney to help place a child with you.  It is illegal to buy a baby.

This was one of the first questions people asked my husband and me because we adopted twins, ”Did you have to pay the agency double?”  No, we didn’t. 

Raising an Adopted Child
#4 Does your child know how lucky she is?

There is an old fashioned notion, that the adopted child is so lucky to have found a permanent home.  That is not the case.  It is the adoptive parents who are the lucky ones!  Our hopes and dreams came true when our baby (or babies) were placed in our arms. 

Adopting After Infertiltiy
#5  Do you know that now you have adopted, you are going to get pregnant?

Although everyone knows someone who has gotten pregnant after adopting a child, this only happens about half the time.  Some women continue to have infertility treatments after adoption, and some do get pregnant the old fashioned way.  Adoption does not necessarily lead to a pregnancy, as many men and women have real medical issues that cannot be resolved.

With the prevalence of celebrities who have adopted children, is it in the news now more than ever.  And while celebrities may want to share the inside scoop, that is not the case with those who do not parade themselves in front of the paparazzi.  Adoptions questions that are sincere and mindful if a child is present are fine.  But the five adoption questions you should never ask an adoptive parent are best left unsaid.


Dec 10, 2011 10:39pm
so these were all questions that people asked you in real life? wow. so nosy and a little socially backwards as well.
Dec 10, 2011 10:59pm
wow I can believe that people want to know these things but descretion is important and staying out of people's business is even more important. I hope your twin grow up free from stupid questions.
Dec 14, 2011 8:16pm
This is a good guide for people who are curious about adoption. It is always important to remember the feelings of the adopted child when asking questions.
Dec 14, 2011 8:22pm
Yes, people did ask me these questions! It is especially important not to ask for information in front of the child. Adoptive parents teach their children the difference between privacy and secrecy. Their adoption is not a secret, but information about it is private.
Apr 12, 2013 10:38am
Excellent article, as an adoptive mother I wholeheartedly second every word you've written here, all uncomfortably personal and awkward questions I've been asked as well. I'd also add "Are you going to tell her she's adopted?" usually spoken in a whisper (sometimes in front of my daughter!) as if her adoption was an illicit secret. It can be difficult sometimes reminding myself that people mostly mean well & there's a lot of ignorance about adoption issues that leads to such insensitive questions. I wish everyone could read the insightful advice you've provided in your article.
Apr 15, 2013 5:12pm
Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comments.
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