Adoption is a simultaneously beautiful and painful, life-changing event for many people. Those who experience adoption can tell you how their lives have changed in so many ways. For them, the true meaning of adoption is clear — adoption is love. So why do people make adoption a bad joke?

People fear what they don’t understand, and adoption is often misunderstood. Many people have a negative view of adoption because of the secrecy and attitudes toward adoption in the past.

Some people don’t realize they’re belittling adoption when they tell their kids that they’re going to “give them up for adoption” because they’re misbehaving. Not to mention the serious psychological effects this can have on a child.

Many children are faced with the reality of being taken out of their homes and placed into the foster care system. How do those kids feel about your adoption prank? Will they wonder if this happened to them because they were “bad?”

Mothers are faced with the very real choice of placing their children for adoption because they can’t provide for them. How do those mothers feel when you joke about placing your child for adoption just to scare your child into behaving? Your prank can seriously devalue a birth mother’s adoption decision.

Let’s take a look at the truth about your adoption pranks.

Adoption Pranks are Not Entertaining

Typically, kind adults don’t find fear or anger entertaining. If you are an unfortunate witness to parents pranking one another about placing their baby for adoption or come across an adoption prank video, then you may be left with a sense of disappointment and grief.

Here are some quotes from people who have been pranked about placing their child for adoption:

  • “I love [my child], how can you do that?”
  • “That [prank] is unattractive. Disgusting.”
  • “That was a stupid joke.”
  • “This is a terrible conversation. It’s messed up.”
  • “You’re joking about something that’s not a joke.”

Adoption pranks are truly in bad taste and bad form. They are the quickest way to show your immaturity and to cause real harm for the sake of clickbait.

Adoption Pranks Cultivate Unnecessary Anger

Most people will tell you that anger is not a fun emotion. It takes its toll, physically and emotionally, on the person who experiences the anger. It also spreads negativity and discomfort to the people nearby. Those who are being pranked don’t usually laugh at adoption jokes. If they do, it’s a nervous laugh. But nine times out of ten, no one is laughing at your adoption prank. They’re probably really angry.

Relationships suffer due to anger. Be prepared for your relationship with the person you’re pranking to take a hit. That goes for parent-to-parent relationships and parent-to-child relationships. The person that you are pranking likely loses respect for you, and that can decrease their trust in you as well. This may not be your intention, but that’s why it’s so important to stop and think about your relationship with your loved ones before you make a joke about placing your child for adoption.

It’s Offensive to Those Who Love and Respect Adoption

Have you ever considered how birth parents feel when they choose adoption for their child? They’re not joking about wanting to give their child a safe and loving home. Adoptive parents love their children fiercely, and to have their adoption story used as fodder for a joke can be hurtful. The children who are placed for adoption, the adoptees, have the unique experience of learning how adoption helped them find their forever family and that is certainly not something to be taken lightly.

Take a moment to think about those adoption experiences.

Some people have a long, bumpy road to adoption acceptance. Hopeful parents may have faced infertility for years before they found the joy of adoption. Birth mothers must live their lives knowing that they were not able to provide for their child even though they love that child very much. Adoptees may be faced with the heartbreaking thought that they misbehaved or did something wrong when you frame adoption in a negative light.

When you jokingly say that your child is misbehaving and you’re going to place them for adoption, you never know who may be listening.

It Degrades the Efforts of Adoption Awareness

Adoption Awareness is a necessary movement to erase the stigmas associated with adoption in the past. Birth mothers are strong and brave women who want their children to have the best possible lives. Adoptive parents want to share the pride and love they have for their unique family, created through adoption. Adoptees want to normalize adoption because adoption chose them and their two families have made them who they are today.

Those who advocate for adoption are in a delicate situation to show the good in adoption and give support to birth mothers and adoptive families about their choice for adoption. It’s not usually easy to talk about adoption, let alone go through with the adoption process.

If you don’t know anyone who is a birth mother, adoptive parent or adoptee, then you probably just don’t get it. But, that’s OK — you can come back from a poorly timed adoption prank. Here’s how:

  • Express genuine apology. Once you learn about the true meaning of adoption, then you can be filled with the knowledge that adoption is something that deserves respect. Apologize to your family and friends about your adoption prank — it’s never too late to ask for their forgiveness.
  • Express your love. After you apologize, you may want to pull your partner and/or child into a hug that demonstrates your love for them. Tell them that your family may not have experienced adoption, but adoption is an act of love, not a threat of punishment.
  • Advocate for adoption awareness. People from all backgrounds and walks of life can advocate for adoption awareness and sensitivity. You don’t have to be a birth mother, adoptive parent or adoptee to join the adoption awareness movement. All you need to do to support women and families facing adoption is to use positive adoption language and stop feeding into the spectacle of adoption pranks.

Now that you know a bit about adoption, you may be able to see how adoption pranks affect other people and their views on the adoption process. Let’s continue to endorse the benefits of adoption and show adoption as the pure act of love that it is meant to be.