Handling Negative Comments About an Adoption

While the majority of people will be happy to hear about your adoption, especially close friends and immediate family, there often are those who make unkind or inappropriate comments. Sometimes these comments are intentional. Other times they're made out of ignorance. Whatever the reason, negative comments about a much-anticipated adoption can be hurtful.

Hang Onto Those Inner Reserves of Strength

Sometimes people make inappropriate comments out of ignorance. It doesn't excuse any nasty comments and there really isn't any excuse for it. But there will be instances where you need to develop an unusually thick skin about general comments that only biological children are "real children."

If someone actually has the audacity to directly ask you if you plan to have any "real" children, you can politely ask them what they mean and assure them that the child you have is very real. Sometimes doing so with a cutting piece of humor works. A possible response, with a disarming smile: "What do you mean? I can assure you that Suzy is very real and I'm certain I'm not reading bedtime stories to myself, hugging a figment of my imagination every morning or buying clothes for an ever growing doll."

You can also view every ridiculous question as a way to educate the unenlightened. Those who genuinely aren't making comments out of spite will eventually appreciate learning the truth.

Don't Feel the Need to Explain Yourself

Never apologize for adopting your child. While most parents never consciously do this, they unconsciously do so by whispering the truth like it's something to be ashamed of or not meeting eye contact with the person they're talking to when they reveal the "shocking" truth. These actions inadvertently re-enforce negative attitudes about adoption.

Also try to avoid defensive comments if asked why you adopted or the relationship between you and your child. Respond with a question like "Didn't you want children of your own?" will put the attention back on the answer and help them realize what a silly question they asked by forcing them to focus on what they said.

The Openly Hostile

You are never required to tolerate anyone being openly hostile to you or your child. Let the person know this is unacceptable, change the topic and remove yourself (and your child if applicable) from the situation as soon as possible. Limit contact with those who are openly and repeatedly hostile or negative even if it means sacrificing certain relationships. Those relationships aren't worth it if the people can't accept your child for who he is.


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