Sometimes, people just don’t know how to talk to birth parents about adoption. Maybe they mean well and are just plain ignorant, but that doesn’t make the insensitive comments hurt any less. If you’re a birth parent who has experienced any of the following conversations, know that you aren’t alone. And while it’s absolutely your right to ignore the jab and continue on with your day, it can also be used as a teaching moment for those who don’t necessarily understand adoption.
These are just 6 of the many irritating comments that birth parents have heard when they share that they’ve placed a child for adoption:
1. “Why didn’t you want your baby?”
It’s not a matter of “not wanting” a child. Choosing adoption means a woman is choosing to give her child a life that she isn’t ready to provide, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t want or love them. It’s about wanting what’s best for the child rather than herself.
2. “Was it hard to give your baby up?”
Ah, this question is a two-for-one. First of all, birth mothers don’t “give up” their children. Yes, they are placing those children with families who may be better prepared to raise them. But they aren’t simply throwing in the towel. “Giving a baby up” for adoption is a phrase used by people who usually don’t quite understand that it’s insensitive. Birth mothers aren’t giving up on their babies in any sense of the word.
As for asking if choosing adoption was difficult — well, of course it was. Carrying a baby for nine months and forming that bond before placing them with their adoptive family is extremely painful. Birth mothers don’t do it because it’s easy. They do it because they want the best for their babies.
3. “Adoption is a win/win.”
Adoption is a beautiful option for a pregnant woman or a couple hoping to grow their family. But to pretend that it isn’t extremely painful to place a child with another set of parents is as ignorant as it is insensitive. Adoption is not easy for the women who choose it for their babies. It’s important to remember that and remain sensitive to it.
4. “You didn’t love your child enough.”
Actually, it’s the exact opposite. A woman who chooses adoption for her child loves them so much that they’re willing to put their wellbeing above everything else. It’s a selfless kind of love that allows them to make the ultimate sacrifice.
5. “Do you regret giving away your baby?”
Seriously, what kind of question is this? As we stated above, birth mothers don’t just “give away” their babies. A woman who experiences an unexpected pregnancy and chooses adoption doesn’t have to talk to anyone about regret. She was faced with an unimaginably difficult decision, and she made the best one possible for her child given her own individual set of circumstances. Do you go up to every woman who’s ever been pregnant and ask her if she regrets her pregnancy? Didn’t think so.
6. “I could never place my baby for adoption.”
Well, if you’ve never been in the position that you have to consider it, then that’s great for you. What’s that saying — something about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes?